Does money really buy happiness? Actually, it does if you earn at least $75,000 a year. Beyond that amount, your quality of life can still improve, but your level of increasing happiness will plateau. That’s the conclusion of a study from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.
However, these findings also imply that if you’re earning less than that amount, you’re not going to be happy. The reason is simple: you’ll have to forego some basic things you’ll need for your well-being and you may not have the resources to cope with any financial emergencies.
While, of course, money isn’t everything in life, how do you at least get to the $75,000 a year mark?
Here are 3 ideas to help you build your wealth:
- If you’re in a crisis, then borrow money to get your head above water.
It’s almost impossible to think straight about money if you’re in the midst of a crisis. If, for instance, your car has broken down and you need it to get to work, or the rent is due and you’re one paycheck short, then you need to borrow some money to get out of a bind. If you don’t know anybody who can help you out, then get cash through a lender who provides an easy approval line of credit. Once you’ve received the loan, work hard to get it paid off so that you can now begin to focus your mind on creating wealth.
- Increase your earning capacity.
If you’re not earning as much money as you need, then the idea of saving and budgeting tends to sound like an abstraction. So after you’ve pulled yourself out of any imminent financial pressures you may be facing, your next line of action should be to figure out how you can start earning more. You have to decide that you want to earn more than your fear of taking the necessary steps to change your current situation. One reason you may be afraid of change is that you’ve tried one thing after another, fallen prey to one get-rich scheme after another, lost money on investments that didn’t pan out, or didn’t improve your job prospects after taking a few courses in your field. After one disappointment after another, you’re burned out on even trying again. Another reason you may be afraid of change is that you’re finally in a position where you don’t hate your job. Although you hold little to no hope for a raise or promotion, at least you’re able to stay solvent.
So the first thing to do is identify what it is that is holding you back. What thoughts, feelings, and ideas do you have about your current situation that makes you reluctant to find new ways of increasing your income? In other words, identify your constraints. Next, decide what direction you need to start moving in to make a positive shift in your income. Finally, lean into your new idea. Think of developing your money making capacity as similar to increasing your physical strength and endurance. The worst thing you can do to get fit is to join a gym and have a few intense workouts. You’ll end up sore and exhausted and it will take a week or two to recover. So just as you would ease into an exercise program, you must work at strengthening your money making muscles in a gradual way.
- Develop a structure to keep more of what you earn.
After you’ve increased your earning capacity, focus on reducing your spending levels. First, create a family budget so that you know where your money is going in the first place; then, put aside a certain amount each month to build up your savings. Once you have saved enough money, your last and final step is to learn how to invest your money so that your money, rather than your labor, now starts to earn money.
So whether you want to be a millionaire or just comfortable, the main thing you have to do to live a better quality of life that will improve your chances of being happier is to earn at least $75,000 a year. More power to you, of course, if you go beyond that threshold.