According to a study by Purdue University in the US, there’s an “optimal” salary that can determine your happiness, and judging by the size of it, I’d wager most of us pretty fucking miserable.

That number for Australia and New Zealand is $159,000, which isn’t exactly an easily accessible salary, but I suppose by the time you factor in today’s cost of living, the number adds up.

Using figures from a Gallup survey of more than 1.7 million people across 164 countries, the team identified ideal income points for emotional wellbeing (day-today emotions of happiness or excitement) and life satisfaction (an overall assessment of one’s life based on higher goals and comparisons to others).

Published in the journal, Nature Human Behaviour, lead author and doctoral student, Andrew Jebb, points out that the gap between both of these points can be quite large.

“We found that the ideal income point is $US95,000 ($121,000) for life evaluation and $US60,000 ($76,000) to $US75,000 ($95,000) for emotional wellbeing,” he said. “This amount is for individuals and would likely be higher for families.”

“That might be surprising as what we see on TV and what advertisers tell us we need would indicate that there is no ceiling when it comes to how much money is needed for happiness, but we now see there are some thresholds.”

In terms of how our optimal salary measures up against other countries’, life satisfaction kicks in for us at $US125,000 ($159,000), Western Europe and Scandinavia‘s is at $US100,000 ($127,000), North America‘s is at $US105,000 ($133,000), Eastern Europe‘s is at $US45,000 ($57,000), and sub-Saharan Africa‘s is at $US40,000 ($51,000).

According to Jebb, the results are based on purchasing power and questions about wellbeing and life satisfaction. As you can see, these can vary pretty wildly based on country.

The current average full-time salary in Australia is $81,531, which is a pretty long way off the supposed golden figure of $159,000. If you ask me, I don’t think it’s fair to place self satisfaction solely on a dollar figure. I think there’s way more factors at play when discussing something that’s so subjective.

But hey, I’ve never earned anywhere near $159,000 per year, so maybe I’m just a miserable piece of shit and I don’t even know it. Haha, nah, I’m pretty happy I reckon.

And funnily enough, the more money you earn over this threshold, the more life satisfaction and wellbeing actually decreased, which is something the authors put down to exceeding needs and being compelled to pursue more material gains.

So there you have it, folks, if you wanna be a happy camper in life, you better be reaching for that sweet, sweet $159,000 per year. Not a cent more or less.

Image: SpongeBob SquarePants