How much money do you need to be happy?
The perennial question of how much money is required for happiness has persisted through the ages. In prior centuries, wealth was measured in possessions like land, servants, and livestock. Interestingly, modern considerations still incorporate historical measures of wealth.
Examining the monetary or gold threshold for happiness among Europeans reveals a nuanced picture, influenced by factors such as age, gender, and individual perspectives on financial contentment.
A recent Purdue University study surveyed citizens in Western Europe and Scandinavia, with the most common response for happiness set at €100,000 per year. Intriguingly, this figure is notably lower in Eastern Europe, at €45,000. Translating these amounts into gold, €100,000 equates to 45 ounces of gold annually, or earning one troy ounce every 6 days in Western Europe. In Eastern Europe, the figures are 20 ounces per year, with one troy ounce every 13 days – a fascinating contrast.
Across the Pond in America
Shifting our focus across the Atlantic to America, a breakdown by generation reveals varying perceptions of the income needed for happiness. Remarkably, Millennials stand out, expressing the highest figure at 259 troy ounces of gold each year (equivalent to $525,000 / €483,000) – an ambitious goal of one troy ounce per day. This leads to the intriguing suggestion that some Millennials might consider a career as gold miner owners given the substantial amount.
(As a note: Millennials are defined as being born between 1981 and 1996. Boomers are defined as being born between 1950 and 1964. Generation X is defined as being born between 1965 and 1979. Generation Z is defined as being born between 1997 and 2010.)
Comparatively, other generations appear more pragmatic. Generation X sets their happiness threshold at 64 gold ounces per year (€120,000), while Generation Boomer and Generation Z express more modest financial aspirations, aiming for 61 and 63 ounces of gold annually (equivalent to 4 working days for a troy ounce of gold, or €114,000 and €118,000, respectively).
Summing up, Europeans, on average, require much less annual income for happiness compared to their American counterparts. Some of this certainly stems from cultural differences, where working hard is emphasized much more in America. Generational differences also play a role, with Millennials showcasing a substantial financial goal for happiness. The study highlights the intriguing variations in how different generations perceive wealth and happiness.