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Want to be happy in London? Just earn £79,524 a year, claims new research

If you want to be as happy as possible in London, you’ll need to  earn £79,524 a year — that’s according to new research based on an influential study into the relationship between money and happiness (Chris Radburn/PA) (PA Media)
If you want to be as happy as possible in London, you’ll need to earn £79,524 a year — that’s according to new research based on an influential study into the relationship between money and happiness (Chris Radburn/PA) (PA Media)

If you want to be as happy as possible in London, you’ll need to earn £79,524 a year — that’s according to new research based on an influential study into the relationship between money and happiness.

New research from currency exchange platform S Money built upon on Purdue University’s oft-cited “Happiness Premium” study, which found that happiness increases with earnings up to a certain point, above which making more money no longer has a significant impact. By adjusting the findings of the study for regional currency and cost-of-living differences, S Money now claims to have worked out the happiness premium for a number of major cities, including London.

It found that the point where happiness plateaus in London is just short of the £80,000 a year mark.

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That makes London the most expensive UK city to be happy in, ahead of second-placed Cambridge by about £5,000. Happiness is cheapest in Leicester and Dundee.

S-Money graph on the price of happiness in the UK (S-Money)
S-Money graph on the price of happiness in the UK (S-Money)

The price of happiness in the UK as a whole is slightly above average at £69,000. That’s ahead of nearby countries like France and Germany, but behind most other rich English-speaking nations, such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

S Money noted that, given high levels of wealth inequality in the capital, “happiness (or the peace of mind required to achieve it) is permanently out of the grasp for most Londoners”.

“Money can’t buy us happiness,” said Marc Schulz, associate director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, “but it’s a tool that can give us security and safety and a sense of control over our lives.

“At the end of the day, life is really about our connections with others. It’s our relationships that keep us happy.”