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How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy in Your City?


The best things in life might be free, but you couldn't prove it by one study. The research, which was conducted by The Center for Health and Well-being at Princeton University, found that happiness rises until people make $75,000 a year, and then it levels off.

The first question that occurred to us when we heard about the study was, "Where do these test subjects live?" $75,000 sounds like a lot of money, and it is — unless you live in an expensive city.

Apparently, we weren't the only folks to wonder about this. Robert Frank, who writes The Wealth Report for The Wall Street Journal, notes that $75,000 doesn't buy as much in New York City as it does in South Dakota.

His colleague Phil Izzo decided to examine the issue of how much money a person would need to reach the happiness plateau in their city. He used the cost-of-living values for 2010 from Kiplinger.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Izzo found that New Yorkers needed the most money to be happy, a fact that will shock no one, especially New Yorkers — at least $163,000 a year. Fort Smith, Ark. and Pueblo, Colo. were the cheapest places to be happy: citizens of those cities only needed $62,000 a year to achieve happiness.

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(Photo Credit: Materials Aart/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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