According to a study done by Gallup, Americans making $75,000 a year have reached the magic income level. As salaries increased for the 450,000 people surveyed, the day-to-day level of happiness rose as well – until $75,000 where it reached a plateau. Now that doesn’t mean a person making $150,000 isn’t any happier than a person making $75,000. In both cases, the general day-to-day happiness or contentment was similar; but those who made more than $75,000 were more satisfied with their general position or status in the world.
Angus Deaton was the economist who conducted the study and was quoted as saying, “Giving people more income beyond 75K is not going to do much for their daily mood … but it is going to make them feel they have a better life.”
Funny how a simple number like $75,000 can mean so much. When I read this article I immediately thought of the apostle Paul and his letter to the church of Philippi. In Philippians 4:10-13 Paul says (NLT Version)
“How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Working hard and earning a great salary is just fine. The challenge comes in learning to be content with what you have in every situation. Being content doesn’t mean being lazy or complacent. It means that you can find the value in the things you have without feeling like you need to upgrade just to make yourself feel better.
Remember, happiness is momentary and can change in an instant. One thing that doesn’t change is the joy we have in Christ. No matter what salary situation we find ourselves in, let’s be careful not to rely on happiness more than we rely on the joy that comes from God.