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.

More from Money Now

Dec 4, 2012 9:47PM
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 9:43PM
You have to have your health to feel happy.
Dec 4, 2012 9:42PM
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 9:41PM
$161K?  I'd be happy with 1/4 of that!
Dec 4, 2012 9:30PM
Silly humans...still think money can buy happiness.
Dec 4, 2012 8:44PM
But the rich shouldn't get a tax increase.  LMAO.   You people that believe the Republicans and Tea Party are fools.
Dec 4, 2012 8:42PM
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 7:25PM
 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 6:51PM
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 6:34PM
IF they would server decent food.. i.e. healthy...
then MAYBE they could catch up...

Bottom line is more and more Americans are becoming informed on what they eat, how it's prepared, etc.

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