Here's how much money Americans say it takes to be happy

If money can buy happiness, the average person thinks it can be bought for just over $1 million, according to a new poll.

A study published by financial planner Empower found more than half of Americans, 59 percent, said they believe money can buy happiness. And if it does, they say it costs around $1.2 million. 

Still, fewer than 1 in 5 respondents, 17 percent, said financial happiness is defined by reaching a certain net worth. And around two-thirds associated financial happiness with an on-time bill payment and debt-free status.

Out of the U.S. adults surveyed, pollsters found the first word that comes to most people’s mind about financial happiness is “freedom,” followed by “security” and “relief.”

With regards to salary, the average price tag Americans put on happiness was $284,167 per year, with men’s price point — $381,000 — much higher than women’s, who said an average of $183,000.

Millennials listed the highest salary price point of $525,000, with Gen Z saying $128,000, Gen X $130,000 and Boomers with the lowest at $124,000. 

Seventy-one percent of respondents said having more money would solve most of their problems, and nearly a third, 32 percent, said gaining $15,000 would have a meaningful impact on their lives. That number increases to 42 percent when asked about a $25,000 gain.

The survey found the vast majority of Americans, 73 percent, report feeling financial stress amid high inflation and interest rates. More than half of those, 54 percent, said they carry debt, while 36 percent said they could not handle an unforeseen expense of more than $500 without real worry.

Nearly two-thirds, or 67 percent, said their income isn’t keeping up with inflation, and 42 percent said their standard of living is declining. Empower said most people in the survey also said they expect to retire years later than expected, at age 63 on average.

These findings follow various other surveys that show a growing share of American workers believe their retirement will be delayed, or in some cases, may never happen. 

The Biden administration has faced harsh criticism in recent months over stubborn inflation, the Federal Reserve’s hike in interest rates and elevated costs for many Americans. 

The White House has recently ramped up its messaging around “Bidenomics,” as recent polling shows a majority of Americans feel the country’s economic conditions are getting worse, and some pin the blame on President Biden’s policies. 

The Empower “Financial Happiness” study surveyed 2,034 Americans aged 18 and up from Aug. 7-14. It has an overall margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Back to top button