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How Much Money Is Enough Money?

  • January 10, 2021
  • 7 min read
  • Read Icon 1869 reads

In today’s climate, with job losses and layoffs in the tens of millions, we are forced to rethink our value of money. How much do we need to have a comfortable and enjoyable life without a financial burden weighing over our heads? How much you thought you needed before the pandemic may be much higher than what you realize you need now.

They say, “Money can’t buy you happiness,” but research would suggest that it really can. In 2010 D. Kahneman and A.Deaton conducted a study hoping to see if income affects emotional wellbeing and personal life evaluation.

As scientists do, they broke down emotional wellbeing into measurable categories such as joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection as indicators of what makes your life enjoyable or not. Personal life evaluation referred to the way someone thinks about their life.

What was interesting was the study found as household incomes increased stress, feeling blue, sadness, and worry (which are all parts of emotional wellbeing) decreased.

The study discovered a sweet spot where emotional wellbeing and personal life evaluation peaked, $75,000 gross annual income. They found that Income above $75,000 did not increase wellbeing any more and began to level off, indicating that higher incomes did not improve the happiness or quality of life for their sample group.

How much money is enough money
Source: High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being

Now it’s important to remember that this study was conducted a decade ago. Since then, the economic climate and inflation have changed. Inflation has risen 18.33% over the last 10 years. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to suggest that the sweet spot for income to peak our happiness is around 18.33% higher than the $75,000 10 years ago.

It is fair to say that an optimal income would be about $88,747.50 in today’s financial climate (yes, I’m sure that 50 cents will make all the difference to your life)

Statistic: Projected annual inflation rate in the United States from 2010 to 2021* | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

How Much Money Is Enough To Live?

Although the previously mentioned study gives us a guide on how much we need to live at our peak level of happiness and comfort, it is important to note that every state is different.

Taxes and living costs vary considerably from state to state.  If you live in New York City, obviously earning $88,000 a year is going to get you a much smaller lifestyle than if you earn that amount in Houston, Texas.

Find out the cheapest states to live in here.

A cost of living calculator can help you figure out how much income you need in another state to have the same level of living you have now in your home state.

What Is Enough, Money?

How much money is enough? Depending on your spending habits and the state you live in, it can be different for everyone. At, we recommend living and spending out of your values rather than spending emotionally.

Being intentional with your spending and aware of what is coming out of your bank account will highlight areas of wasted expenditure. helps you find the best borrowing options to suit your personal needs. Never pay more for lending than you have to.

What Is A Good Salary?

A good salary is one where you can afford to save for retirement, pay off a mortgage, cover all needed expensive, and have a little leftover for a few wants. It is also earning that income within a time period that leaves you a little time to spend with friends and family and enjoy things that are not income focused.

If $88,000 is now your new income goal, then start to consider ways to increase your income. Whether it be a side hustle or upskilling with night classes, investing in your skillset will pay dividends in your future. It will also increase your self-confidence and open up new opportunities.

How To Earn More Money Without More Stress?

If you lost your job through covid-19 or maybe you still have your job, but the pandemic has highlighted how much you want to change your career. It may be a good time to figure out how much money is enough money for you to have a comfortable and enjoyable life.

It can be challenging to find more money without finding the stress and pressure that goes along with it. Data from the Gallup World Poll results indicated that Americans are stressed out. I mean, really stressed out! In fact, we rank 5th in the highest stress levels out of 151 countries.

It’s not what you make; it’s what you save

– Dad.

Consider renovating your budget to work out how much more income you need to reduce your stress levels. Then consider all the opportunities you are interested in that could increase your income.

No matter how much you earn or where you live, managing your money is vital. As my dad always says, “it’s not what you make; it’s what you save.” When I ask him how much money do I need to make. works hard to provide personal finance resources that enable you to grow your financial literacy. Our goal is to help you build a stable financial future based on wise investments, borrowing smart, increasing your savings, and improving your income.

Find Out Ways To Get Money Now.

One of the most significant changes that have come from the “Newniverse” is the awakening of remote work for more conventional companies. There are so many ‘old school’ beliefs up until this point on people being lazy if they work from home, some archaic thought that micromanagement is an excellent tool for getting a lot of work done. Lol…

Many companies have found through this 2020 ordeal is that their workers can get a lot done in a day from home. It can even reduce company overheads if the right infrastructure is put in place.

Many people find that they can get more done at home due to less wasted time on long commutes and fewer interruptions, even with kids! Well, I’ll be! What’s next? Women wanting children and careers? (Crazy!)

My point in all of this is that if you can work from home, you can live anywhere. This means your income can stretch further in certain states than others if you need to get ahead for a while.

You can find out more on the cost of living here.

Moving is expensive and stressful, but when you consider your financial future, it may be the right option. As Dave Ramsey, the king of financial freedom, says “If you can live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

If you can live like no one else, later you can live like no one else

– Dave Ramsey.

My husband and I are considering moving at the moment. How much money is enough money? Well, where we are currently, the cost of living is high. Because I get to work remotely doing a job that I love, moving may be viable.

With everything going on, I wonder if it is wise to live somewhere that we can afford to save more with the same income, you know, just in case this year can get any worse. GULP!

I’m not saying moving is the best option for you right now. But what I am saying is start to think outside the box to either increase your income or reduce your living expenses.

How much money is enough to feel free will be different for everyone. There is an opportunity out there for you to have a stable financial future, so that next time there’s a year like 2020, you will still sleep deep, not stress, and know that it’s going to be ok.

Do you think $88,000 is the peak income of happiness in the US? Comment below:

Author Kimberley Smyth

Kimberley is the US Country Manager for She has gained years of experience in small business management and has two successful start-ups under her belt. She now focuses her energy on helping others achieve financial freedom through smart money management and investment opportunities.

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