Blog | Kadima Careers

Why Getting a Job That Pays More Actually Makes You Happier!

How a Higher Income Can Equal Better Emotional Well-Being

While wealth isn’t the only driver of happiness, it’s a key factor. So why not get more? Why settle for mediocre salaries and fulfillment when you can accelerate your career, earning potential, and happiness?

Do you want to be happier and wealthier? Check out my podcast on why you shouldn’t be complacent with your career

And prepare for your job search to end by downloading our Kadima Confident Negotiator’s Cheat Sheet to learn how to earn more money.

Key takeaways:

  • Financial independence allows more freedoms, equaling something close to happiness.
  • Money doesn’t equal happiness, but most of us are pretty miserable without it.
  • Accelerate your career by applying for positions at new companies.
  • You can earn more money by getting a job in a higher-paying industry.
  • Always Be Looking is a strategy that keeps your income trending upward. 

Getting a Job with a Higher Salary & More Benefits Increases Happiness

We’ve heard the adage, “Money can’t buy happiness,” but research shows that’s essentially false. More than a decade ago, a Princeton University study found that a higher income can deepen your satisfaction with how your life is going. And now a recent study by Daniel Kahneman and Matthew Killingsworth concluded that reported happiness levels increase dollar for dollar.

Emotional well-being, or “experienced happiness,” is subject to the frequency, intensity, and quality of everyday experiences. The Kahneman and Killingsworth study showed that most people's emotional well-being increases with income. 

Simply put, having more money can make us increasingly happier. A high income provides autonomy and freedom to live the life we want, such as engaging in luxury hobbies, buying a house, and giving back to the community. 

In addition to a high salary, employee benefits make your life easier and healthier. Paid time off allows you to still earn money while sick or on vacation. Medical, dental, and vision insurance mean you can see a provider without breaking the bank. 

Plus, Big Tech and other lucrative companies have employee perks that can literally make you scream, “Woo-hoo!” Many organizations have: 

  • Student loan repayment packages, grants, and scholarships. Paid training and continuing education allowances ensure you have the skills to continue to earn those big paychecks. 
  • Company transportation and equipment. A company car, paid shuttle service, computer, and cell phone are great perks that reduce wear and tear on your personal items and vehicle. Likewise, they can keep your insurance premiums and communication costs down. 
  • Investment opportunities. Corporations often provide ways to invest in company stock at a discounts, equity grants, and other profit-growing options to increase your net worth.

Mo’ Money, Fewer Problems – Sorry, Biggie

You experience unhappiness and stress when facing financial adversities like debt and ongoing health concerns. Think about it – how content can you be if you worry about covering your mortgage, monthly bills, and groceries?

Money can be used as a problem-solving tool, resulting in more overall happiness.

The median household income in the United States is $70,784. Yet, American households spend an annual average of $66,928 on expenses. Less than a $4,000 difference doesn’t give much wiggle room for emergencies – never mind splurges on self-care and vacations. 

And thanks to inflation, prices for big-ticket items are on the rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index reported that the cost of all items increased 6% more than 12 months ago.

If your income isn’t at least that much more, then you are essentially earning less than last year. Your same paycheck is worth less now and will be even smaller months from now.

In 2023, we’re looking at the following increases in our highest expenses:

  • Transportation services – 14.6% 
  • Food – 9.5% 
  • Housing – 8.1%
  • Energy – 5.2%
  • Medical care services – 3.1% 

A higher income often means less stress about bills and other expenses. You can be on the path to a happier life by taking control of your career and income. 

3 Ways to Make More Money

1.     Apply to Jobs at New Places

I changed companies quite a bit between my stay at American Express in 2005 and my last year at Salesforce in 2021. You don’t have to do the same, but it’s generally easier to maximize your compensation at a new company than to earn yearly merit increases at a single company.

Let’s say you’re making $100,000 today, and your compensation increases at 8% annually, which is relatively standard outside of tech for someone performing well. In 10 years from now, you’ll be making around $216,000. Salary growth in tech

That amount isn’t bad, and you may think, “That’s more than double what I make now.” But keeping in mind inflation and unforeseen economic changes – like the housing market shooting up – is that increase enough? Your current expenses won’t be the same. For instance, the buying power of $165,000 in 2013 is the same as $216,000 today. 

The average salary increases by almost 15% when switching companies. But you would be making around $405,000 if you take control of your career, apply the “New Every Two Rule,” and changed jobs biannually. If doubling your paycheck makes you twice as happy, imagine what joy quadrupling it could do. 

2.     Job Search at Better Companies

You can make more money by getting a job at a higher-paying organization. It sounds so simple, but many job seekers don’t realize that some businesses just have more money to work with. 

Certain companies flat-out pay people better than Fortune 500s and startups. They are more generous than many mature legacy corporations with stodgy limits on raises and salaries. You can expect a high salary if you land a job at FAANG and other best tech companies.

Median pay for top tech companies

For instance, the average salary for at American Express is $67,000. Meanwhile, the average salary at Google is $296,000! 

I increased my earnings by 37% (more than $62,000) by switching from American Express to Google. Not only is that huge leap nearly the median household income, but it also gave me and my family a better lifestyle. My successful clients found the same thing to be true when they jumped into higher paying companies in fast growing industries from startups or Fortune 500s. 

3.     Always Be Looking

I’m emphasizing this because it’s literally the foundation of my entire Career Acceleration system. You want to Always Be Looking (ABL) and keeping an eye out for a better job. Even if you love your job and make good money, what’s to say there isn’t a better, high-paying position that you love even more waiting for you? 

Stay prepared by:

Likewise, you are losing money when your salary does not keep up with inflation. If you are not looking for your next opportunity, you are potentially losing money – and, therefore, limiting your happiness.

Another reason to ABL is that job loss is one of the biggest life stressors. About 74% of workers are at-will employees. You don’t want a layoff or termination to surprise you, your bank account, or your emotional well-being.

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