Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you happiness. Sort of. In an only slightly dystopian study, researchers have calculated the exact amount of cash you need to be making to be happy while living in London and other UK cities. In a shock to absolutely no one, London living comes with the highest price tag.
To find the cost of joy in each city, S Money borrowed information from Purdue University’s popular study on the relationship between money and happiness, which finds that a greater income generally improves people’s moods – but only to a certain point, which they refer to as the ‘happiness premium’. Past this critical point, the correlation between increased satisfaction and increased salary massively dwindles. With this in mind, they calculated what that tipping point is across the country.
Alright, time to crunch some numbers. To enjoy your life in London with carefree abandon you need to be making a grand total of £79,524 a year, which is roughly the top 10 percent of earners in the capital. Sorry to anyone making £79,523, you’re out of luck. Enjoy being miserable.
S Money referenced the disparity between the amount required to remain in high-spirits and the average annual income, only £37,000, noting that, ‘happiness (or the peace of mind required to achieve it) is permanently out of the grasp for most Londoners’.
The cheapest happiness premium in the UK is in Leicester, where a salary of only £61,117 will keep you content. Pennies, really. Other pricey places include Cambridge, Guildford, Brighton, Bristol, and Oxford, all with premiums over £70,000.
If you’re left feeling dejected after all of this, don’t stress. Studies suggest a much stronger correlation between happiness and how people spend their money, rather than how much they have, with experiences being a better investment than objects. Harvard researchers also suggest that, ‘the quality of our social relationships is a strong determinant of our happiness.’
So if you’re feeling down, going and making a new friend is the most surefire way to boost that mood. Especially if that friend is rich. Extra points if you can get them to take you on a holiday.
Did you see that London is getting the world's first air fryer restaurant?
Listen to Time Out’s brilliant new podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: episode seven with Big Zuu in Oxford Circus is out now.
Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out London newsletter for the best of the city, straight to your inbox.