Don’t envy Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg for their wealth: They may not be much happier than the manager of your nearest In-N-Out Burger.
That’s the conclusion of a recent study that found $105,000 to be the ideal income for life satisfaction in Northern America. Earnings past that point tended to coincide with a lower levels of happiness and well-being, researchers found.
The study from Purdue University, published in Nature Human Behavior, draws from the Gallup World Poll of over 1.7 million people that asked individuals to rate their lives from “worst possible” to “best possible” on a scale of 0-10.
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Those ratings were then analyzed alongside reported household incomes to determine an ideal earnings point for every region of the world, what the study calls a “satiation point.”
That point for life satisfaction varies around the world, researchers found, from $35,000 in the Caribbean to $125,000 in New Zealand. Past that, lead author Andrew T. Jebb said, “there’s a certain point where money seems to bring no more benefits to well-being in terms of both feelings and your evaluation.”
In-N-Out managers, then, who the company recently revealed earn about $160,000 per year, make enough to be happy anywhere, the data seems to suggest.
Once enough money is earned to cover basic needs, everyday purchases and loans, people may be driven to increase earnings by comparison to others or a desire for material gains. And that, Jebb said, could prove a tipping point where more money results in a lower well-being.
“The small decline puts one’s level of well-being closer to