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Is $75,000 The “Perfect” Salary?

by J. Money on Friday, October 15, 2010

pile of twenties
The Wall Street Journal posted about this the other day, and ever since I’ve been seeing it all over the ‘net. And for good measure – it’s a pretty interesting finding!  Have you ever asked yourself what the perfect salary would be for you is?  When it comes to overall happiness?

According to the study,

“The magic income number is $75,000 a year. As people earn more money, their day-to-day happiness rises. Until you hit $75,000. After that, it is just more stuff, with no gain in happiness.”

I usually don’t put too much stock in this stuff, but I gotta admit – I think I’m sold!  And the reason I say that is because as soon as I personally hit $75,000 I’ve been on top of the world!  (this was before my 10% slashing, of course) I never really thought I was making “enough” up to that point, but for whatever reason I stopped thinking about it soon after.

Maybe it’s coincidence, I don’t know, but I’m telling you I think for me at least $75k is right on the nose. And believe me, these last two years I’ve made well over that when I round up all the blog money and other projects I’ve been accumulating lately.  Although it’s not like I’m gonna STOP trying to make that bank! Haha… No siree, it’s just that my overall level of happiness seems to have plateaued once I hit that magical mark.

Of course, it also has a lot to do with the fact I’ve finally got my expenses on lock and I’m not getting into as much mischief anymore as well ;) I also don’t live downtown DC or LA or NYC either, which I’m sure would def. change the game up a bit.

But that’s today’s thought anyways. That we all may have that perfect salary we’re trying to reach. What do you think about that?  Would you/are you content @ $75,000 a year? And if not, what would be a better (and realistic) salary for you?

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You can find that WSJ article here: The perfect salary for happiness: $75,000
Photo by AComment


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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meredith October 15, 2010 at 8:15 am

75,000 would freaking ROCK! But honestly, I was making half of that (and now half of that, AKA unemployment for the time being) and was doing just fine. And I’m still doing just fine. Yes, I would be happier being able to invest and save over half my income, but I almost feel like how much is enough, or too much, you know?

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2 Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog October 15, 2010 at 8:37 am

J$,
For me, 75k would be a great number, although honestly it would probably be far more than I’d need. For me, a realistic number would be in the 45-55k range (provided I work in the town where I live). Anything past that is just gravy.

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3 K October 15, 2010 at 9:01 am

$75,000 seems like the magic number. I make far far less than that, but having that much could make me not so uptight about money and be able save a healthy chunk of it in savings or an emergency fund and be able to pay all my bills on time every month, no problem. But in a BIG city like NYC I think this just scratches the surface of sustainability .

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4 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com October 15, 2010 at 9:04 am

I told myself a long time ago that if I’m not making $100k a year by the time I’m 30 then I’m a professional failure. I’ve got about five years left to hit that number and I’m pretty sure I will on the career path I’m on. I’d say that is my magic number.

However, I’ve seen a few different “magic numbers” like this going around over the past few months and I think they are ridiculous. None of them account for cost of living, family size or any of the other important things that would affect that number.

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5 Refugees on a Budget October 15, 2010 at 9:26 am

My magic number is $80K and I am hoping to hit it in the next year or so. It’s a number that’s been stuck in my head for a while and now it’s finally within reach. One more promotion or one more merit increase and I will be there. Once I hit it, I will finally feel that I am making “enough” to justify my master’s degree…

However, my happiness will not increase when I hit that mark,.. it will skyrocket once we pay off all of our debt and finally use our money for things other than debt repayment ;)

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6 tom October 15, 2010 at 9:28 am

I don’t know, man. I don’t buy it… seems way to low… but they don’t say if that’s for a family or for an individual.

Let’s break this thing down for a minute for a family of 2 making $75K total:

$75,000 pre-tax
-$16,500 pre-tax for 401(k) match
-$9,000 for taxes (15%)
-$10,000 for Roth IRA Max
-$12,000 for mortgage payment (assume $1,000 per month total)
=$27,500 per year for everything else which is about $2,300 per month… food, cars, home maintenance, stuff… it all adds up ridiculously quick.

Add a kid or two into that, throw in some college savings, and you’re down to nothing…

Anywho, I don’t have a perfect number. I think the challenge of advancing through a career and life (money comes with it) is something that makes me happy. The $$$ is just gravy.

