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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Dec 4, 2012 11:50PM
$161k?  Then good for them.  Me?  I wanted more than that.  And I made sure I worked hard enough to make 6 times that per year.  I succeeded.   I'm happy.  I don't look down on anyone who's happy with smaller incomes.  Good for them.  But, not everyone defines 'financial success" at $161k a year.  I don't, so I didn't stop at that income.
Dec 4, 2012 11:49PM
being's were talking salery here about 500 mil.would do the trick for me.And in aflash i could spend spend 300 mil in a sec. just as long as it takes to sign on the dotted I'd buy a about 100,000 or 150,000 acre ranch wham bam 300 mil gone in 2 secon'd hire a capable mngr. and enough employees to keep it going.And have and do anything I wanted.Anytime I wanted to.The last 50mil.outta the 500mil outta take care of that.
Dec 4, 2012 11:46PM

Meanwhile, Barry Obama continues the thievery - errr, redistribution - of (whose?) middle class democrat America's wealth under the guise of "taxing the wealthy."


....mmm. mmm. mmm!

Dec 4, 2012 11:44PM
Too many people I've known have been wiped out by the actions of the bankers, including myself.  It's going to take about $10 million after taxes to fix the lives of the 30 or so of the people I care about who simply can't catch up.  Most are over 50 and can't replace their lost careers in the USA.  It's just not going to happen unless we scape off the national and other debts like Iceland did.   This is not a probably outcome...  but please make me wrong.
Dec 4, 2012 11:43PM

I would be happy to have just enough money to relocate my baby sister via air ambulance, to a first class diagnostic facility, then to

the best hospital for treatment.

Dec 4, 2012 11:42PM
It really all depends on where you live.  Making 54K in Manhattan is not enough, unless you are living with your mother.
Dec 4, 2012 11:38PM
I would be totally happy making $30-35 a year right now!!  I have an Associate's degree and have been unable to secure employment in over four years!!!  So unlike some greedy asshats, I do not need six digits to make my life "happy"!!
Dec 4, 2012 11:37PM
All I need to be happy is a car elevator, a pair of magic underwear, and a couple of sister-wives, just like Mitt Romney
Dec 4, 2012 11:31PM
per the title.  If someone gave me $161k, I'd be very happy.  If someone gave me $100, it would probably make my day. 
Dec 4, 2012 11:30PM

Oh Lord  all I ask is a chance to prove money can make me happy


Dec 4, 2012 11:27PM

I learned something the actor once said. " They more money you make...the more people you support".

Dec 4, 2012 11:26PM
Growing up poor isn't fun. All people are not created or treated equally. Far from it. With $116,000 annual salary I'd feel extremely blessed.
Dec 4, 2012 11:24PM
And I thought the root of all evil was woman, at least that what is says in the bible. she started it! money is just a way to keep the evil happy and off your back. hay don't blame me its your goofy religion. and if money is the root of all evil why does the church want so much of it.
Dec 4, 2012 11:21PM
I'd be happy! I have good health & all the other stuff. Now someone just gimme the money...
Dec 4, 2012 11:19PM
Definitely yes,but I'd continue to work but part-time only.
Dec 4, 2012 11:18PM
If everyone get 161+K I think there will be less crimes and the world will be a better place :0

But then again you get those greedy people that will always want more.

Dec 4, 2012 11:08PM
I would be thrilled with $100,000 a year TAKE HOME after taxes. I wouldnt be stupid and buy huge houses or get sports cars. I just want a nice $300,000 home, a reliable clean vehicle for me, my husband and of course my kids, to be able to put all my kids in dance, football, basketball or whatever it is they want to do, cell phones for everyone thats 13 and older, be able to go on vacation once a year and not somewhere like Italy, somewhere like TN, FL, UT, HI or maybe Bahamas. Im SICK and tired of living paycheck to paycheck and that not even being enough. People say money cant buy happiness. Well they sure as hell dont know what its like to be poor! Having to live off of Welfare so your kids can eat sucks. I dont want to live like that anymore. My kids deserve to have nice clothes from the mall if they want. Im tired of having to shop at Walmart or some dam thrift store! This is a touchy subject for me. I was raised poor and now my kids are having to be raised the same way. Its not right! 
Dec 4, 2012 11:05PM
I actually made this much and more for a few years before I retired. We invested most of it, didn't need it at all, and I'd have traded the long hours and pressure for a lower income any day of the week.  
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