The American Dream Poll: How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy?

June 6, 2014  |  

We’re not so sure if money can buy happiness, but it can, at least, give you a peace of mind. No more stressing over bills, debt, and other bank-breaking expenses — ahh, wouldn’t that be the life? But to attain such comforts, how much money would one need? According to CNN Money‘s American Dream Poll, half of America says it would be less than $100k.

That’s right. A whopping 51 percent of Americans don’t think they’ll need a penny more than $100,000 to be happy. About a quarter of those surveyed said they’d be satisfied with a salary between $50,000 and $70,000. There are even some Americans who believe they’d be content with much less than that — 10 percent say emotional well-being could be achieved will less than $30,000.

In contrast, 23 percent revealed that an annual income ranging between $100,000 to $199,999 would be their ideal salary for a pleasant life. But one man who earns $100,000 wholeheartedly disagrees:

“I currently make close to $100k and feel that it doesn’t cover the lifestyle I’d like to live, which isn’t extravagant. I live in a modest-sized home, no children, a few pets, no luxurious furniture or cars to speak of, but I do enjoy travelling. But with the amount of taxes that are taken out every paycheck, it doesn’t leave me with much, especially after paying the mortgage, property taxes, HOA fees, utilities, buying groceries, car maintenance/gas, etc. I would be happier making $200k,” said a CNN Money poster.

But how much money do Americans believe one would need to be considered “rich?” The American Dream Poll reports that most answers fell in the $100k to $199k range. About one in 10 survey participants said they would need at least $1 million to consider themselves rich. But here’s the plot twist: Not even millionaires, according to a recent survey, believe that they are rich.

A whopping 70 percent of affluent investors who have assets worth more than $1 million admitted that they don’t feel wealthy. “Rather, it’s only when they hit the $5 million mark that millionaires begin to feel ‘wealthy,'” CNN Money said.

No matter how much we have, it seems like we always want more, doesn’t it?

Though a majority of the American Dream Poll participants don’t care to have a Fortune 500 CEO paycheck, 94 percent of Americans believe that money can, in fact, buy happiness.

According to Forbes, if you use splurge wisely, you can indeed purchase the happiness you desire: “Spending money on things, no matter how elaborate, leaves us wanting more, while spending on experiences, especially with other people, yields long-term fulfillment.”

What do you think? How much money would make you happy?

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