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7 Matt October 15, 2010 at 9:37 am

$75k is the magic number for the aggregated United States. For those of us who live in or very close to New York City, the number is actually closer to $163,500 — more than double this figure — see: http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2010/09/08/new-yorks-happiness-income-163500/ . With that said, I make nearly $75k and I’m no where near I need to be to feel comfortable or happy. And I can’t imagine how people can function being married and/or with kids at my current income in the NYC area.

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8 annonymous October 15, 2010 at 9:44 am

That # is crap – I make over 115K, living in the ‘burbs, and still feel as though I need to “hustle”. As the reader above pointed out, once you take out Health care, 401K, IRA, college savings, your savings, mortgage, utilities, blah, blah. You’re not left with very much.

Most people say, “well you need to budget better” but the truth of the matter is, we do budget well and stay on top of it. Groceries alone cost us over $400 a month. I guess we could stop buying the Boars head deli meat, but I like knowing that the meat is hormone free. We could stop buying hormone free chicken ($$) from the farmers market – yet again, I like knowing what I eat is not pumped full of hormones.

I know plenty of people that are in the exact same boat as I am. Maybe it is true, the more you have the more you spend, however, I do not miss the days of eating canned veggies and mac n’ cheese for dinner

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9 me in millions October 15, 2010 at 10:27 am

I mean, I’d be happy with that much! However, I think that number should be adjusted for cost of living in various areas. That number should probably be higher in the DC area, for instance.

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10 BruceBucks October 15, 2010 at 10:47 am

I think once I hit $75,000 I will be pretty satisfied. I will not feel as much pressure to work as hard and move up the ladder, but rather feel a bit of contentment. Like you said, not that I won’t try to find other ways to make money, but this would be a great salary to live off of.

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11 Rachel211 October 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

Just curious, J:

Are you happy with YOUR salary at $75k or total income for your family at $75k? That is a huge difference. I could tell you right now that if both myself and my husband were both making $75k I would BE CRAZY HAPPY – but there is a big difference between the two.

Also, having lived in both Orlando and South Dakota – if we were making that in SD we would have a lot more to work with just on the fact that the same house would cost half the price. Here in FL, it’s an okay salary – but certainly nothing to get crazy over.

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12 BudgetBabe October 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I think this is really interesting, and I saw something very similar to this a few months ago (the study I saw actually said happiness plateaued at 50K, but it was 7 years ago). I think it has to be for an individual though. I work in non-profit and I will never see 75K, but my husband works in finance – together, we have a household income of around 120K gross (or 60K per person) and we’re pretty happy. I know we could probably be putting more into retirement, and we could wipe out some car loans, but we’re in a great house with a mortgage payment that’s comfortable for us, we have no credit card debt, very little student loan debt, and a hefty emergency fund and other liquid investments. We live in Seattle, an area that has one of the highest sales tax rates in the country (9.8% right now), high housing costs and is generally a very expensive place to live. But we both feel pretty good about our finances, especially considering at this point last year, my husband was unemployed.

But then again, I always revert back to good ol’ Abe Lincoln: “Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Maybe dollar signs aren’t really attached to happiness…

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13 Techbud October 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm

75K seems low. I think you need to take into account where you live, Northeast and West Coast I’m sure disagree. Factor in if you are married, have kids, etc.

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14 Jen October 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Hmmm….very interesting post! I make $60k/year, and my husband only works part-time so that he can stay home with our kids, and he makes $10k/year, so combined, we’re at $70k/year. We’re scraping by! Thankfully, we have zero credit card debt. Our only debt is our mortgage (thank goodness!). So I’m assuming that study MUST be talking about a per person income of $75k…..and I must say, if we had a combined household income of $150k/year, we’d be pretty damn happy! :)

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15 Kelsey October 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I agree with everyone saying they should take cost of living into account. I like in the Kansas City Metro and I know the cost of living here is much lower than most other large cities. That being said, I think $75,000 would be a dream come true. I’m pretty happy now but I know that $75k would help me pay off all my student loans in a few years and then concentrate on saving for retirement and kids.

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16 still feel poor in NorCali October 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I just have to chime in as I agree this takes ZERO cost of living calculations into account….
Right now I don’t make enough to even show up on the radar- but my husband just got a raise to put him at $135k a year. We have no debt other than our mortgage, but we owe about $460k on a $650k house (and this is just a typical 4 bedroom rambler here in the Bay Area, nothing fancy)…. He does contribute heavily to his 401k and stock purchase plans every paycheck, but still over 1/2 of his take-home pay goes to our mortgage every month. And while we don’t have car payments or anything else extravagant in our lives (we don’t even drink coffee, for goodness’ sake!) we have essentially zero “savings” in the bank. We are in the process of making our first budget using software so we can track where it is all going but I will just say this: When we first moved to Ca, he was making around the $75k mark, and we were living like starving students. That number is definitely WAY off.

