There are some studies out there that claim that earning more than $75,000 a year can’t make you more happy in your day-to-day life. If you want to read an article that claims such a reality, check out this article at Businessweek: After $75,000, Money Can’t Buy Day-to-Day Happiness. The article is based on of a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which surveyed 450,000 Americans in 2008 and 2009 about their household income, and emotional state during the prior day and overall feelings about their life and well-being.
So it got me thinking, how could making over $100,000 improve my day-to-day life and potentially introduce more happiness in my life. let’s say that I made $150,000 in discretionary income per year (this amount is after all taxes have been taken out).
Here is how such an income increase could improve my happiness levels
Each year use the $150,000 to establish a dividend stream for money to use to increase my lifestyle. Ideally I would purchase various dividend stocks that would provide around a 5% return. This “dividend stream” money would be the basis for making the improvements in my life and in the process making me happier.
So after $150,000 invested for one year, the following next year I would have around $5,000 to increase my lifestyle spending or make me happier. Then the following years I would continue to increase my money amount to used for life improvements and my happiness by $5,000 each year. So after 5 years, I would have $20,000, after 10 years I would have $45,000* to spend to make my life better.
After saving for two (and maybe three) years I would have the finances to have at least one incredible overseas vacation annually. While this doesn’t directly improve my happiness level, just thinking about having such an option makes me happy right now!
After establishing this “Happiness Increasing” dividend stream, I would do the following:
- Hire a housekeeping services to clean our house a few times a month (perhaps weekly).
- Join some athletic club or at least get a gym membership.
- Joining or creating a community improving group to help with city concerns and improve the life of all the citizens.
- Become a “Life Changer“. By this I mean identify either a family or individual that is incredible in every aspect except with money. Then help without them realizing it. This would be accomplished by creating a business and hiring them or something similar that would help them out in a small way. Granted, it wouldn’t be much help financial, but any help helps (lol). And who know, perhaps the business that your create for the individual could help by being profitable. Eventually after 5 or 10 years switch control the individual and become a minor partner or something similar where you wouldn’t be as involved. Then your could focus your energies on someone else that needs help.
- Become creative, if not in the traditional drawing, sculpting ways, then perhaps using technology.
- Go out-to-lunch more and become a regular at such places. Warren Buffett does this in his hometown and he seems to enjoy doing so.
I’m just scratching the surface, here, but the basic idea is that if you can’t increase your happiness level with more money, you are not trying to do so. Money is a tool, and as such it can help you build happiness if you use it intelligently.
What ways can you think of to create happiness with money, please comment below any ideas that you can think of.
*the first year is considered the seed year, so it doesn’t count in my dividend stream, so because of the seed year, after 5 years I only have $20,000 but after 10 years I have $45,000 instead of $40,000 (the 5 year amount doubled).