The Price of Happiness: How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy?

The Price of Happiness: How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy?

The results may or may not shock you.

Singapore aside, people know Southeast Asia to be among the most affordable, hence the most satisfying, places to travel around. But as a resident of this region, have you ever wondered how much it will also cost you to have the same kind of satisfaction? The ‘Price of Happiness’ study tells us more about that.

The Price of Happiness is a study by Expensivity, an online platform that specialises in all things money and finance. In one of their articles, they discuss the cost of living in most of the world’s countries and territories using Purdue University’s research on happiness and satiation points. With it, they determined the amount of money residents of each nation require to reach a certain level of satisfaction or happiness.

“A reliable, comfortable income salves your worries and just makes life easier,” said the website. “Poverty is stressful and leaves long-term damage. The illusion that wealth is meritocratic deprives low-earners of their self-esteem. This is why the money it takes to make you happy can be counted in the tens-of-thousands, rather than the millions.”

Also read: Finland Is the World’s Happiest Country for Four Years in a Row

Southeast Asia residents, from needing the least to most money

Over a hundred countries were examined throughout the study, but let’s first take a look at Southeast Asia. In the region, Laos residents appear to have the lowest price of happiness than most of its neighbours with an average satiation point of US$21,041 or about ₭201,000,000. Below is the rest of the ranking for eight other nations in Southeast Asia.

1. Laos – US$21,041
2. Vietnam – US$22,580
3. Indonesia – US$23,512
4. Cambodia – US$25,195
5. Malaysia – US$27,591
6. Philippines – US$28,264
7. Thailand – US$29,270
8. Singapore – US$46,078

Unfortunately, the data failed to cover Brunei, Myanmar, and Timor-Leste. Nonetheless, it’s clear that residents of Singapore require the most money to be happy to a large degree. This is no surprise considering the high cost of living in the Lion City. The combined point of maximum satisfaction in Southeast Asia and South Asia, however, falls below the global average US$85,000 per country, Expensivity added.

In contrast, both regions are surrounded by countries with a significantly high standard of happiness. Residents of Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, for example, need US$135,321 and US$128,844 to be happy, respectively. On the other hand, Japan residents need at least US$107,587, the highest in the East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia regions. Pakistan has the least at just US$15,643. Note that all numbers are on an annual basis.

Also read: Budget-Friendly Countries to Explore in Asia for Your Next Adventure

Cost of Living Around the World

Laos, the country with the lowest price of happiness in Southeast Asia, and Australia, the country with the highest price of happiness in Oceania | Image credit (L-R): NguyenDo; Dan Freeman

Other things to know about the Price of Happiness study results

The same study revealed that the countries where happiness comes at an incredibly high cost are mostly found in Europe and North America. Ranked from most to least affordable happiness requirements, these countries are: Bermuda, Australia, Israel, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, Japan, Iceland, and the United States of America.

On the other end of the spectrum, Suriname in South America has a low average cost of living, which means its residents only need a small amount of money to be happy compared to the rest of the world. After that, there’s Argentina, Angola, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Nicaragua.

Expensivity shared that to achieve as close to accurate results per country as possible, they adjusted the dollar figures from Purdue University’s data with the help of the World Bank’s Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) conversion factor and TheGlobalEconomy’s currency exchange rate. “Finally, we used cost of living data from Numbeo to adjust national level estimates of satiation points to the city level,” the website said.

Do you agree with the data?

Facebook featured image: Focuszaa | Pixabay

About Author

Joser Ferreras
Joser Ferreras

Joser is a senior writer for TripZilla based in Manila, Philippines. He mostly covers travel, people, and business.