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17 Jim Juber October 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I read that article a couple of months back and it was money. As soon as I hit that mark (2008), I felt anything more was just gravy. I have lived in TN and IN and that salary provides a very, very, VERY comfortable living. I save 12% in 401k, no consumer debt, 10 month emergency fund. After i pay for EVERYTHING at the end of the month, I still have $1500 of disposable income.

I will take the opposite side of Tom’s post. I think 75k for a family is still very comfortable in TN and IN. His numbers were spot on for my budget (taxes, housing etc). I think he fails to realize that saving 16k in 401k and 10k in a roth is over 30% of total income. Dude, thats early retirement!!!

I will state my case like this. Ask a family if they would accept 2300/month to pay for groceries, utilities, transportation, vacations, misc AND a fully funded early retirement. I dont know many families that would pass that up.

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18 Briana @ GBR October 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I sort of question that number. Is the individual or combined income (with your spouse). Individually I make $38,000 but combined we make about $76,000. Calculating where we are (including debts, and no savings) to where we want to be (a house, no debt, emergency fund), I think we could earn a bit more and be happier. But, like I said, depends on if it’s individual income or combined. And also where you live (living in SoCal is NOT cheap)

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19 Yana October 15, 2010 at 4:15 pm

That depends on whether it is per person or per household. I wouldn’t complain at $75,000 per person, but resources beyond income – a big fat nest egg that you sit on and/or earn income from – are at least as important, and maybe more important. If the magic number came with a magic guarantee, it might be different, but as it stands, one is only guaranteed what he already holds.

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20 Jenna October 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Seems like a pretty sweet number to me! Add benefits in and that would be heavenly.

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21 Bobby October 15, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I’m thinking about as a single person and anyone who can’t live comfortably off of 75k needs a shake. Being single, I’m quite happy with what I make now and anything more would be gravy.

You should still be saving and should still have a budget if you’re responsible no matter how much you make. All I would see is an increase in my savings if I made more money.

Having said all that, 50-60k would be my magic number.

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22 WR October 15, 2010 at 10:20 pm

For me, Income has little to do with my sense of happiness. It is what I choose to do with my money that brings me the greatest joy. I like the idea of making a difference in other peoples lives and financial independence is simply a part of that. For example, we give to a local food bank and church groups, we sponsor a needy family every Christmas. We give to lots of causes, big and small both with our money and our time. I gave when I was poor and I give now that I am ‘less’ poor. The amounts have changed a bit but It feels equally great. You don’t have to be wealthy to contribute and get that feeling.

This is backed up by some pretty convincing science as well. In one study, statistical analysis revealed personal spending had no link with a person’s happiness, while spending on others and charity was significantly related to a boost in happiness.

I gave to charity when I was earning $8.25 an hour and living on Ramen noodles. It felt great. It was about that time that I read somewhere that the act of giving, no matter what your income, sends a strong subconscious message something like this:
“Hey brain, we’re doing pretty well, in fact we’re so wealthy that we should help those who are not as fortunate”
This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as you start to act more in accordance to this wealthy persona rather than focusing on how poor you are.

On a lighter note, maybe this also explains why watching ‘Intervention” or ‘Hoarders’ makes people feel better at times. Its the “I’m kinda screwed up but not THAT screwed up!” mental comparison. There is strong evidence that a large portion of our happiness comes from the comparisons we make of ourselves against a peer group. Whether that group consists of ‘other doctors’, ‘my brothers’, ‘teachers in Connecticut’ doesn’t matter. It’s the comparison that counts.

I think charitable giving/contribution blows that all away, It’s when you become focused on helping others and completely unconcerned for your own happiness when happiness strikes you the hardest.

-WR

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23 catglass May 27, 2014 at 4:15 am

WR, you are right on, There is nothing better than giving to others–no matter what.

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24 Stu @ Pennywise2Pennyworth October 15, 2010 at 10:46 pm

For me a salary that allows me to meet my basic needs, have some comforts and luxuries as well as save enough for the future w/out depriving me of a fun, fulfilled life today is “enough.” The number doesn’t matter to me and although I think $75,000/year would be great, I believe I could meet my above criteria on much less. After all, with that extra money what are getting? Just more stuff to clutter your life and the world….

