Can money buy happiness? 6 out of 10 Americans say yes
As much as we want to comfort ourselves by thinking that money isn’t the secret to living a happy and fulfilled life, data from a recent survey shows that more Americans now think otherwise.
The survey, conducted by financial services company Empower, asked 2,034 adult Americans about financial happiness and found that 6 out of 10 Americans think money is important to be happy. They also found that the average American believes the price tag for happiness would amount to $1.2 million.
In terms of salary, the survey found that the average American would need $284,167 per year. By generation, it also appears that millennials projected a higher amount at around $525,000 versus Gen Z at $128,000 and Gen X at $130,000.
But this doesn’t mean happiness over money is hard to find. The survey also revealed that most Americans think even incremental financial gains can positively impact their well-being. Seven out of 10 Americans said more money would solve most of their problems, and a third of those surveyed said an attainable gain of $15,000 would already make a meaningful impact on their lives.
Millennials, in particular, also define happiness through financial flexibility in the present, with 62 percent of millennials saying they are “willing to spend $7 on a daily coffee because of the joy it brings.”
When talking about financial happiness, most of those surveyed associated the words freedom, security, and relief. This also supplements the finding that a “return on happiness (ROH)” is made by achieving money milestones, such as being able to pay bills on time, living free of debt, and affording everyday luxuries worry-free.
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Empower’s Financial Happiness survey also revealed that while most Americans report being content and satisfied at work and with their personal relationships, overall wealth is “dampening feelings of prosperity.” They associate this with income not being able to keep up with inflation, rising costs, and interest rates.
More than 70 percent of Americans surveyed also connected well-being to a sense of security in a financial plan, and have noted that financial happiness also results in feeling independent, resilient, and even generous.
Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed also said that they will know they’ve reached financial happiness when they don’t have to rely on anyone else financially, can withstand unexpected financial needs, and if they’re able to take care of their loved ones financially.
With the year about to come to a close, it’s time to take stock of the financial decisions made this year, and make preparations for better financial planning for the next.