The key factors of happiness

All the condensed information below was taken from the article:

The Economics of Happiness

Happiness = Set Point + Condition + Voluntary Conditions

  • Set Point = How happy you are to begin with, some people are just cheerier
  • Condition = Ethnicity, Gender, Attractiveness, keeping in mind the Adaptation Principle – everything settles back down to 0
  • Voluntary Conditions = Choices, Hobbies, Location, Relationships


1) Earning at least a $75,000 income

  • Beyond a household income of $75,000 it does nothing for happiness, enjoyment, sadness or stress (National Academy of Sciences)
  • Daily happiness does not increase but the feeling of being satisfied does
  • At any given income level, everyone thinks earning 20% more would make them happier

I would say even at $60,000 it is a good marker for maximum happiness.

2) Spending money on other people and charity, and on experiences

  • Buying things for others
  • Donating to Charity
  • Spending on vacations
  • Spending on meals
  • Spending on movies and concerts
  • Not buying things — it is a short high and then it is over

Agreed. This is why I travel.

3) Living close to your job

  • You would have to make 40% more to compensate for a longer commute

As a consultant, this is 100% true. I loathe having to commute to any client site, and the shorter of a time I spend in a car, train or bus, the happier I am.

Oddly enough, people think buying a bigger house out in the suburbs makes them happy once they are home and having a pool and 8 bedrooms is totally worth it.

But losing 2-3 hours of your time each day just stuck in a car or during traffic jams, makes you regret that purchase. That is 10-15 hours a week, lost.

4) Being older

  • Most people are happier at age 85 than age 18
  • Your brain just starts feeling better as you get grayer

Possibly due to being more sure of yourself, no pressure or stress to succeed or be amazing any longer.

5) Having a satisfying job

Any job can give your happiness if it utilizes your strengths and does four things:

  • stretches a person without defeating them
  • provides clear goals
  • provides unambiguous feedback
  • provides a sense of control

Spending 40 hours a week at a job you hate is just not worth it.

6) Strong social ties

  • Strong, positive relationships with family, spouse, children, and friends provides the biggest boon to our happiness

I can vouch for this. When I talk to my family, my friends or BF, I feel awesome afterwards.

7) Regular, monogamous sex

  • Number of sexual partners a year that maximizes one’s happiness? One.
  • From having sex less than once a month to at least once a week is equivalent to adding $50,000 to your income.

Healthy and happy.

About the Author

I'm a 20-something year old girl who lived out of a single suitcase in 2007, and now I'm living with less, but only with the best. You don't have to get rid of everything to become a minimalist! Minimalism can help simplify and organize your life, career, & physical surroundings. You can read more about me as a minimalist. Or come and visit my other blog Fabulously Broke in the City where I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months, earning $65,000 gross/year.