The U.S. wasn't included in the Skandia survey but the last survey that did determined the happiness salary figure is around $75,000. "I'm living on less than that now and I'm happy," said Mr. Williams. The one thing these financial happiness studies don't take into account is external factors such as peer groups, geography and even climate. Bob Williams' brother says $75,000 a year should make most of us in northeastern and central Pennsylvania happy. "It depends on the area. If you're talking this area, very much so," said Bill Williams of Hanover Township.
Others aren't convinced $75,000 can cut it these days. "$75,000 by the time you pay your mortgage, help your kids out, put gas in your car. It's probably not enough," said Showroom 56 employee Kristen Battista. Some individuals have a surprisingly low salary figure for happiness. "$1,000 a month," said Jerry Bartleson of Edwardsville who admitted a $12,000 annual salary would help him meet his bills. Despite his admitted struggles, he doesn't believe you can buy the happiness you're seeking. "People spend a lot of money on stuff that they really don't need," said Mr. Bartleson.
Nancy Turner of Edwardsville added, "It's not about the money but money is nice but it's not all important." Ms. Turner and just about everyone Eyewitness News asked say you just can't put a price on happiness. "After you have the money and you go and you look around. Do you have friends, do you have people that are really important in your life? If you don't it doesn't matter about your money."
The study that determined the optimal salary for happiness is $75,000 was conducted by Princeton University. That study also determined income above that led to little or no gain in real happiness.