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There is a not-so-secret belief that people who have made a lot of money are always in a good mood and live a carefree life. When we get stuck in traffic, we can’t help but think of the millionaire sitting in their private jet. But, is it really true that wealthy people are happier?

Researchers have found that happiness does increase with wealth, but only up to a certain point called the ‘happiness plateau.’ This plateau, at least in the US, reaches around an income of $75,000 per year. Right after crossing this point, happiness balance stops going up linearly with wealth, meaning earning more doesn’t make you much happier.

The reasons are pretty straight-forward when you think about it. When you don’t have to worry about money for essentials like food, shelter, and security, you will undoubtedly feel happier. But, once those needs are met, additional money doesn’t significantly increase the joy in your life. The style of luxury may change – swapping steak dinners for caviar, for example – but the level of satisfaction remains pretty much the same.

What brings profound joy are things that money can’t buy. We all yearn for things like the respect of our peers, accomplishing our goals, spending quality time with loved ones or taking time for our hobbies. These simple but powerful things give a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness that wealth alone can’t guarantee.

Another surprising fact researchers have found is that extreme wealth can sometimes lead to less satisfaction. Millionaires, it turns out, often worry a lot. They worry about keeping their wealth, choosing the right luxury possessions, or whether their friends are real or just interested in their money. Also, the belief that more money equals more happiness can leave wealthy people caught in an endless cycle of seeking more and more wealth, which can be rather stressful.

Therefore, it’s not entirely correct to think that richer people are happier. The truth is a little complicated, having all the money in the world does not guarantee you a lifetime of joy and contentment. The focus should be on what brings genuine happiness, and in most cases, it turns out to be non-monetary things that give people the most satisfaction.

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