Tuesday, April 17, 2012


The Magic Salary

"The research found that an annual salary of $50,000 represented a significant tipping point in determining happiness and personal satisfaction."

If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, make $50K a year. See also: The Medium Chill.

37 Comments / Post A Comment


50K sounds lovely.


@mkpatter@twitter Came down here to say just that. Doubt I'll ever make that much in my life, though.


I heard this song was banned from the radio in the 1960's.@a

Reginal T. Squirge

I always thought that if you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.


@ReginalTSquirge@twitter That's my personal point of view.


@QuiteAimable Particularly if her face is ugly and her eyes don't match.

Reginal T. Squirge

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Whoa. Just realized that the posted video is for the song I'm referencing. I didn't know this before because youtube is blocked at work. So then I googled the blocked URL and found out that I'm not as clever as I originally thought.

The end.

Prostitute Robot From The Future

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I have plug-ins turned off in chrome, so I thought you were really clever, until I 'clicked to play'. Can we just pretend that didn't happen and you made a really clever reference?

Lenora Jane

@disgruntled co-worker She may not be clever, but she sho' can cook

(Translation: not being clever makes it in no way less fun. And now this song will be stuck in my head all day)

Reginal T. Squirge

@disgruntled co-worker Totally fine with me!


I WISH. Ugh that would be a HUGE step up for me. Depressingly huge.


Eh, all of these "THIS is the PERFECT SITUATION for EVERYONE" reductivist articles kind of get up in my craw a little. $50K in Des Moines is vastly different than $50K in San Francisco or New York. And $50K without $100K in student loans is a different ball of wax, too.


@liznieve Yes, this. $50K in Bloomington IN is more than enough to afford a nice house and still sock away vacation money and savings. To live the way I do now in SF (with the same disposable income) I would need to make $110k a year.

ETA: Which is why I live in the midwest, coincidentally.


@liznieve FOR REALS. I'm making more money than I ever have (still less than $50K, though), but I pay about 20% of my monthly income in student loans and 30% in rent.


@liznieve Agreed. As someone living at that 'magic' salary, but in an exceptionally costly city, I'm still in debt.


@@serenityfound 30% is the high end of what you should be spending on rent, but that's not like grossly over-budget. I spend more than 50% woooo!


@mkpatter@twitter Ack! The only reason it's "only" 30% is because two people share the other bedroom in the apartment. Just one roommate would bump it up to 40% and having my own place would put it over 50%. And I'm kind of tied to the complex where we live because I don't have a car/it's so close to work (although it's not much cheaper elsewhere in the city).

the angry little raincloud

@liznieve Yes, this. I live in NYC. Until recently, I made slightly over 50K-- I was miserable, because my job was this miserable soul-sucking hellmouth /bidet of evil. I now make certainly less than 50K (two part-time jobs plus freelancing-- I have no idea what my income is!), and I'm a lot happier.

But, over 50K or under, I still can't afford to live by myself or even hope of buying a dinky lil' studio apartment of my own. I lived like an absolute Queen, however, when I lived in Iowa, making $45K. Of course, there was nothing to spend it on there...

Anna Jayne@twitter

I wish this song wasn't so bouncy and dancy. I still kind of love it.


how about you and your partner making just over 50k? does that... count?

yeah, i didn't think so. :(


@teenie Based on the article, the $50K was annual household income and not necessarily just a single salary supporting a single person. So I guess it does count. I'd like to know the average family sizes of the folks they surveyed for this study (and location, as others mentioned).

no way

@JennyM I'd like to know that too. Also, a 1,235 sample size is pretty small.


Just checked a cost of living calculator. 50K in an average American city (Columbus, OH) = 89K in NYC.
Sad trombone.


Make 50k, don't have upwards of 50k in loans, and don't live in the NYC-metro area. Sounds like a plan!

(For a vastly different life.)

Hello Dolly

When I was looking for teaching jobs several years ago, I thought if I could make in the low to mid $30K, I would be good. Now that's what I make and it doesn't seem to ever be enough. I'd probably be the person to get to $50K and still not break even.


All day long I'd biddy-biddy-bum, if I were a wealthy man!


So THAT's why I'm 3 x as happy.


@atipofthehat This seems like as good a comment as any to threadjack. Will you be joining us for the Great Saunter in a few weeks?


@boyofdestiny See, it's a relevant comment, because it's like, exercise, and it's outdoors, and it's social, and it's cheap, all of which contribute to like, happiness. Right?



Do you mean the Great Saunter: a 32 mile walk around Manhattan's Shoreline, held on May 5, 2012?

I sure hope so! I usually prefer to sleep in until 9:00 AM and start at the Circle Line / 42nd Street, since I know the first leg of the walk pretty well and usually walk until the end. Is there a Hairpin meetup page for the Great Saunter?


@atipofthehat There sure is! Subscribe to the updates, and we can all figure out where/when/how to meet. (You were, after all, the inspiration for this scheme.) And also, any 'Pinners in New York should also check it out.


I'm a fan of not starting before 9 am.



Maybe Edith will come, who knows!


I'm doing things wrong.


I would like to try out this magic salary, please.


@cherrispryte Yes. If there is a follow-up study to this, I volunteer to earn this sum and will most diligently report on my happiness levels.

(What would be the control group though, I wonder? Ascetic monks, maybe?)

Faintly Macabre

I did my taxes last night, and I made...10% of that in 2011. So when I am finally quite gainfully employed, I'll be 10x as happy? How nice to imagine!

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