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As the saying goes, money can’t buy happiness, but millennials and Gen Z would beg to differ.

Empower, a financial services company, surveyed over 2,000 Americans over the age of 18 to understand what financial happiness looks like. While money can’t buy everything, it manages to buy a lot of the things that make for a happy life. Here are the key findings:

  • Most Americans think money does buy happiness: 59% of Americans agree with this, and this shoots up to 67% of Gen Zers and 72% of millennials.
  • Happiness is a six-figure salary: On average, Americans say they need $284,167 per year to be happy. Millennials are driving up the average. While the other generations say happiness is about $130,00 a year, millennials say they need $525,000 a year. Apparently the recession left some deep scars.
  • Happiness means paying the bills on time: While you might argue that people define happiness differently, 67% of Americans said financial happiness is paying the bills on time, 65% said it was being debt free, 54% said it was being able to afford everyday luxuries without worry, and 45% said it was owning a home. However, 54% of people say they have debt, and 36% said they could not pay for an unexpected expense over $500 without worrying

“Every generation has grappled with questions of how to calculate financial happiness: hard work, a lot of planning, consistent savings, and even a little bit of luck, in just the right measures,” says Carol Waddell, president of Empower Personal Wealth. “With financial goals in mind and a solid plan to reach them, savers can spend more time doing the things that make them happy – in their working years and beyond.”  



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