Let us first say this: One can be happy with or without a hefty income, and happiness isn't necessarily tied to money or possessions. On the other hand, money can ease some practical burdens, which can lead to reduced stress and higher levels of day-to-day happiness.
But at what point does income fail to make us happier? A popular survey from 2010 found that the magic number is $75,000 per year; after that, the money is superfluous, and doesn't contribute to increased happiness.
One of the problems with that survey, though, is that it doesn't account for the cost of living in each state. For example, $75,000 goes a lot further in Mississippi than it does in New York, making it reasonable to assume that the benchmark income for happiness changes depending on where you live.
To tackle this issue, Doug Short, vice president of research at investment group Advisor Perspectives, analyzed the data from 2010 based on cost of living variables. What he came up with is a list of how $75,000 corresponds to cost of living in each state. In other words, these income levels are how much you need to make to reach optimal happiness (according to this analysis)!
Here's the list of states where happiness comes at the highest cost; it may not be a perfect measure, but it's interesting nonetheless. Let us know what you think!
1. Hawaii — $122,175
2. DC — $104,700
3. New York — $99,150
4. Alaska — $98,850
5. New Jersey — $95,700
6. California — $95,325
7. Connecticut — $93,900
8. Oregon — $91,275
9. Massachusetts — $90,975
10. Rhode Island — $90,675