Some amount of money could just buy you and your family happiness, claims a new study published in Nature Human Behavior led by Andrew T. Jebb, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University. "We found that the ideal income point is $95,000 for life evaluation and $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being" for an individual, Jebb told Purdue, and more for a family.
For people in North America specifically, the magic "life evaluation" number is $105,000, just about what Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest people, says he could be happy with. That would reflect your overall assessment of how satisfied you are with your circumstances.
For families in North America, you have to do a little math to figure out the magic "life evaluation" number. "To obtain estimates for households with more people, one can simply multiply the satiation estimate by the square root of the house-hold size," the report notes. So the ideal income for an American family of four, for instance, would be $210,000.
Earn any higher than this threshold, though, and the researchers found you might actually experience lower overall satisfaction. Jebb asserts that higher income is often associated with larger workloads and less free time. You can also get more competitive once your basic needs are met, and it can hurt to focus too much on material gain and social status.