In 2010, psychologist Daniel Kahneman published what became a hugely famous study on the link between money and happiness. Beyond $75K/year, incremental earnings yielded zero meaningful happiness boost, he found.
Welp...he was wrong.
After research from other psychologists contradicted his findings, Kahneman teamed up with them to settle the matter. The group asked 33,391 working US adults with a median household income of $85K to answer questions about their sense of well-being.
Punchline: for most people, happiness improves with higher earnings, up to $500K/year.
The researchers also identified two notable sub-groups in their research:
The rich and miserable: for some, once they hit $100K/year, no incremental money moves the "happiness needle."
The happiest 30%: for roughly a third of people, feelings of well-being sharply accelerate once earnings exceed $100K.
There are, of course, massive caveats here! Other happiness studies have found that personal relationships, a sense of community, and hobbies are also critical "boosters."
And yet, the immortal words of actress Bo Derek do seem to ring true here: "Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping."