The price of happiness
How much money do you need after bills to be happy? Recent research suggests we are not at all happy!
Gross National happiness (GNH) The phrase was devised as a signal of commitment to creating an economy that would serve Bhutan’s culture based on Buddhist spiritual values instead of the western material development that was represented by gross domestic product (GDP).
When I were a lad!
Baby Boomers who lived through the sixties will relate stories of how there was so much to do for young people who could go out all night eat, drink, watch a movie and still have change to catch the bus home.
Many may argue the flower power generation, were not really investing in property. Statistically in UK from 1953 ownership started to increase at a faster rate than in previous decades and by 1971 there was an equal percentage of households owning and renting. Ownership continued to increase, reaching a peak of 69% in 2001, however in the last decade it has fallen to 64%. Added to that; inflation, and as we are led to believe by our folks that things were generally cheaper.
Regardless of what you do with your money; happiness comes from expendable income, cash to spend frivolously.
The best seller; ’The Richest Man in Babylon’ told readers to create wealth you must spend 10% of what you earn frivolously, because believe it or not, you will by nature anyway, so don’t argue with yourself.
Many self-help Gurus tell you to share your earnings into pots, and the first pot is your 10% play pot to blow on whatever you fancy, and it works for so many people.
If you are not left with around 10% of all you earn to spend as you wish with no guilt, they you are according to all research not at all happy!
Yet it seems that mid 2010’s that most Britons are struggling for that elusive 10% expendable income left after gross salary
Sun Life reports that in their research the average British worker is left with 1,970 GBP on average after taxes and National Insurance, the average mortgage/rent is around 433 pounds and they pay around 370 pounds each month on loans and credit cards.
Cause and Effect
Seems Credit card companies and the banks feed on that 10% that you will spend on yourself to try to maintain that 10% expendable level of happiness and hope you can pay it back in the future, which, as we all have recently learned lands people and even countries who are steeped in philosophy and education in really hot water!
On top of the above bills are the general living costs like; food, clothing, transport etc. Subsequently the research found that we are left with around 166 pounds left each month per adult, way less than the near 200 quid you need. If you have a large family you will struggle, as this is well less than the 10% happiness buffer needed.
The East has caught up
Many economists used the Burger as a yard stick to gauge how long a person has to work in different countries, with MacDonald’s flagging sales, I am not so sure this is still relevant today, but purely for interest sake:
A Big Mac in London currently costs 2.89
Based on a 25 day working month and 8 hours a day the average British worker has earned 9 pound. 50p an hour after tax, so based on the above price of a Big Mac they could buy 3 Big Macs and maybe small fries for one hours work.
In Bangkok Thailand:
The average monthly earnings for Thai people is around 13,000 THB (Currently 239 pounds) they pay very little tax, and therefore have a very limited welfare policy, and rely heavily on strong family values to take care of the elderly.
Based on 25 days and 8 hours they receive 65 THB per hour (About 1 pound 20p)
A Big Mac in Bangkok is currently 140 THB (2.Pound 50p)
So it takes Thais around two hours to earn one Big Mac.
BUT as I said the burger economy is hardly relevant anymore, as Thais would rather eat a rice dish or noodles loaded with vegetables and meat, and is far more nourishing and at around 55 THB (1 Pound) for a good meal and coke or soda drink. Is it any wonder Macs are struggling!
So they can earn a decent meal for one hours work.
Whereas in the UK; a decent meal in say Morrison’s Supermarket with a drink will be around 6 .50 Pounds, so the average Briton will work around 45 minutes for one meal and a drink.
Point is; the gap between what Asians earn and what Europeans earn has slowly closed over the last few decades. Thais will be generally happier, based on their expendable income, decent weather, cheaper food, petrol, and affordable housing, sadly however they are very prone to Credit Card debt with the Westernization of the East, but that’s another blog for another day.
One reason the owners of Biz-find live in the sunshine.
If you can avoid the credit card trap and try to distance yourself from what you want and what you need, and take the advice of our elders and to save and buy what we need, then you can be building yourself a better future, and happiness.