The total cost of living a good life of 700,000 hours (the average life expectancy in Canada and the US) is approximately $2,560,000. A living wage or a happiness wage is roughly $20.00 per hour or $37,500 per person, working from age 19 to 65 for total of 88,320 hours (12.6% of your life-time hours). $2.56 million is what it costs to raise a child to 17 years of age, live a full adult life and enjoy a good retirement after 65 years of age until your death about 80 years. 

According to some economists the estimated happiness household income in the US is about $75,000 for a typical household. That is the income threshold for a typical household of two adults + (children or not) beyond which more income does not translate into statistically higher levels of self-rated happiness. 

$75,000 per annum converts to about $20/hour in living wages per working couple in a household assuming about 238 working days (weekends off, 11 days stat holidays, 10 days of vacation).

If you worked from age 19 to 65 earning the same inflation-adjusted living wage you would earn $1,766,000 in total income.

The cost of living from birth to 18 is estimated at $250,000 and the cost of living in retirement (65 to 80) is $343,000. This would bring to total cost of a good life to $2.36 million (a little higher than my original $2.1 million estimate).

However, considering that interest costs on all levels of household, government, and business debt (including financial institutions) that now exceed $77 trillion, an estimated 74% of average household income in 2019 went to pay for hidden interest costs in everything you buy, including taxes. If interest costs were removed from the cost of living and thus wages the real cost of a happy life (that still includes paying taxes) would total about $743,000.

If you take $743,000 in the adjusted real cost of a good life of 700,000 hours this would amount to a life-time hourly cost of $1.06 per hour of inflation-adjusted value.

1 Comment

  • Jacob says:

    I personally think that these numbers are off base and think that the value of a house is a great measure of value.

    Here is my math.

    Man in Calgary in 1950’s takes home $6,000.00 per year.
    House in Calgary in the 1950’s was worth $12,000.00.
    A man would make half of a house per year, which enabled him to pay it off in five years or less. (ratio 1/2)

    Man in Calgary in 2020’s takes home $58,000 per year.
    House in Calgary in the 2020’s was worth $506,685.00. (ratio 1/8)

    To make half of one house a man would need to make $253 342.50 or $133.06 per hour to be equivalent to what a happy single income earner in 1950 was bringing home with no tax taken into account.

    In short $20.00 dollars per hour will not bring about happiness but will barely meet the bills and is a very far cry from $133.06 per hour.

    We are in dire need of debt forgiveness and the colonial system of mortgage makes people very over burdened as wages collapse and the cost of living increases.

    The Alberta Monetary Authority recommends Debt Jubilee, Local and national currencies issued by treasuries. Foreign banks are barred from the creation of our currencies and punished for bringing injury to the people.

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