What's enough money to make you happy? £101,000 a year according to global survey - but Brits are content with £83,000

By Harry Glass


Cash rich: In the 1985 film Brewster's Millions (1985) Richard Pryor's character has to spend $30million in 30 days - and has problems

Cash rich: In the 1985 film Brewster's Millions (1985) Richard Pryor's character has to spend $30million in 30 days - and has problems

Felling malcontent with your financial lot? You are not alone.

According to a study of more than 5,000 workers across the world, a yearly income of no less than $161,810 (£101,812) is what is needed for a happy life - a mere 15 times the global average salary.

Overall, some 80 per cent of individuals believed that earning this amount each year would make them feel content.

The highest levels of aspired income were quoted by individuals living in Dubai, who would need $276,150 (£173,780) to be precise, according to the Wealth Sentiment Survey commissioned by international investment company Skandia International.

The next highest financial aspirations were in Singapore and Hong Kong, where desired annual income hit $227,563 and $197,702 respectively.  

Europeans seemed happy with less - people in Germany had the most modest needs of all with $85,781. But Brits had the second highest price of happiness in Europe at $133,010 (£83,600), behind Italy at $175,825.

In some territories women reported having higher ambitions than men in order to feel content. For example, in Hong Kong, Italy and Brazil women say they desire 13 per cent ($207,924), 11 per cent ($187,036) and as much as 55 per cent ($192,929) more than the amounts quoted by men in order to feel happy.


The study looked to explore and understand people’s feelings towards wealth, and found that globally, only three in twenty individuals regard themselves as wealthy.

If not flush, then slightly better off...

A study yesterday revealed the nation's pay rise winners over the last six years are...metal welders - who have seen 22.2 per cent hikes, double the national average.

Health and social services managers, and managers in financial institutions, are also top of the winners’ board, rising by 21.1 per cent and 22 per cent respectively, according to specialist recruiter Randstad.

But while a pay rise of around one fifth may sound like a good deal, in real terms it is barely a rise - anything under a 19.3 per cent hike would equate to a pay fall due to inflation over the period.

The average UK salary has increased by 11.4 per cent since 2006, representing a considerably drop in real terms.

Today CPI inflation rose again, tightening the squeeze on people's finances after easing earlier in the year.

It leapt back to 2.7 per cent in October, after dipping to a 34-month low of 2.2 per cent in September.

To qualify for the tag 'wealthy', you'll need an average of $1.76million (£1.1million) in disposable assets. 

Regionally, this wealthy qualification differs widely though - in Singapore, the average figure quoted was $2.9million, whilst Dubai and Hong Kong cited the next highest levels at around $2.5million.

Europe, on the other hand, reported relatively modest and lower than average requirements; Austrians and Germans would need just $900,000 and $1million.  

And consequently, more Austrians and Germans reported feeling ‘wealthy’, with more than a fifth feeling flush. Overall, Brazilians felt the richest - more than a quarter said they feel affluent.

Phil Oxenham, marketing manager at Skandia International comments: 'There are many more things in life that can make people happy but there is no doubt that money can help.  

'It is fascinating to see the regional differences in levels of income and capital that people think they need to feel happy and wealthy. These figures are, of course, aspirational and for most of us the important thing is to have a financial plan and make sure that we are saving as much as we can to give us financial security.'

The research was conducted across 13 territories.


The comments below have not been moderated.

But, would most individuals be able to cope with the responsibility that goes with an £86k salary job....in my experience ....very few.

Click to rate     Rating   1

ONS stats show a net individual income at £15000 is the median (50th percentile) - where half earn less and half earn more. That does though include benefit income. Average FTB gross of £33500, puts them at 82nd percentile.

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You need so much (or some people appear to) in order to buy things you/ they dont really need. Why?... to impress people who they barely know or this months current friends. You can survive and be happy on £12000 a year if you didnt want to buy a bigger Range Rover than the guy next door, holiday in a more obscure place than everyone at the office (who cant really afford it himself/herself) anyway. Live for what you have and not what you think others will make you stand out.

Click to rate     Rating   27

you are all wrong the govenment states the minimum £6.29 a hour is enough and to raise it would cost jobs , so what it would only lose bad paying jobs and we could all live with that.

Click to rate     Rating   2

I must be really really miserable.

Click to rate     Rating   15

Oh, dear! I've been 'surviving' on much less and thought I was perfectly happy. Now TIM has gone and spoiled it all. Can we have a few 'good news' stories, for a change?

Click to rate     Rating   6

Take the average English family consisting of two adults and two children. To maximise their ISA allowances would require £11280 for each adult and £3600 for each child. They would also require a house in a nice area to live in which would cost at least £300000 requiring a mortgage of £1500 per month, £18000 per year and council tax of £2000 per year. Utilities at £100 per month and shopping at £100 per week. This would require a total net income of £66960 or gross salary of £104000. This excludes costs of pension contributions, running cars, eating out and taking holidays. £83k a year will not go very far for the average English family.

Click to rate     Rating   14

Would you be happy with 12% of revenue in the year?

Click to rate     Rating   5

So if I want to be happy my boss has got to virtually treble my pay. Well I don't mind my pay being doubled & being slightly cheerful if that helps. So have a word please. I don't think so. Yet I manage to pay my mortgage, feed my family & clothe us.

Click to rate     Rating   11

A hypothetical question as it changes with inflation.

Click to rate     Rating   3

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