Earning enough money makes you happier

Money is one of the means that attributes to a well-rounded life. As an independent professional you want to make enough money so you can support your family.

You need to get enough orders or have enough sales so you can transfer your ‘management fee’ to the family bank account every month. Without worrying about it and checking your companies bank account every other day.

Myth: Money Canโ€™t Buy Happiness

Well, money canโ€™t buy happiness, but it sure can buy lots of things that contribute mightily to happiness.

Says Gretchen Ruben of The Happiness Project.

We all make choices about how we spend money, it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, and those choices can boost happiness or undermine happiness. No statistical average can say how you would be affected by money, it depends on your circumstances and temperament.

Three factors shape the significance of money for you:

  • It depends on what kind of person you are. Maybe you love to travel or you prefer to be around your home. Maybe you love a large house in the city, or maybe you love a small house in a rural area.
  • It depends on how you spend your money. Some purchases are more likely to contribute to your happiness than others.
  • It depends on how much money you have relative to the people around you, and relative to your own experience.

As Gretchen is saying money can buy you happiness and it all depends on what kind of person you are. She also mentions that there is no statistical average how I would be affected by money.

Last week I read about the 10 Things Economics Can Tell Us About Happiness by Derek Thompson (@DKThomp).

Here he shared the most important lessons from the Better Life Index by OECD, research that shows the relations between the nations economics and how happy we are.

One of the things I find interesting in his findings is that having enough money makes you happier. According to this research most people draw a clear line around $75,000 or as high as $120,000. After that, researchers have had trouble proving that more money makes that much of a difference.

The self-employed typically report higher levels of overall “job satisfaction” than the employed. Another study suggests that only rich self-employed people are happier to be self-employed. It is not clear to me what rich means in this situation.

Commuters are less happy. One study showed that if your commute is more than 22 minutes, there is an appreciable decline in reported well-being. Yet another study found that for every 10 minutes of additional commuting, community involvement falls by 10 percent.

Working more hours makes you happier … until it makes you miserable. When part-time workers move from full-time they become happier. However when full-time workers work until …. they become unhappy.

Entrepreneurs, money and happiness

When you are an entrepreneur you should minimize the commute. Work from home as often as possible or live close to your customers. Use the internet to reduce your commute by having meetings or coaching via Skype for example.

Working somewhere between 32-50 hours as an entrepreneur will make you happier, if you also make enough money in these hours. All the hours above will not make you happier. Have a wealthy balance of entrepreneurship and family time to create a well-rounded life and happiness.

When entrepreneurs have a goal to earn more than $ 100,000 (net) there is nothing wrong with that as long as your remember that the first million will probably make you not happier than the first 100k.

Investing in experiences and in community projects will make you happier when you already earned your first $ 100,000.

BTW living in Australia, US, Denmark, Netherlands you are doing fine on the happiness scale ๐Ÿ™‚

What do others say about this

Last week I published a link to this research and an introduction on Facebook. These are some of the comments on Facebook about the money and happiness relationship.

Rick Deckardt

It’s not about money, it’s about living worry-free and money is just a part of this.

Marco Raaphorst

if your goal is money, then you’re lost. if your goal is creating something nice, then you’re a hero.

Robert van der Ham

if your goal is to connect what is meaningful for you and others….thats being rich in a very unique way

Tom Verbroekken

If something external can say something about your internal state then you’re caught in the biggest delusion of all. Your happiness comes from the inside, regardless of what you have externally.

Then I asked, “What about making other people happy?”

In my experience, people can only make themselves happy. I can provide a service (and I do), yet it’s the people who apply the information, then they get insights…and that’s what makes them happy. Being of service to people is one of my principles in life ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s what I love, seeing other people being happy because I delivered a service. However, I do know that the happiness for them arrived from the inside. Don’t believe me for my word but take it for checking in your own life ๐Ÿ™‚

Credit photo: Money by Thomas Leuthard

Your happiness and money relationship

How important is money for your happiness?
What income will make you happy. Are you already at this level? Do you have a goal to reach this level?

By Erno Hannink

Sparring and accountability partner for entrepreneurs who create sustainable positive impact. Explores decision-making. Shares his insights on this in, articles, books (Dutch), podcast, newsletters, and tools. Has a life mission to reduce social and ecological inequality. Father of two children, husband of M., runs, referee for the national soccer league, and uses stoicism for calm. Lives in the Netherlands. Speaks Dutch, English, and German.


    1. Agree, it plays an important role in our world in our economy. Only up to a certain level beyond that they will also not become happier. It is easier to share your time and money to create a better world, that will make you happier.

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