RoperASW surveyed 1,505 adults regarding personal and financial matters. Chatzky's book covers the results of those surveys. The gist of the chart above is that once a household reaches the $50,000/year income level, overall happiness pretty much levels off. Tack on another $50k worth of dough annually, and the $100k families show no noticeably higher "happiness quotient" than do the $50k 'ers.
"What this means," Chatzky writes, "is that earning more is no guarantee of happiness." She illuminates this by suggesting that Couple A, who earn $40k per year and by budgeting and planning are able to make their money work for them, will in the end be just as happy (or happier) than Couple B, who make $65k per year but have fairly poor money-management habits.
Once we get past a certain level of income — namingly, that level which allows for basic comforts and necessities — then people tend to expect more from money than it can truly provide. Money brings a huge happiness boost in circumstances where it provides basic comforts and necessities which previously had been missing.
After that, "It might put a short-lived smile on your face," she says. "But will it buy you long-lasting happiness? Not a chance."