Jul 2nd 2008 12:53PM Oh please. I've done both, and I can say without any hesitation that I am infinitely happier being able to fly last minute to Europe than I was when I had to avoid answering the phone because my credit cards were in default and I couldn't pay my $500/mo. rent.
People are happier when they can have what they want, and most people want more things than they can have with $20,000. The problem is that they want more than they can have with $100,000, too, so the improvement in income doesn't translate to a linear improvement in happiness levels. People who make $100,000 are probably more ambitious and less likely to be content with life as they have it, too. The benchmarking is just crazy here.
Does anyone realistically think two people who make half a million a year are going to have the same stresses and anxieties as two people who live on $20,000 a year, all other factors staying the same? It's silly. Give me fuzzy statistics and the ability to ask fuzzy questions, and I can get any answer for you you want.