Everyone wants a magic number. Thanks to several factors (the subjectivity of happiness and satisfaction, and the imperfect nature of data collection, just to name two), pinning down this number proves nearly impossible. This shocks no one—a perfect formula to happiness and life satisfaction does not exist (no matter how much we want it to).
The surprising common thread between the articles: earnings have diminishing returns.
Each publication agrees that higher salaries correlate with “happier” people up to a threshold amount, at which point additional earnings either (1) fail to provide additional satisfaction, or (2) actually begin to decrease happiness levels.
The various sources disagree on the number applicable to the threshold, but each falls somewhere in the range of $65,000 to low $100,000. This is great news for accountants: In September 2017, the Journal of Accountancy reported the average salary of a CPA in the United States as $119,000* per year!
Regardless of any threshold researchers have drummed up, they all agree thathow one spends their money proves the main contributor to reported happiness and well-being—a reminder we can all use from time to time! The WSJ’s article, “Can Money Buy You Happiness,” expounds on this topic, with the help of a wealth of nifty graphs.
Regardless of whether or not you think money can buy happiness, let the Journal of Accountancy’s salary data remind you that accounting is the best major, and encourage you to pass the CPA exam as soon as you can!
*Disclaimer: not a starting salary—do not expect this right off the bat!*