You may have heard $75,000 is the 'magic' income number. Find out the story behind it.

You may have heard $75,000 is the magic household income for happiness.

But what, exactly, does that mean?

In a landmark study a few years ago, Princeton University researchers Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman set out to definitively answer the question of whether money buys happiness. If anyone is equipped to answer that question, it's these two. Both have won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences: Kahneman in 2002 and Deaton just last year in October 2015.


In their study, they analyzed over 450,000 responses from people across America about their annual income and overall happiness to get at the relationship between the two. They broke down their findings using two metrics: emotional well-being and life evaluation.

Emotional well-being is basically how you feel your life is going on a daily basis — your everyday happiness or joy, or, conversely, stress or sadness. ("How are you today?")

GIF from "The Simpsons."

Whereas life evaluation is an overview of your entire life and how you see it going — how pleased you are with where you're at. ("How's life treating you?")


GIF from "Nacho Libre."

Deaton and Kahneman found that low income is associated with low emotional well-being.

Poverty makes it so that misfortunes such as getting sick, divorce, and being alone are felt even more. As income rose, though, emotional well-being rose consistently alongside it.

The thing is, happiness through emotional well-being didn't change too much beyond $75,000. Once that point was reached, people were basically just, "I'm good."

GIF from "Episodes."

In the discussion section of the study, the researchers offer a possible explanation: "Perhaps $75,000 is a threshold beyond which further increasesin income no longer improve individuals' ability to do what mattersmost to their emotional well-being, such as spending time withpeople they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure."

Life evaluation, on the other hand, just kept rising with the income.

So if we're talking about satisfaction, sure, more money leads to more. (I mean, if you make a million bucks a year, you can probably conclude that life is treating you PRETTY GOOD.)

GIF from "30 Rock."

But the thing is, when talking about happiness, what really matters in life are the good times you have with friends and family.

Let me leave you with some food for thought.

The Census shows that in 2014, 63.8% of U.S. households earned less than $75,000. More shocking is that although the average household income historically is right around that $75,000-happiness mark, the median household income is just around $54,000 — which indicates most households in the U.S. fall almost $20,000 short of the magic number.

Now that doesn't necessarily mean that all those households are chronically unhappy, but what it does mean is that a large amount of Americans may not have the level of income necessary to spend time with loved ones, avoid pain and disease, and have enough leisure time.

America is still one of the richest countries in the world, yet so many continue to fight for these basic needs. Maybe it's time we close the gap between so few having so much and so many having so little. In fact, this incredible CEO is already doing his part.

Because if the $75,000 threshold has taught us anything, it's that life shouldn't be about the exorbitant amount of money you could be making. But rather, how happily we could all be living.

More
True
TD Ameritrade
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular