Income needed to feel financially secure in 9 countries

How much annual income would you need to feel financially secure?

Your answer probably depends on a litany of factors, including how much debt you have, how much you have saved for an emergency, and whether or not you have children.

Another major factor: the country in which you live.

Consider the responses to CNBC’s International Financial Security of Your Money survey conducted by SurveyMonkey. Adults in the United States and eight other countries were asked how much money, at minimum, they would need to earn to feel financially secure and could choose from four levels of annual income.

For American respondents, these amounts were $50,000, $100,000, $500,000 and $1 million. Residents of other countries received roughly analogous levels in their national currencies. Respondents might also indicate that they will never feel financially secure.

As part of its efforts for National Financial Literacy Month, CNBC will feature stories throughout the month dedicated to helping people manage, grow and protect their money so they can truly live ambitiously.

Here’s how much money people around the world say they need to earn each year to feel financially secure.


  • $50,000: 33%
  • $100,000: 43%
  • $500,000: 13%
  • $1,000,000: 3%
  • I will never feel financially secure: 8%

United Kingdom

  • £50,000: 64%
  • £100,000: 19%
  • £500,000: 4%
  • £1,000,000: 3%
  • I will never feel financially secure: ten%


  • €50,000: 53%
  • €100,000: 29%
  • €500,000: 9%
  • €1,000,000: 1%
  • I will never feel financially secure: 9%


  • €50,000: 45%
  • €100,000: 30%
  • €500,000: 13%
  • €1,000,000: 4%
  • I will never feel financially secure: 8%


  • €50,000: 57%
  • €100,000: 27%
  • €500,000: 8%
  • €1,000,000 3%
  • I will never feel financially secure: 5%

Switzerland (Swiss Franc)

  • ₣50,000: 20%
  • ₣100,000: 54%
  • ₣500,000: 16%
  • ₣1,000,000: 3%
  • I will never feel financially secure: 7%

Singapore (Singapore Dollar)

  • $50,000: 12%
  • $100,000: 31%
  • $500,000: 30%
  • $1,000,000: 22%
  • I will never feel financially secure: 4%

Australia (Australian dollar)

  • $50,000: 26%
  • $100,000: 50%
  • $500,000: 14%
  • $1,000,000: 2%
  • I will never feel financially secure: 9%

Mexico (peso)

  • $500,000: 46%
  • $1,000,000: 25%
  • $5,000,000: 13%
  • $10,000,000: 8%
  • I will never feel financially secure: 8%

Different attitudes towards financial security

Naturally, the survey data presents an incomplete picture of what financial security looks like across countries. After all, 100,000 US dollars is not the same as 100,000 Singapore dollars or 100,000 Swiss francs. The cost of living and average salaries also vary from country to country.

Furthermore, the salaries offered do not leave much room for nuance; someone who doesn’t feel secure with $100,000 may not need to quintuple the amount to get there.

However, a few trends stand out. UK residents were most likely, at 64%, to feel financially secure with the lowest salary band on offer. A majority of people surveyed in Spain and Germany feel the same way.

Meanwhile, the majority of Singaporeans surveyed said they would only feel safe in the highest salary brackets. Some 30% said they would need the equivalent of US$370,231 to feel stable, and 22% said they would need $740,462 a year.

These numbers likely reflect differences in salary and cost of living, but no matter where you’re from, it seems like there’s a good chance your finances are somewhat shaky. With the exception of Mexico, the majority of respondents in every country surveyed reported living paycheck to paycheck.

On the bright side, no more than 10% of respondents in any country said they would never feel financially secure. No matter where you come from, it seems, there is a general feeling that you can get by financially.

Singapore Dollar to USD conversions were made using the OANDA conversion rate of 1 SGD to 0.74 USD on 2 April 2024. All amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar.

Want to earn extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to earn passive income online to learn more about common passive income streams, tips for getting started, and real-life success stories. Sign up today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

More, sign up for the CNBC Make It newsletter for tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.


Back to top button