If No Less Than Six Figures Will Do, Are We Doomed to Fail?
5 months ago
Experts weigh in
The saying goes "money can't buy happiness," but it seems many would beg to differ. A survey of people in 13 countries finds that the average annual income people said they'd need to be "happy" is $161,000. In addition, according to the Skandia International’s Wealth Sentiment Monitor, Americans alone said they'd need to make at least $1 million a year to feel "wealthy."
Considering the still struggling state of the economy, are we fooling ourselves? As of September, median U.S. household income had dropped to $50,054, 8.1 percent lower than when the recession began in 2007. So could income expectations in the six-figure range lead to a lifetime of unhappiness?
Steve Siebold, a critical-thinking expert and author of "How Rich People Think," says no. If anything, what could be deemed a delusion by some can be channeled into determination.
"Most psychologists in these tough times recommend setting your financial expectations low so you're not disappointed," said Siebold. "This is borderline criminal advice. People need to set their financial expectations high and get excited. If you make $50,000 a year, start thinking about how you can find solutions to problems people are going to pay for that could increase your income to $500,000 or more."
Skandia International also found that one's ideal income differed depending on country: while residents of Germany could happily live off $85,781, Dubai dwellers preferred more than three times that at $276,150 -- a staggering disparity that licensed clinical psychologist Noel Goldberg says may be understandable depending on an area's cost of living. But he says he still advises his patients to define their "happiness" first before wildly (and maybe unnecessarily) wishing for a puffed paycheck.