Monday, September 20, 2010


"HAPPY ON $75,000!"
" ...People's emotional well-being, their happiness — increases along with their income up to about $75,000," researchers say.

That's the big news today, yesterday, and probably tomorrow -- the very latest news fad, news trend, hottest hot news!

Huh? Your happiness depends on money?

It does and the figure is $75,000 says the Associated Press report on research by the National Academy of Sciences.
ALSO an economist at Princeton's Center for Health and Wellbeing; ALSO surveys of 450,000 Americans conducted in 2008 and 2009 for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Gallup's survey included questions on people's day-to-day happiness and their overall life satisfaction.

Ergo: We are being told a $75,000 income means happy times.

"Pooh," I say. In New York City, you can maybe get by as a single person on 75 K, but if you're a two-person household and wish to live moderately well -- moderately relaxed, moderately indulgently -- 100,000 K is probably your happiness number.

My figure is based on my being a practical, clever, not indulgent, not penny-pinching, world-traveler-observer of many different types, races, employers, employees, retirees, rich, and poor people.

But, actually it doesn't matter if I am right or wrong.

Isn't happiness a feeling of contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy? The dictionary says a variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.

I say happiness is based on what you are doing, be it work, play, rest, or vacation. If it's physical -- painting a picture, planting a garden, writing a story, shopping, clerking/typing/bookkeeping (as an employee or a self-employed person), -- all work has a progression. And whatever it is -- starting, developing, expanding, refining , doing it -- is happiness.

ALSO I am saying , unequivocally, I don't trust the latest hot news. I don't trust the researchers with their questionnaires. I am agin surveys, opinion statistics, and polls. It's temperature-taking when your temperature is 98.6 normal. IF you happen to be ONE point lower, or ONE point higher than normal, this fact affects how you feel.

Are you thinking pooh, Em is wrong?

Well, you're wrong! I am very happy doing my work, being able to write this and spread the word, I am not making a penny from my writing.

Forget 75,000 K -- and DO things


Adrienne Friedberg said...

You're right that it takes a lot more than $75k to live in NYC, Em. Especially if you have to pay rent, forget about mortgage and maintenance. But NYC is an anomaly in so many ways. It's never been an easy place to live, but it's always been exhilarating, and that costs money.

These studies are not new. They've been going on since the early 90s. Professor Daniel Kahneman of Princeton won the 2003 Nobel in Economics for his work on how peoples' happiness affects the markets. If you have a few minutes watch him talk about the riddle of experience vs. memory here:

My take on the many studies I've read about over the years is that money does not buy happiness, but people living in poverty (and that number grew by an alarming amount over the past year) are much more likely to be miserable. We need the basics; food, shelter, entertainment, healthcare. In most parts of the country $75k covers those basics well enough.

Many studies have also proven that people are actually happier during economic downturns. The reason for that is that what really and truly makes people happy is their relationships with other people. Maybe if we're not working our butts off trying to get ahead or keep up, we're forced to slow down and spend time with our families and friends.

Being with my daughters makes me happy; thinking of them, seeing their faces in pictures, talking (okay bragging) about them, hearing their voices. So does watching my dogs run around the grass in Central Park at night, chasing each other or chasing their tails.

I guess what it comes down to is love. So corny, but so true.

Bperry65 said...

I would be very happy with $75,000...if I were in Boise, Idaho! Ha (Not in NYC) I agree with you 100%! Happiness truly comes from within...I couldn't have been happier over the weekend just chopping vegees and drinking a glass (or 2) of wine.

Love your thoughts Ms. Em...

Kevin Daly said...

As someone who is barely scraping by, I've come to realize this about money: it may not buy happiness but it can certainly buy comfort. (And right now $75k sounds like a lotto jackpot to me!!)

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