3 Ways Most Americans Define Financial Happiness

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Woman drinking coffee in a restaurant
Ground Picture / Shutterstock.com

Here is a question to ponder: What does financial happiness mean to you?

Not everyone has the same answer. Recently, financial services company Empower surveyed 2,000 Americans aged 18 and older as part of its “Financial Happiness” study and asked them several questions.

Among these was a query asking them to define financial happiness.

Surprisingly, just 17% of respondents equated financial happiness with achieving a specific net worth. Instead, recipients were more likely to name the following factors.

Paying bills on time and in full

Woman paying bills
Cheryl Savan / Shutterstock.com

Survey respondents who equated this with financial happiness: 67%

Staying on top of your bills is a good feeling. Not only are you living up to your obligations, but you also eliminate the daily fear that you are one or two missed bills away from wrecking your credit score — or triggering something worse.

If you want to avoid trouble, learn the lessons in “5 Costly Mistakes People Make When Paying Bills.”

Being debt-free

Woman cutting up a credit card
Doucefleur / Shutterstock.com

Survey respondents who equated this with financial happiness: 65%

Debt is a wealth killer. Many people have to endure the miserable and stormy seas of being in arrears before they get to the land of financial happiness.

No matter how deeply in debt you are, there is almost always a solution for getting out of the red and into the black. For tips, listen to the advice of Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson in the podcast episode “10 Steps to Get Out of Debt Now and Stay Out of Debt Forever.”

Enjoying ‘everyday’ small luxuries without worry

Man eating a doughnut
Marmolejos / Shutterstock.com

Survey respondents who equated this with financial happiness: 54%

Some folks find that indulging in small luxuries brings them tremendous joy each day. But others simply cannot afford life’s little pleasures.

Other definitions of financial happiness

Senior retired man in a chair on the beach
Perfect Wave / Shutterstock.com

Here are the other factors that defined “financial happiness” for survey respondents:

  • Being able to afford experiences with loved ones: 53%
  • Achieving financial freedom: 51%
  • Affording big purchases without worry: 51%
  • Buying/owning a home: 45%
  • Having a good work/life balance: 44%
  • Being able to retire when I want: 37%
  • Not having to work for a living: 22%
  • Having nice things: 20%
  • Reaching a certain net worth: 17%

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.