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25 Pragmatist October 16, 2010 at 2:41 am

I’m currently paying off a mountain of graduate student loans and got a raise last May from $50K to $72K. The first thing I did when I got my raise was implement a tight budget. I use quicken software to track my expenses and had about 15 months of actuals to work off of. $75 is a great place to be because it’s right at the sweet spot where you can handle a medium-light debt load (think mortgage or appreciating assets) amortized over 30 years and still have disposable income or savings in the end. I just started a blog debtchallenge.com to document my experience and hopefully share my strategies and ideas. My goal is to increase my net worth at a steady pace each year.

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26 jaime October 16, 2010 at 6:04 am

I’m not sure, I think it depends on where you live. $75k in NYC is ok, $75k in the midwest is probably better. It all depends where you live, how much debt you have, what your expenses are, etc.

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27 Edward - Entry Level Dilemma October 16, 2010 at 8:56 am

This was on of the national morning news programs last week. My first thought was that this number would have to be more in certain parts of the country, but it’s not. It is supposed to be the same nation-wide. I’m sure it applies as some sort of average, but which average is a tricky question. (Mean, mode, and median can be very different numbers!) And the number does apply to households, not individuals.

I believe the number has merit. Looking at Tom’s breakdown, there is $2300 per month after taxes, mortgage, and maxing your retirement accounts (more on that later). That’s roughly what my wife and I earn (although our retirement savings is more like $2500/yr instead of over $25,000/yr). And our housing costs ($750 for rent) come out of that number. So do our long term savings – about $500/month. We live comfortably enough, but a little extra income would be nice so we could afford some luxuries like movies & dining out, and a car that’s not old enough to vote.

The theory behind the $75k number is that below this amount, you probably have some sort of worry about enough. After that number, you aren’t worrying about paying your bills any more. It isn’t so much that your happiness increases with income until this point, but your lack of happiness decreases with income until this point. Also, the study points out that there is a different between happiness and satisfaction. Having more than enough does increase satisfaction, even if it doesn’t increase happiness. One idea for that would because you are moving up Maslow’s hierarchy Money can take care of physiological needs and even safety needs to some extent, but it can’t deal with your need for love, esteem, or self-actualization.

Tom, you do realize that your breakdown saves almost half a million dollars per decade? At that rate, I could have enough to retire comfortably at 70 even if I saved the money as cash.

Quite coincidentally, if my wife get’s her promotion (she finds out this afternoon) and I get the job I’m interviewing for on Tuesday, our income will be right around that number, $76,930

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28 J. Money October 16, 2010 at 10:55 pm

@Meredith – That is awesome you’re good on only half :) Not many people would be!
@Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog – I WISH I could say that! Haha… def. matters where we live, that’s for sure.
@K – Def. different for NYC’ers
@Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – Wow, good for you dude. $100k is a great goal to reach for and I’m fairly confident knowing what I do about you that you will most def. reach it! :)
@Refugees on a Budget – Haha… I hear that. No debt def. ranks high on the happiness meter!
@tom – Interesting… you’re just along for the ride in Life, eh? :) Not a bad way to be.
@Matt – Woah, $163,500 is def. higher! haha…
@annonymous – Yeah, well we all are quick to judge sometimes :) $100k+ salary def. seems “high” for most people, but when you’re talking family and house and all that it def. gets eaten up quickly as you mention. Unless you start going down the more minimalist path ;)
@me in millions – Agreed. Although $75k in DC has worked well for me so far… but then again I don’t have kids or a place right downtown in D.C.
@BruceBucks – I think it’s as close as a magic number as we’ll find.
@Rachel211 – I’m happy with MY salary at $75k (even though it’s now $68k :( ). Personally, it was enough to live and be happy. And even more so when I was single! Now that i’m married and have a mortgage and all that, it’s not *as* perfect all the way, but it’s still pretty close. But we still bring in way more w/ all the side stuff we do so there’s still something to be said for much higher salaries (esp if you want to retire at 40 like I do!)
@BudgetBabe – I should have stopped by and said hi last month when I was in Seattle! D’oh. Next time :) Love it there!
@Techbud – Def. depends on some larger variables, you’re right.
@Jen – Well done with no debt outside mortgage!!! That’s wonderful :)
@Kelsey – Kansas City is still on my list to check out one day :) Heard great things about it.
@still feel poor in NorCali – OH man, yeah San Fran and San Diego and some of those areas are off the chain w/ housing prices. I guess you’d have to downsize into a 1 or 2 bedroom condo in order to have enough extra for savings/etc. That’s what we’re going to start looking into soon – I want less room and more money! :)
@Jim Juber – Haha, oh yeah! The last time I was in TN I saw this huge house on acres of land w/ farm animals and a lake all for like $125k! I almost fell over in shock. I might actually have to retire there ;) Or blog full-time there!
@Briana @ GBR – Yeah, but my goodness is SoCal sexy!!!
@Yana – Haha…nope, no magic guarantee I’m afraid ;)
@Jenna – Oh yeah, forgot about benefits. Those were AWESOME when I had them….sadly they turned to suckage.
@Bobby – $50k-$60k ain’t bad either. I was living the high life at that point of my career! also because I was single ;)
@WR – You’re always bringing up charitable stuff, I love it :) And while I don’t do as much as I can/want, I agree with you all the way buddy. The days I go out of my way to help people I feel SOOOO much happier! Been trying to do one thing a day – feels great when I complete it.
@Stu @ Pennywise2Pennyworth – Nooooo more clutter! More money does = more adventures and life experiences though ;) aka traveling.
@Pragmatist – Nice! Starting a blog def. helps you become more accountable – well done.
@jaime – yep, for sure. but you didn’t tell us what YOUR magic number would be? :)
@Edward – Entry Level Dilemma – Hah! Wouldn’t that be something :) You gonna tell us if you both got it?? I wanna know! Esp if you automagically get happy once you find out ;) haha…

