It’s World Happiness Day! How Does Income Relate To Happiness? | Vietcetera
Billboard banner
Mar 20, 2024

It’s World Happiness Day! How Does Income Relate To Happiness?

Data shows that Vietnamese need to earn $34,682 per annum or at least $2,890 per month to be happy.
It’s World Happiness Day! How Does Income Relate To Happiness?

Source: Vietcetera

Happiness is a universal pursuit, but what exactly makes us happy? Or rather, in this context, how much does happiness cost?

Senior admin staff Lan Anh’s monthly net salary ranges from VND20-23 million, and she has been doing the job for the last three years. It’s a family friend’s business, so she earned a little more than usual when she started.

“My father’s childhood friend opened a business and asked me to lead the admin side, I was earning less than 12 million in my previous job but started at VND15 million here,” she told Vietcetera. “My present salary varies monthly since we get a share of the customer tips.”

When asked if she was happy with her income, the 25-year-old Saigonese said, “Definitely! I’m still single and my workplace is only a 5-minute drive away from home, plus we have weekends to ourselves. I get to travel sometimes and save a lot for my future.”

Lan Anh revealed in 2-3 years, she’ll be able to afford to buy her dream 2-bedroom condo unit.

“I am not rich, but my job is a healthy place with respectful people, and I get to keep almost half for bank savings, I’m proud to say I am living a happy and contented life. And did I mention I’m expecting a 10% increase in the second half?”

What’s the price of happiness?

Source: S-Money

Recent research sheds light on the connection between income and happiness, revealing intriguing insights into the pursuit of joy. A study conducted by Purdue University, titled “Happiness, income satiation and turning points around the world,” delved into the relationship between income levels and life satisfaction across different regions.

The study identified the satiation point for Life Evaluation (LE), which is the income threshold at which further income increases cease to significantly impact an individual’s happiness. In simpler terms, it’s the point where money no longer buys more happiness. To grasp the significance of these findings, let’s examine the data specific to Vietnam.

In 2021, the ideal salary for happiness in Vietnam was determined to be $22,580 (519,740,000) annually or at least $1,900 (43,700,000) per month. However, a stark contrast exists between this ideal figure and the reality of minimum wage levels across different regions of Vietnam. The current monthly minimum wage in Vietnam varies depending on the region, ranging from VND 3.07 million to VND 4.42 million.

The latest data from the same survey shows a significant increase in the ideal income for happiness in major Vietnamese cities. In Ho Chi Minh City, the ideal annual income for happiness rose to $36,139 (VND831,397,000), while Hanoi followed closely at $35,362 (VND813,626,000). Despite these increases, the gap between the ideal income and actual minimum wage levels remains substantial.

Breaking down the figures further, we anticipate variations in the average wage income across different regions of Vietnam based on the projected new minimum wage set to be implemented in July 2024. In the Northern region, the estimated average monthly income is expected to be around VND 4,960,800, equivalent to approximately $203.87, while in the Southern region, it is projected to be around VND 3,858,400, roughly $158.57.

These anticipated disparities underscore the complex interplay between income levels and regional economic dynamics, providing insight into the ongoing challenges faced by individuals in different parts of the country.

As for Lan Anh, despite not having the ‘right’ amount of salary to be happy according to the survey, her lifestyle and environment keep her fulfilled. “We have a different definition of happiness, and yes, I’d be a lot happier with a lot of money, but life will balance it out with things I can’t control. Right now, I can sleep well at night and live well in the morning, and that's what matters.”

Also Read: This International Day Of Happiness, Vietnam’s Baby Boomers Open Up About What Gives Them Joy

It’s fascinating to note that the cost of happiness varies significantly globally. For instance, Iran boasts the highest cost of happiness worldwide, requiring an annual income of $239,700. Conversely, happiness is most affordable in Sierra Leone, Africa, where an income of just $8,658 is sufficient to reach optimal levels.

As we celebrate World Happiness Day, let’s ponder these findings and endeavor to cultivate a life brimming with authentic joy, regardless of our financial situation. And remember that while money can indeed contribute to happiness, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. True happiness emanates from within, rooted in our thoughts, emotions, and relationships, far beyond the confines of our bank balances.