Just about everybody would say no if asked if they make enough money.

Even billionaires are constantly trying to make more money they’ll never get around to spending.

But for the average Tennessean who’ll never have “I’m outta here” money, a recent study says we’d need 43% more money to be happy. That would be $16,379 more for a worker in the Volunteer State.

I’m too lazy to do the math correctly, but that seems like it would put you at an income of about $40,000 annually. So, adding $16,000, an income of $56,000 would put us all across the happiness line.

I long ago gave up the dream of the big things. No house on the water, a new car every year, a ton of “I’m outta here” money. So, another $16,000 a year probably would get me across the happiness finish line.

Tennessee’s dream of a better financial life isn’t the biggest one in the country. Residents of Alaska want 60% more pay to put a smile on their faces. Conversely, Arkansas only needs 20% more pay to laugh with joy, which only makes sense if they surveyed no one but members of the Walton family.

Most states need between a 30% and 50% raise to feel like treating people better.

In other words, none of us make enough. In one way, it’s rather obvious we all do make enough. If you’ve got a house to be in, food to eat and a job, you’re making it.

You might have crushing debt and no hope for the future, but at least, for the moment, you’re not living on the street.

I’ve always thought you both live up to and down to your income. If you’re making $40,000 a year and suddenly, for whatever reason, you’re making $100,000 a year, all of your money problems have been solved.

For a little bit of time. But you’ll upgrade the house, upgrade the car and maybe even upgrade the spouse and soon you’re griping, again, that you aren’t making enough money.

And if you suddenly started earning much less money, you’d live with a lot less whether you wanted to or not.

The survey, done by some website called solitaired.com, says “Despite these figures, the research found that only a minority (15%) of respondents truly believe money can buy genuine happiness, although almost half (47%) of respondents admit to having purchased unnecessary items in a futile attempt to make themselves feel happier.

Others (53%) who have presumably been more reflective during the pandemic, say the crisis has prompted them to re-evaluate what makes them happy in life. Perhaps this follows months on end of an accumulation of online impulse purchases and empty Amazon delivery boxes to recycle.”

Of course money doesn’t buy happiness. True happiness depends way too much on other people. Nearly all successful men, when pushed, will admit they started out wanting to impress a woman. And successful women just wanted to show men they could do it without them.

And impulse purchases to make us happy has been a long standing tradition for most people.

We don’t need 97% of what we need. In fact, all humans need, like all animals, is just shelter and food.

But somewhere along the line we decided we really needed to be entertained in shelter that was way too big and way too crowded. And that costs money. A lot of money.

So, we don’t make enough. All we need to do is stay out of the rain and have enough to eat and we’re good. But we need something to do, so we work. And when we’re not working, we need something to take our minds off work, so we need to be entertained.

Humans have a way of making things much more complicated than they need to be. All we truly want is to not have to get up in the morning before we want.

Whatever amount of money that takes is what would get me to the happiness finish line.

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