Why isn’t the most important financial threshold in the inner lives of many, rich or poor, the subjective notion of fuck-you money, the first thing to study? Why isn’t there a major UN study tracking what people consider fuck-you money? Why aren’t Nobel-winning behavioral economists designing clever experiments to tease out how we think about this quantity? It is, after all, our main subjective measure of how not-free we perceive ourselves to be.
Nobody, other than bureaucrats who fund research and economists, asks the question “how much income is needed to be happy?” We already know that talking about happiness without talking about what trade-offs we are making to pursue it is meaningless. The rest of us real people ask the question “how much wealth is required to be free of scripts that dictate what trade-offs you are allowed to make?”
August 4, 2013 @ 3:59 pm
When people are surveyed, the results indicate that most people are content with a middling amount, after which more money does not confer more happiness.
August 4, 2013 @ 4:02 pm
August 6, 2013 @ 8:26 pm
Earlier in the article, he said:
"How is it meaningful to ask how income correlates with happiness without asking precisely how much control we have in spending it? Could the $75,000 threshold discovered merely be an artifact of enforced consumption rigidity in middle and upper-class scripts, where marginal income dollars above that amount are already earmarked for socially expected and institutionally incentivized expenses (think home-buying and saving for college)? A sort of “cost of doing business” in a particular social class? Do people who flout those norms manage to move the threshold higher? Or are they penalized so harshly that they regret flouting those norms? Do mavericks see increasing happiness levels up to $200,000 instead of $75,000? Or does the threshold drop because of the increased financial burdens that come with breakaway scripts?"
Or, as Izzy Stradlin once sang, "Once you made that money, it costs more now/It might cost a lot more than you think."