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29 Hanna October 17, 2010 at 2:08 pm

It also depends on what you’re doing for 75k…

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30 Edward - Entry Level Dilemma October 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm

@J. The manager with the thumbs up/thumbs down for my wife’s promotion was out sick, so we won’t know on that until Monday or later. Since I haven’t had stable employment in my field since graduating two years ago, if I get this job my happiness will be through the roof, even if I only made enough to eat peanut butter & jelly for dinner!

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31 J. Money October 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm

@Hanna – GOOD POINT!! If it’s a suck a$$ job chances are you can’t be too happy even w/ the money. Surprised none of us brought that up earlier?
@Edward – Well i’m sending over some prayers my man! Wish you both nothing but success :)

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32 Molly On Money October 17, 2010 at 9:48 pm

When I was making almost that I was spending it as fast as I was making it and had no savings. I was so stressed out that I had a long list of excuses why I deserved to spend it all.
Now saying that, 75K is the magic number for our family. We’ve cut way back on our expenses and even with that 75K would cover our expenses, retirement and savings. In 2 years our house would be paid off and when/if the kids go to college we could pay their tuition and fees without feeling the pinch.

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33 J. Money October 17, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Damn, that’s wonderful. Paid off house? I cannot WAIT for that to happen on this end… especially if that means it’s sold and I don’t live in one anymore! haha…

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34 Steve October 18, 2010 at 6:48 am

If that number is the measure for you to be happy, so be it. I myself do not really believe that the road to happiness is a $75K salary or for that matter $250K…A healthy and happy wife and kids to spend quality time with, a roof over my head, food and clothes and a good book represents my criteria for happiness. Based on these points, I am satisfied, content and happy!

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35 WR October 18, 2010 at 10:49 am

I think the point of the article is that there is a window where people feel that the stresses and displeasure associated with a perceived lack of money give way to a diminished return of happiness as their income increases. 75k, in their research, represents that magic window of income.

If you structure your life to be average (read: like most other people) you’re mileage will be similar. If you drop some of the pre-conditions that are needed to be average ( A McMansion, A new car, Sprees at the mall, etc) then your results will be above average.

On the happiness side of the equation, I am 100% convinced that we are happy to the degree we help others. Period.

Charity or contribution does not have to cost a lot, especially if you are starting out, but it has to be part of the fabric of your life. It can be as simple as just noticing where you can help throughout your day. Put a dollar in the fireman’s boot as you drive by, Say “thank you, have a great day” to the toll collector. Tip a little more than you should after a nice meal. Drop a few cans in the food pantry or drop a teddy bear in the Toys for Tots box.

