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Can money buy happiness? Most Americans say yes

A survey by Empower, a retirement planning company, shows a generational divide on the topic of income.
Can money buy happiness? Most Americans say yes
Posted at 12:08 PM, Nov 21, 2023

Most Americans, 59%, believe money can buy happiness, but the exact dollar figure needed depends on who you ask, according to a survey by Empower, a retirement planning company. 

The survey also shows a major generational divide on the topic of income. 

Millennials say an annual income of $525,000 would bring them happiness. That's much higher than other generations, including Gen Z, Gen X and Baby Boomers, who each say they would need around $125,000 a year to be happy. 

In addition to a generational divide, men and women think very differently about money. The survey shows men would need to earn $381,000 a year to be happy, while women say $183,000 annually would bring them happiness. 

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For most people, achieving financial happiness isn't about being able to go on luxury vacations and shopping sprees. The people surveyed are more focused on addressing everyday milestones. About 65% of people said they just want to be able to pay their bills on time and live debt-free. 

People were asked what they would give up to achieve financial happiness. Nearly 75% said they would give up social media and big-ticket events for that peace of mind. However, money isn't everything for most people. Only about 20% of people would be willing to give up love or their pets for financial happiness. 

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