Millennial men say they need to make $118,000 a year to be happy – twice as much as women 

How much does it cost to make a Millennial man happy?

At $118,000 a year, the price tag for men’s happiness amounts to about twice as much as the $58,500 annually, on average, that Millennial woman say they need, according to a recent survey of 1,519 people age 21-37 by TD Ameritrade.

It’s also more than twice as much as the $55,000 that Millennial men said they needed to be happy just two years ago. Women reported only needing $48,500 to be happy in 2016.

The money Millennials make varies by state, according to 2016 U.S. Census data. This map illustrates the median salary for people age 20-35 in 2016. At $46,000 a year, Millennials in Massachusetts have the highest median income in the country. There was a five-way tie for the states that pay Millennials the least, with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi and New Mexico all bottoming out at a median pay of $30,000

‘Continuously improving economic conditions, such as historically low unemployment data and strong stock market performance, may influence Millennials to be bolder on how much it takes to be financially happy,’ said Chris Bohlsen, director of Investor Services for TD Ameritrade.

‘With unemployment levels hitting a near 50-year low, the mindset of “I’m just happy to have a job” no longer holds true,’ Bohlsen told

When the genders are averaged together, Millennials say they need to make $80,000 a year to feel happy – $30,000 more than the amount they needed in 2016 to feel good about life.

 With unemployment levels hitting a near 50-year low, the mindset of ‘I’m just happy to have a job’ no longer holds true.                    -Chris Bohlsen, TD Ameritrade

However, the amount Millennials say they need varies dramatically between those under and over age 30. 

On average, Millennials of both genders under age 30 say they need $53,500 to be happy, compared to the $101,500 required by Millennials age 30 and older.

‘Keep in mind that many Millennials are starting families which is another contributor to the higher income expectations,’ Bohlsen said. ‘As anyone with family and children knows, there are expenses, and there is a desire to provide a higher quality of life for your children. When you have to take care of other family members, you set higher goals for yourself.’

Reality suggests that many Millennials may be fairly unhappy: Americans age 25-34 years old earn a median salary of $41,288 annually, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the second quarter of 2018.

When broken down by gender, men fare better, making a median of $44,564 a year compared to women’s $38,376.

Despite the stark difference between what they make and what they want, a separate TD Ameritrade report found that more than half of Millennials believe they will one day become millionaires.

That’s in spite of crushing students loans (20 percent never expect to pay them off) and the fact that 17 percent still can’t say they’re financially independent from their parents.

Despite anticipating financial success in the face of lackluster economic realities, Millennials have different ideas about what kind of lifestyle that wealth will afford them. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) said they don’t expect to own a home.

They’re planning to build different family lives too: One in four said they don’t expect to get married and 30 percent said they aren’t planning on having children.

On average, Millennials expect to retire at age 56, despite saying they don’t expect to start saving for retirement until age 36. Still, a full 28 percent said they don’t ever plan to retire.

The good news was that 70 percent of Millennials described themselves as ‘savers’ this year compared to 62 percent in 2016.

But that doesn’t always equal retirement savings – 43 percent said they were saving for a vacation, while 39 percent said savings were going into an emergency fund and 25 percent have started saving for their children’s education. 

In addition, many Millennials are struggling with debt. Nationwide, they carried a median deb of $23,064, according to a LendingTree analysis of anonymized credit report data on more than 9 million people born 1981-1996.