You don't need to make $100,000 a year. And most people would keep working even if they won the lottery.

Would you feel successful making $75,000 a year? Most people would, according to new research.

CareerBuilder surveyed more than 3,300 full-time workers about their salaries and job satisfaction. It found nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t happy with what they make. But by looking at financial satisfaction across all salary ranges, they figured out the tipping point…

  • 23 percent of people making under $50,000 are making what they want to
  • along with 39 percent of people making between $50,000 and $75,000
  • and 56 percent of people making between $75,000 and $100,000
  • and 66 percent of people making between $100,000 and $150,000
  • and 57 percent of people making more than $150,000

At the top end, some people are obviously just never satisfied. But it looks like most people feel secure at $75,000 a year.  More than half also say they feel successful making less than that amount. Although “men are nearly two times as likely as women to need $100,000 or more (29 percent versus 15 percent)” to feel successful, CareerBuilder says.

Not among the financially satisfied third of Americans? Maybe you should ask for a raise.

The survey also found most workers have never asked for one, but two-thirds of the people who have got one. “The rate is virtually the same for men and women,” CareerBuilder says, but “women are less likely to have asked for a raise (38 percent) than men (49 percent).”


Why we work

As part of the same survey, CareerBuilder asked whether people would quit their job if they won the lottery. Surprisingly, just over half said they would keep working, and most of them in their current job.  Why? The top responses were…

  • “I would be bored if I didn’t work.” (77 percent)
  • “Work gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment.” (76 percent)
  • “I want financial security aside from the financial winnings.” (42 percent)
  • “I would miss co-workers.” (23 percent)

Meanwhile, most quitters would acquit themselves well. Nearly half say they would give two weeks’ notice and offer to stay longer if the employer needed more time to find a replacement. Nearly another third would put in their two weeks’ notice and then ride off into the sunset. Then there are the jerks.

According to CareerBuilder, 13 percent would quit on the spot and 3 percent would go further by “telling off the boss and airing all grievances.” A rotten 2 percent just wouldn’t tell anybody and would just stop showing up to work.

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Meet the Author

Brandon Ballenger

Brandon Ballenger


Ballenger is a writer for and its first political columnist.

Career and Business

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Article last modified on November 29, 2017 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: How much money do you need to be happy? - AMP.