NEWS

National Living Wage: How Much Do You Need To Earn To Live Comfortably?

Their answers were surprisingly varied.

01/04/2016 07:32

How much money would you need to be paid to be happy?

From 1 April, the Government is introducing a new 'national living wage' meaning that everyone over 25 must be paid at least £7.20 an hour - the equivilent of around £15,000 a year.

It's essentially a rise in the minimum wage, as employers legally have to pay it, but the government has decided to rename it a 'living' wage to reflect the fact that it's a significant boost to the previous minimum wage of £6.70 an hour.

But is it enough?

The Huffington Post UK went to the streets of London - where the cost of living is higher than anywhere else in the UK - and asked people what they think they'd need to earn to live comfortably.

HuffPost UK
Views varied on how much money equals happiness

Answers in the video above ranged from £15,000 to four times that, and the 11 people we asked also had different ideas of what a 'living wage' means.

"I definitely need over thirty thousand," one Londoner said, while another thought he'd need "about £60,000 a year, minimum".

To one person who earned £20,000 a year, a living wage means an amount that will "cover all your costs in life, your rent, your food, and the ability to spend time in a park rather than spending your entire time at work."

Another said a living wage was "something that you can comfortably sustain yourself on" as well as having a "life" beyond simply paying for food and bills.

HuffPost UK
'I'd say twenty-five grand'

One woman added that to her a living wage meant: "I can use all of the things that we've come to rely on in terms of technology. So it may not be that you're not starving, but if you can't access the internet, you can't find jobs, you know?

"It can be really hard to get by without a phone, without internet. So I think the meaning of [a living wage] has changed a lot."

HuffPost UK
'A living wage means that I need a certain amount of money to keep me going.'

In 2014, British entrepreneur Simon Cohen gave away his £1 million company because he believed people only need £30,000 a year to comfortable.

He told HuffPost UK he calculated that £30,000 is the ideal amount for a person to earn: “It’s the highest amount where levels of happiness and levels of earning have a direct relationship. After that, levels of happiness just plateau.

“Someone once said that happiness lies not in having what you want but in wanting what you have. And I’m a happy man. I’ve got my basic human needs met; my wife and children won’t go hungry, so why take more?"

The Government's new national living wage is not related to the existing living wage promoted by the Living Wage Foundation - a rate calculated by scientists in relation to the cost of living.

The national living wage is calculated on median earnings, and will ensure everyone in the UK is paid at least 55% of the median wage. 

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