The price just went up on buying happiness

Burt's Eye View

The price of happiness has gone up. Now it costs $95,000 a year.

But be careful. Haul in more than $95,000 and you’ll be just as miserable as the guy getting $20,000, but in a nicer car.

That’s the word from the financial planners at LearnVest, whose researchers crunched the numbers for the road to giddiness.

The only time I ever made $95,000 in one year was in 1984. Best game of Monopoly I ever played. I even owned a chain of hotels. It’s been a bumpy ride ever since.

According to the report from LearnVest, psychologists at Purdue University and the University of Virginia studied Gallup World Poll numbers and found that satisfaction peaks at $95,000 a year. That salary covers basic needs like housing, clothes, chocolate and pizza, lets you pay down debt instead of encouraging it, and you get to stock up on some conveniences like matching furniture without melting the credit cards.

But once that sixth digit creeps into your income, a weird primal instinct for show-off supremacy surfaces and your focus shifts to keeping up with the Joneses or the Gateses or the Kardashians. It’s a disgruntling cash conundrum.

So once you hit $95,000 a year, go to your boss and insist, “No raises for me, thanks. I’ve reached my peak.”

Unless the peak moves.

In 2010, researchers at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School set the peak at $75,000 a year. Just eight years later, satisfaction already costs $20,000 more.

But, according to the new study, you still can afford emotional well-being today for $65,000 to $75,000 a year.

So where does this leave you and me? Mired in misery, I suppose. The light at the end of our tunnel was shut off in budget cuts. I’m left with nothing but the love of my wife and family, a warm house, food on the table, good health and a stack of books to read. How can a person be expected to smile under such hardships?

So let’s go get that $95,000. Let’s start with these nuggets of financial wisdom:

“Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.” — Robert Orben

“Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” — A.A. Latimer

Stop paying the bills. It just encourages them to send more. Also, if you think no one cares that you’re alive, just see what happens after you’ve missed a couple payments.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.” — Will Smith.

Money talks. Mostly, it says, “Goodbye.”

“Money often costs too much.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If there is anyone to whom I owe money, I’m prepared to forget it if they are.” — Errol Flynn

“The safest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it in your pocket.” — Kin Hubbard

“A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist.” — Franklin Jones

Boycott any company that sells items you can’t afford.

“All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.” — Spike Milligan

— Get rich at Monopoly with Cole at or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.