From the SCMP, a survey by Royal Skandia claims that HKers need to earn at least HK$1.5 million (that’s roughly US$195,000) per year (HK$125,000 per month) in order to be happy. “The survey also showed more than 80 per cent of Hongkongers believed a certain level of income could bring them happiness.”
The SCMP finds a government statistic stating that only 4.2% of people in HK earn over HK$60,000 per month. No stats provided on how many earn over $125k. 1%? 2%? The average Hong Kong salary is $12,800 (US$1,664) per month.
And while it’s probably an easy call that more than 4.2% of people in Hong Kong are happy, I kind of know what they mean.
Here’s one way to look at it. Assume you are going to spend 25% of your monthly income on rent. That’s roughly HK$3,000 per month for someone with an average salary. What will that get you? Looking at GoHome, you can get a 150 square foot flat in Fanling for $2,800 a month. The same price might bring you 435 square feet in Sheung Shui. $3,000 a month will get you 250 square feet in Yuen Long or 100 square feet in Fanling. A monthly car park space in Central can cost more than $3,000 a month. Go up to $3,900 a month and you can get 120 square feet in Sheung Wan. The princely sum of $5,000 a month will net you 114 square feet in Tseung Kwan O.
In 1929, Blind Afred Reed wrote a song called How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live. (I know it via Ry Cooder’s version.) What was true then is even truer today.