- Over 50% Americans believe money can buy happiness, according to a new poll
- Millennials’ desired annual income was over four times higher than other ages
- But forty-two percent of respondents said their standard of living is declining
Baby boomers are happy with a salary of $124,000-a-year while millennials say they need more than $500,000 to feel content, a poll has revealed.
About six in 10 Americans believe money can buy happiness, according to the survey from financial services firm Empower that is based on online responses from 2,034 Americans over a week-long period in August.
Median household income in the United States is about $74,000 annually. Members of Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z were all asked how much they’d need to earn to be happy. The overall average was $284,000 each year to feel content.
That was pulled far higher by the astonishing $525,947-a-year Millennials said they needed to be happy. Boomers, Gen Z and Gen Z’s desired incomes all sat between $124,000 and $130,000.
Men also desired a hefty $380,564-a-year to be happy, while for women $182,708 was sufficient.
The study examined more than just annual income. In order to achieve happiness, millennials said they’d need a net worth of $1,699,571 – over three times more than Gen Z and nearly twice more than Boomers.
Median household income in the United States is about $74,000 annually, but millennials reported a desired annual salary of $525,000 – over four times higher than other age groups
There were also stark differences between genders, as male respondents set their desired net worth at $1,488,327. The number was just $880,950 for women.
According to the firm, millennials may have higher aspirations due to experiences like the 2008 housing crisis and instability caused by the pandemic.
But for many Americans, the poll found, happiness isn’t only about achieving particular wealth – it manifests in big and small ways.
The majority of respondents said the ability to pay bills on time and live without debt contributes tremendously to their overall satisfaction.
Roughly half of Americans value the ability to afford small luxuries without guilt and pay for experiences with loved ones.
For two in five Americans, buying or owning a home is just as important as having a good work-life balance, while more than a third say it’s being able to retire when they want.
Many Americans say the ability to treat themselves plays a big role in happiness as well.
A whopping 96 percent of respondents said that making a purchase increases their love for life, while 88 percent attribute this to experiences.
Millennials said they’d need a net worth of $1,699,571 to feel content – over three times more than Gen Z and nearly twice more than Boomers
The majority of respondents said the ability to pay bills on time and live without debt contributes significantly to their happiness
For some, the cost of happiness may boil down to a cup of coffee, as 62 percent of millennials say they are willing to spend $7 on coffee because of the joy it brings.
However, three in four Americans reported that they’re more satisfied at work and with their relationships than with their overall wealth.
This may be because 67 percent say their income isn’t keeping up with inflation, and 42 percent say their standard of living is declining.
Respondents cited rising costs (81 percent), interest rates (66 percent) and student debt (32 percent) as major concerns.
Inflation has reached its lowest point in over two years, and the unemployment rate has remained below 4 percent for the longest stretch of time since the 1960s.
However, many Americans say their household spending is surpassing their annual income.
These concerns were reflected in a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research last month.