money buys happinessContrary to popular belief -- money does buy happiness. In fact, a Princeton study says that $75,000 annually is enough to buy you some happiness, but any more than that amount is really not helping you, happiness-wise.

How did they come to this conclusion?

Researchers found that lower income did not cause sadness itself but made people feel more ground down by the problems they already had. The study found, for example, that among divorced people, about 51% who made less than $1,000 a month reported feeling sad or stressed the previous day, while only 24% of those earning more than $3,000 a month reported similar feelings. Among people with asthma, 41% of low earners reported feeling unhappy, compared with about 22% of the wealthier group. Having money clearly takes the sting out of adversities.

I'm not buying it, but maybe I would if I had $75,000.

I will give the researchers this: If both my husband and I were making $75,000 a year, I would worry a lot less about paying for college, saving for retirement, and finding a home we can afford in a good school district. But where it breaks down for me is the idea that a $75,000 salary would ease my worries. Since unemployment is so scary right now, I could lose that $75,000 job, and if the $75,000 is what's making me happy -- then I'm going to spend a lot of my time worrying about becoming unhappy if the job goes away.

Additionally, feeling trapped in a job because you KNOW it's the source of your income/happiness is an incredibly fast way to get to unhappy.

Which puts me in the camp with lottery ticket buyers, as I KNOW $1,000,000 would make me very, very happy. I could buy a house without gaining a mortgage, have money for college, retirement, and still work for a living -- but without having to worry about debt and future debt-inducing life events.

Excuse me while I head to the 7-Eleven ...

How much money would buy you happiness?


Image via kevin dooley/Flickr