To most, success doesn't mean a six-figure salary.
In fact, the majority of American workers would be content with average level earnings, according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, an employment website offering job search services. Twenty-eight percent of respondents to the survey said they would feel successful bringing home between $50,000 to $70,000 per year, and 23 percent placed their benchmark for success below $50,000, the survey found (h/t Atlanta Business Chronicle).
The desired salary range of most workers doesn't fall far from what an average family brings in. Median household income in the United States -- a measure that includes both households of one person and households of multiple people -- is about $50,000.
The survey results mirror the findings of a 2010 study conducted by Princeton University. Researchers concluded that money can buy happiness, but only up to a certain threshold. Earning less than $75,000 per year can exacerbate a worker's already existent life problems, while earning above that threshold has no additional effect on overall happiness, according to the researchers.
Why isn't money the answer to our happiness? Michael Norton, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, said it's because we usually spend it on the wrong person -- namely, ourselves. He cited a study published in the Journal for Consumer Psychology last year that found that having more money only made people happier when they spent it on others.
For many, feeling successful may be about more than just income. Factors such as raising children well, the meaningfulness of work and the respect of peers can also play a role in most people's perception of success, according to a research paper published in the Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business.