How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy in London?

You need to earn this much to be happy in London, apparently

Discover the exact income threshold for happiness in London and other UK cities. Find out if money can truly buy happiness and explore the impact of social relationships on your well-being.

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 no one, London living comes with the highest price tag.

The ‘Happiness Premium’: Can Money Really Buy Happiness?

Researchers have delved into the relationship between money and well-being in a world where financial success is often equated with happiness. But can money truly buy happiness? Let’s explore this intriguing question.

How Researchers Calculated the ‘Happiness Premium’

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.

You need to earn this much to be happy in London, apparently

The London Labyrinth: A Pricey Pursuit of Happiness

Alright, it’s 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 per cent of earners in the capital. Sorry to anyone making £79,523, you’re out of luck. Enjoy being miserable.

The Elusive Happiness for Londoners

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’.

Affordable Happiness: Other UK Cities

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.

Beyond Money: The True Source of Happiness

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.’

Social Capital: The Key to Genuine Joy

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.


Money may not be able to buy you love, but it has a role in your happiness. Understanding the ‘happiness premium’ and the impact of social relationships can help you navigate the complex relationship between money and well-being. So, while the pursuit of happiness may have a price tag, it’s clear that genuine joy extends far beyond your bank account.

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