A cool $161,000 makes us happy

A new global survey finds that people do need quite a bit of cash to feel content.

By Kim Peterson Dec 4, 2012 6:24PM
Image: Man holding cash - Rubberball, Getty ImagesWhat does it take to make Earthlings happy? An average salary of $161,000 is a good place to start.

A new study by Skandia International asked people in 13 countries about what level of income they would need to feel "really happy." The responses varied by country, but averaged out at about 15 times the global individual income average of $10,700. Yeah, I'd say $161,000 would be enough to put a smile on most faces.

Skandia skipped the U.S. in its survey, so we don't know what level of money brings happiness here. But of the countries surveyed, those hard-working, stoic Germans had the most modest needs, saying that only $85,781 would be necessary. Everyone else zipped up past the $100,000 mark, with France coming in at $114,344 and the United Kingdom at $133,010.

Residents of Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai had the highest totals, with Dubai coming in first with an average of $276,150 for pure happiness.

And money does in fact equate to happiness for most respondents. About 80% said that money would make them happy, the researchers said. That percentage rose to 93% percent in Brazil, while Europeans didn't see as much correlation between money and happiness. In Germany, only 68% of people equated money with happiness.

The survey also asked about debt levels, and -- perhaps not coincidentally -- the countries that required the most money for happiness also had some of the highest average debts. Residents of Dubai said they would need about $19,000 to pay off all their debts, excluding mortgages. Germans only needed about $5,800 to pay their debts -- the lowest of all countries surveyed.

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114Comments
Dec 4, 2012 9:50PM
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The funniest thing I see are people who make 150 and 200K a year and are always broke.
They live in giant houses, drive hot cars, dress up in all the latest fashion but are always broke.
Hahaha. Man, I make 54K a year, own a small house, drive a new Tacoma, don't use credit cards. And! have $1000 bucks a month floating around in my wallet. Sure I only have two bedrooms and one bath but it sure is cozy and warm.
I guess I missed the, Make 1ooK spend 150K lifestyle.
Oh yeah, And I'm EXTREMELY Happy with my life.

Dec 4, 2012 9:43PM
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You have to have your health to feel happy.
Dec 4, 2012 9:51PM
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When hubby and I were dating, we would ask each other hypothetical questions, just for fun. One question has always stuck out though.

 

I once asked him, "If you could be as rich as you want, how rich would you be?"

 

Both of us came to the same conclusion. Rich enough so that if I want to go out to dinner or go to the movies, I don't have to think about it. I don't have to rework my budget for the month or worry about all the bills getting paid.

 

Ultimately, my goal is to be rich enough to be a stay-at-home mom. But I don't need a McMansion and a Hummer and all that stuff to be happy. Just financially stable enough to stay home, raise my kids, and make our home a warm welcoming place. Honestly, we'd only need about $50,000-$60,000/year to make that happen.

Dec 4, 2012 10:12PM
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Money can not buy happiness, but it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than on a bicycle.

 

 

 

Dec 4, 2012 10:03PM
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Do what you love. You may make less money, but you will be more satisfied

with your life and may even be able to get off of your blood pressure meds.

Dec 4, 2012 9:47PM
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Where do articles like this come from? I don't need a lump sum of cash to be happy. I need a good economy with opportunity. Then my ability to earn is infinite. That makes me happy.
Dec 4, 2012 10:31PM
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the love of money is the root of all evil-not money itself, but the love of it-the greed, the selfishness, the stinginess, the hoarding, etc. Rich or poor-you leave this world with what you came into it with-NOTHING.
Dec 4, 2012 6:51PM
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Give your business to the locally owned "Mom-N-Pop" eateries. They appreciate the business and are your neighbors. The chain stores are owned by franchisees who must pay premium rents and a percentage of their income to the master corporation; that is why their menu prices are high. They also have to cut corners to maintain a healthy profit margin.
Dec 4, 2012 7:25PM
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 I learned my lesson from the trucking business. Never take the first pay cut. it is just the beginning of the end. employee's take the cuts and upper management takes it in bonuses and pay raises. nothing new here been happening since the early 80's. sad thing there wasn't enough left for this CEO to take more. he was really getting screwed on the usual pay they take.
Dec 4, 2012 9:55PM
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When i went to red lobster, when it first opened it was good and you felt like you were being cooked for and now its like going to a fast food joint only sit down style. Feels like the food is massed produced so i stopped going there. Also if i want to tip i will i do not want it added to my bill
Dec 4, 2012 10:17PM
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Exactly $700.00 a week after ALL taxes, or $2800.00 a month.  House is paid for, two cars run just fine, good health, books, dvds and cds all here.  So you see it wouldn't take much to make me feel more SECURE.  HAPPINESS, to me, at least, isn't obtained by six figures.  I already have that in the bank.
Dec 4, 2012 8:42PM
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I don't go there anymore because I don't feel like supporting their underwaged staff. Some of Darden's servers only get paid 2.50 an hour!!!! The rest of their salary is dependent on my tips. Darden is a disgrace to the profession.
Dec 4, 2012 9:52PM
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If you have $2,500 worth of assets, you are in the top 50% of the world's population as far as wealth.  If you have $500,000 in assets, you are in the top 1% of wealth.  $161,000 means that everyone wishes they were in the top 1%.  I try to spend my money helping those less fortunate than me.  That makes me happy.  Not the money that I wish I had.
Dec 4, 2012 10:44PM
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$75,0000 is more than enough for me...!
Dec 4, 2012 9:52PM
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The middle class is getting tax increase as well as the rich you idiots. The republicans wanted to keep the same tax structure as its always been and obama hooked you all hook line and sinker. Now he is going to cut Medicare. How do you think he was going to pay for his promises. Taxing the rich will solve the problem for 3 days. 
Dec 4, 2012 9:30PM
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Silly humans...still think money can buy happiness.
Dec 4, 2012 9:49PM
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Who says money can't buy happiness???  Kinda hard NOT to smile while driving a new jet ski ;)
Dec 4, 2012 9:41PM
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$161K?  I'd be happy with 1/4 of that!
Dec 4, 2012 9:42PM
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I would be taking a 100k pay cut. I am a welder who started my own company and work long hours. I guess I don't deserve it right?
Dec 4, 2012 10:29PM
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They say the love of money ,is the root of all evil.You need money to eat and pay bills,its when you get to love it,crave it ,and believe a certain amount of it can bring happiness,thats when it takes root in you.You become evil, just as anything you think makes you happy.
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