Happiness costs $75,000.
That's the expense report from the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University, which rang up a report this month that says yes, you can buy happiness.
If nothing else, this proves true the T-shirt that states, ''Money can't buy happiness, but it can pay for a more pleasant form of misery.''
According to researchers, a person's day-to-day happiness increased with his or her income - up to earnings of about $75,000 a year.
After that, day-to-day happiness evened out, sort of like Mom used to level off a cup of flour with a spatula handle - only instead of flour, it's a cup of gold dust, and the spatula is gilded.
A person's sense of success continued to rise with income, but general life satisfaction could be bought for $75,000.
(To any readers who happen to be my boss, an idea just crossed my mind on how we can make everyone here positively giddy with morale.)
The Princeton report was published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, making the price of happiness a scientific fact.
The report neglected to mention how much the study cost, so it's hard to say if the researchers were feeling gloomy or gleeful as they went about their business. It also left out the part about what happens to happiness when the IRS snatches up its share of the 75K.
Whatever the case, the report sure messes up a lot of fairy tales that proclaimed money can't buy happiness.
In Aesop's Fable of ''The City Mouse and Country Mouse,'' the moral of the story was it is better to live in self-sufficient poverty with all its ease of mind than to be plagued by the terrors of living with wealth.
In Aesop's Fable of the ''The Fir Tree and the Bramble,'' the moral is better the serenity of poverty and knowing that you have no use than the obligation of wealth and usefulness.
And Saturday morning cartoons taught me that rich kids were sad because all they had were toys, toys and more toys, and the rest, who had nothing, were stuck with each other, which turned out to be true wealth.
Personally, I figured I could risk a few more toys.
A T-shirt I read once - but couldn't afford to buy - said, ''All I'm asking is a chance to prove money can't buy me happiness.''
And there's the classic, ''Money can't buy happiness - but it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than a Yugo.''
For the Princeton study, economist Angus Deaton and Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman reviewed surveys of 450,000 Americans conducted in 2008 and 2009 for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Turns out being poor isn't as happy an occurrence as some of those storytellers told. Imagine that.
Deaton told the Associated Press that ''as an economist, I tend to think money is good for you, and am pleased to find some evidence for that.''
When a guy's poor, "Stuff is so in your face it's hard to be happy. It interferes with your enjoyment," he said.
So stop worrying. Just ask your boss for $75,000 a year and be happy! It's the scientific thing to do. I'm sure my boss will agree. Right, boss?
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