Americans have different ideas about what it takes to be financially happy, according to a study by financial planner Empower. While 59 percent of the 2,034 surveyed believe money can buy happiness, with an estimated cost of $1.2 million, two-thirds equate financial happiness with being debt-free and paying bills on time. Only 17 percent said that net worth defines financial happiness.
Pollsters found that the first word people used to describe financial happiness was “freedom,” followed by “security” and “relief.” The average salary Americans need to feel financially happy is $284,167 per year, with men’s desired salary being higher at $381,000 compared to the average female salary of $183,000. There is also a generational divide in how much people need to earn to feel financially happy, with Millennials requesting the highest average salary at $525,000 and Generation Z asking for only $128,000.
Over three quarters (76%) of respondents stated that having more money would solve most of their problems. Nearly one-third (32%) said gaining just $15,000 would have a significant impact on their lives while 42% said a gain of $25,000 would make a big difference. Despite this optimism about money’s ability to bring happiness, over 73% reported feeling stressed about finances due to high inflation and interest rates. As a result, many American workers are considering delaying retirement if necessary or never retiring at all.