Smiling all the way to the bank

  • Article by: KIM ODE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2012 - 5:16 PM

Can money buy happiness? You bet. But it's not as spendy as you might think.

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Cindy Hill, left, with her son Jason, daughter Jaiden, husband Mark Hill, second from right, and son Cody, right, laugh during the news conference, Friday, November 30, 2012, at North Platte High School in Dearborn, Missouri, after the family claimed $293,750,000 as co-winners in the Powerball lottery jackpot.

Photo: David Eulitt, MCT

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While the two lottery winners splitting the $588 million Powerball jackpot are predictably ecstatic, it turns out they could be pretty darn content with $162,000.

That's the figure identified as being enough to make people feel "happy."

Skandia International, a British firm specializing in offshore investment solutions, developed a "wealth sentiment monitor," which asked 5,000 people in 13 countries how much money they needed to feel happy.

Globally, the average "happiness income" was $161,810 (in U.S. dollars).

That figure took in a low of $85,781 for ever-stoic Germans to a high of $276,150 from Dubai residents, who presumably are otherwise melancholic.

The survey also went a step further, asking how much money it would take to feel wealthy. In a word: more.

Citizens of Singapore said they'd need $2.91 million to feel wealthy, while Americans lowballed the feeling at $1 million.

So how do Minnesotans stack up? Well, despite our outward demeanor, we could be happier.

According to most recent U.S. Census figures, the median per capita income here is $29,404.

By household, the figure rises to $56,954.

That's still a good $100,000 shy of Skandia's "happiness income."

Then again, Minnesotans make more money than Iowans. That alone might make us giddy.

Kim Ode • 612-673-7185

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