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How much money do you need to be happy?

I was listening to a recent podcast from The Best of the Left (Capitalism Will Not Set You Free) and they were talking about how the law of diminishing returns can apply to your salary and happiness level. Up to around 75 000 US, people’s happiness increases as their salary does. But, after that level, it kind of has no effect and there are even some examples of happiness decreasing such as when someone wins the lottery and all their social relationships end up being tainted by money and eventually destroyed. Interesting.

How does this relate to me? Let’s just say that I’m pretty content and happy working at my part-time, extremely low-stress job and earning a very decent salary for the amount of work that I actually do. Sure, I could go back to school and get some sort of degree that is more practical and find a “better” (more high paying) job, but that would probably involve things like working more than 20 hours/week, commuting more than 5 minutes, giving up weekends, work travel, high stress, physical demands (sitting at a desk all day), a boss that actually checks up on me, and monotonous repetition. Would I be happier because I’m earning more money? It’s doubtful. My life is pretty happy now.

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