I love this quote, kind of sums it all up:

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”

- Eleanor Roosevelt

-WR

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36 J. Money October 22, 2010 at 10:14 am

@Steve – That is wonderful Steve! Reminds me of that Mexican Fisherman story :)

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2009/11/mexican-fisherman/

@WR – I’m starting to realize that more and more too myself. Any day that I help just 1 person, whether by using my skills or financially, I am MUCH happier by the time I go to bed. I’m trying to do this once a day to see what happens ;) haha…

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37 WR October 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

@J$ – Some days it is easier to do this. To Quote Pulp Fiction:

“But I’m trying, Ringo… I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.” –Jules

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38 J. Money October 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm

haha… nice one, sir.

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39 Edward - Entry Level Dilemma October 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Well the wife got her promotion. Upper management is deciding which of 4 upcoming vacancies to place her. I didn’t get my job; they went with someone who used to work for a client. I had a preliminary interview this morning for another position that isn’t as good of a match with my interests but a better match with my experience.

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40 J. Money October 25, 2010 at 12:12 am

Well great job wifey! And you’re up next buddy :)

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41 GIONYC1982 May 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

Hi All. I make 93k in NYC and I’m still broke. I don’t get it. Honestly speaking, I do very well for myself (no kids no wife) off of that 93k and I have a great lifestyle, but at the end of the day, that 93k really isnt enough for me to FEEL like my 100,000 education paid off. I feel that I need to make at least another 45k a year just to feel like I “made it”. Im just keeping it real

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42 WR May 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

I love to go back and read my comments from long ago (October 2010 = long ago)

I felt rich when I was making $8.00 an hour pulling telephone lines.
I felt rich when I was pulling in $300 a night bartending in Buckhead (Atlanta, Ga)
I felt rich when I got my first ‘real’ job making $65k per year.
I felt poor when I got laid off 3 years later during the Dot com bust
I felt rich again when rented my first property.
I felt poor when the boat I inherited accrued a $500.00 storage fee
I felt rich when I sold 1 copy of my book. Felt like Stephen frickin King

My salary from my job, income from my enterprise(s) and dividends from my investments make me feel OK.

It is not my income but rather my frugality and financial cushion that makes me feel wealthy.
You can feel wealthy on $10.00 an hour or $150,000 yr. You can also feel like a poor schmuck on a combined income of $350,000 (I use that figure because I have a good friend who feels exactly that way)

How you feel is usually a result of the difference between how you recently felt and now.

To use an example that everyone can relate to, When I finally get to the bathroom and puke my guts out after laying in bed and dreading the inevitable, I feel elated. It is relief and euphoria. Now, I am still sick but in that moment I feel 1,000X better than 10 minutes prior.

Just keep dancing along, live like a pauper and make the best decisions you can and you will feel progressively richer every day.

-WR

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43 J. Money May 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm

@GIONYC1982 – Wow, yeah that’s def. interesting to hear cuz most people here would probably say you are making a TON. Def. depends on lots of variables though, and mainly – spending. That’s what really differentiates most of this stuff – our spending patterns. And living in NYC is no joke for sure – I don’t miss that part of living there! ;) Hope you can find a way to start making more, my friend.
@WR – Hah! It IS cool seeing your previous comments here, and now your new one… glad you’re still around and kickin’! :) Also, you should *totally* copy and paste this into your own blog. Loved reading it and is such a great example. Have a great weekend!

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44 laurie February 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

My husband & I rent a room in San Diego, CA. In 2011 we made 19k combined and in 2012 we made 80k combined and we have nothing to show for it. We are still renting the same room and the only difference is my husband bought a used card. We are behind in debt and cant even afford to eat that well. My dream right now is only to rent our own apartment and of course finish the debt. In order to live comfortably in our situation we would have to made about double that. <—welcome to my world

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45 J. Money February 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Wow, yeah that’s freaky… Love San Diego but it’s def. expensive there!

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46 Wang May 11, 2014 at 12:43 am

I don’t know how you calculate the magic number for every one. I earned $165k and worked at Silicon Valley, but still can’t afford a 4 bedrooms, big yard , private neighborhood, pool house in here. My senior colleague has more than 30 years experience on high level computer, he earned $295k a year and he want to tranfer to work for military at overseas, he said it could be double his salary if you worked at overseas organization. I think that’s the magic number for me.

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47 J. Money May 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Oh wow, that’s a big one! You’re right that you can’t calculate it for *everyone*, but I guess you can for averages based on stats and polling/etc. Really comes down to lifestyle expenses too. $75k with $75k expenses doesn’t make you feel all that hot, but with $25k expenses it sure does!

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