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money happiness

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You may be familiar with research that came out in 2010, showing that, after a person makes $75,000 a year, happiness levels plateau. In other words, making up to 75K could make you happy, but making more won’t make you any happier. The study became very popular, perhaps in part due to the fact that it confirmed a theory we all love to believe: that you don’t need a lot of money to be happy. A more recent and more expansive study did manage to prove the 2010 one mostly incorrect. In looking at 33,000 participants across many age groups and income levels, assessing their happiness levels both on a moment-to-moment basis and on an overall level, the research found that happiness can continue to increase with income levels. The main reason the study gave was this: the more money one makes, the more control they feel over their life.


For the record, a closer look at the 2010 study finds that, making up to $75,000 a year doesn’t actually improve one’s sense of emotional wellbeing – it just improves one’s “evaluation of life.” You can be emotionally well at many different incomes, one could argue. But the idea that making more money gives one a greater sense of control brings up an interesting point. When you do begin to make good money, you might find that some of your spending habits change, and they often relate directly to having more options aka more control. Here are behavior changes you may notice when you start to make good money.

money happiness

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You’ll book non-stop flights

Taking the connecting flight versus the non-stop doesn’t always save you a lot of money, but it certainly can sometimes. This blog post lists some real connecting versus non-stop options from major airlines and shows that, in comes cases, the savings can reach hundreds of dollars. The savings are over $600 for flights from Los Angeles to Paris. But what is convenience worth to you? When you start to make good money, you may decide it’s worth the couple extra hundred to not get off the plane at a midway airport, having to kill time, nap on hard, cold benches, and eat nasty airport food for three hours between connecting flights. When you start to make good money, you start paying those convenience fees. Similarly, you may start taking more solo Ubers instead of Uber Pools.

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