Money VS Happiness: How Much Money do You Need to be Happy?

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Written by Seun Oyediran

Money & Happiness: How Much Do We Really Need to Earn?

When it comes to choosing between money and happiness, it’s a tough choice to make. Can’t we have the two and get peace of mind? Well, possibly. There are two extremes on both sides of the spectrum. Those at the extreme left believe that money is the root of all evil and must not be craved. They try to hate money because of its potential to cause greed, emptiness, and what have you.

Those at the extreme right believe that money is everything and must be pursued with one’s last breath. They try to get money by all means because of its potential to bring fame, solve problems, get them the finest things of life, and the list goes on.

But wait a second. What exactly is happiness? Well, happiness is a state of being happy. To be happy means to be in an enjoyable or satisfying state – the keywords here are being enjoyable and satisfied. With little to no money, it may be difficult to be in an enjoyable state – bills overdue, children in need, and so on. But with lots of money, it is difficult to be satisfied – expansion, influence, competition, etc. Such is the irony of life. 

So, the question is, Does money make you happy? “how much money do you need to be happy?” Should we despise money because of its potential to cause greed and sorrow? Or should we embrace money because of its ability to get us some of the finest things of life? A tough choice to make, eh? Maybe there really is a way to eat at the table of money and be friends with happiness. Is there a way to strike a balance, or is it all arbitrary? Let’s take a walk and discuss how much money do you need to be happy. 

  1. What Kind of Life Do You Want to Live?

The kind of life you want to live determines what path you choose and what you do to get that lifestyle. For example, someone who aspires to be a monk and live in a monastery has little use for money. Such a person should be thinking about getting into the monastery and enjoy a life of minimalism with other faithful brothers and sisters. On the other hand, a person who aspires to become the richest man in the world needs large sums of money. Such a person should be thinking about starting profitable businesses, rubbing shoulders with the world’s greatest, and sometimes cutting corners. 

Different things make people happy. For example, a college professor may be happy and fulfilled with his job, while the president of the college may not. So, happiness is relative, and no one is in the position to criticize others for the path they choose. But remember that you don’t need lots of money to live your best life. Time is always more valuable than money, so you have to make the most of every moment. 

By all means, take some time to determine what lifestyle you want to live. Knowing the lifestyle that makes the most meaningful to you will help you to know how much money do you really need to live that lifestyle. Just remember to spend your life doing what you’re passionate about. So, I leave this point by asking you, “what kind of life do you want to live?”

  1. How Much Money do you Really Need Annually to Sustain That Lifestyle? 

Now, you have to determine how much money you really need to sustain the lifestyle that you choose. But is there such a thing as a “perfect” amount to earn in a year? Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton (both Nobel Laureates in Economics) conducted a 2010 study on salary and happiness. According to these Nobel Laureates’ studies, once a person gets about $75,000 a year, that person’s happiness begins to plateau.

This implies that when people start earning above $75,000 (or something close), they usually don’t experience the happiness that previously came with a salary increase. So, getting more money wouldn’t necessarily make you happier, especially after the $75,000/annum mark. Although this figure comes as a shock (a mere $75,000?), it is true. But does this number still hold up today if we factor in inflation from about a decade ago? The short answer? Yes, it does! 

Here’s just the thing with humans – we always want more – more than we have at a particular time. We are rarely really satisfied with a particular income even when we thought we would. If you suddenly start earning $1 million a year, it still wouldn’t be enough for you. More money is usually equated with greater happiness simply because we believe we can get more things with more money. Those who make money off us always want us to believe that the more we have, the happier we would be. So, I’ll ask you again: “how much money do you need to be happy and to sustain the lifestyle of your dreams?”

  1. The Skills You Need for the Lifestyle You Want

Now that you know the lifestyle you want, you would have to know what skills you need to achieve that lifestyle. There are some essential skills that you need to have to succeed in life and business. Ten skills that will guarantee your success are:

  • Thinking ahead
  • Open-mindedness
  • Passion for your dreams
  • Communication skills
  • Time-management skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Positive mindset
  • Negotiation skills
  • Reliability
  • Self-control

Some high-income skills you can learn and earn from include:

  • Copywriting
  • Digital media marketing
  • Web development
  • Graphic design
  • Programming

There are still lots of skills that you can learn to live the life you want. Get those skills and become comfortable! 

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  1. What Do You Consider Happiness to Be? 

As clarified earlier, we all have different definitions of happiness. But no matter where you stay or where you are from, there are six happiness factors. Take the time to reflect on these factors and answer where appropriate. 

  • Trust: Can you trust your neighbor?
  • Community. Do you have strong social connections?
  • Tolerance: Can you stick to your values?
  • Life Expectancy. What is your healthy life expectancy?
  • Finance. How much do you make? (money does matter up to a certain point).
  • Freedom: Do you have the freedom to do the work you like the most?
  1. Review your Decision

Now that you know the skills you have to learn to live the type of lifestyle you want, start learning them already! After a few weeks or months, you have to review your decision. Is this still the type of life you want to live? Are you happy with yourself and life in general? Would you be less happy if you don’t attain the lifestyle that you want? Take some time to reflect and answer these questions. With the rate at which you’re progressing, how soon do you think you’ll be able to live your dream life? 

  1. Make the Move

After reviewing your decision, it’s time to make the final move. If you don’t make a move to work on your goals and dreams, you may live in regret. And need I remind you that a heart full of regrets cannot be happy? Think about the question again, set achievable goals, and begin to work towards them. 

Final Thoughts

Conclusively, the theory of decreasing marginal utility can serve as a guide. For example, if you’re very thirsty, drinking the first few glasses of water is very satisfying. But a time will come when more water does not satisfy you any longer. If you keep drinking, a heavy wave of nausea may hit you, and you may throw up. The same principle applies to money. Money is important for happiness, but always ensure it doesn’t take away the happiness it once gave. So far, so good! Money – love it, like it, or hate it!

It doesn’t matter how much money you need to be happy, but to live you need money. So if you are looking for a job in Nigeria? Create a winning CV with the No.1 Resume Builder in Nigeria at Reventify to get a high-paying job in Nigeria.

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