How much money do people in France need to live well?

What is the role of money in well-being and how much do people need on average, new poll asks

66% of people in France said they think about money regularly, the poll found
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People in France who responded to a new poll say they would ideally need €897 extra per month on average to ‘live well’.

Almost one in five people polled (19%) said they would need €1,000 a month more than they currently earn to live well, said the poll* by l'Observatoire Société et Consommation (ObSoCo) for online bank BforBank.

What is ‘financial well-being’?

Over a quarter (27%) said that they defined ‘financial well-being’ as being able to meet their fundamental needs, while 23% said it would mean not having any money problems. A further 18% said that it would mean they could give themselves ‘little pleasures’ in life.

"’Financial well-being' means different things depending on individuals and personal situations,” said Agnès Crozet, deputy director general of ObSoCo. 

“However, the study reveals that it is linked above all to a feeling of control: the regularity of income and the ability to cope with unforeseen events, rather than a question of income level.”

Read also: How much money do you need for a ‘decent life’ in France?

Is there an ideal income level?

Not according to this study. Instead, it showed that rather than a definite amount per month, the extra amount that people felt they needed per month is “proportional to their current level of income”. 

Put simply, this means that the more people already have, the more they feel they need.

  • Households earning between €1,500 and €2,000 a month said they needed an extra €751

  • While those earning more than €6,000 said they needed an extra €1,369 

Age, geography, gender, and children had an impact too.

  • 55-64 year-olds felt they needed €1,014 extra

  • Families with children said €1,077

  • Residents of the Paris region needed €1,044

  • Men wanted €943 extra, while women said €852

How often do people think about money?

Money is also a subject that preoccupies people in France considerably, the poll showed.

  • 66% said they think about money regularly

  • 20% think about it every day or almost every day

Again, age and family situation made a difference. 

  • 31% of people aged 18-24 think about money daily 

  • 28% of single-parent families think about money everyday

The dominant feeling when thinking about money was stress (28%), especially among single-parent families (47%).

The great taboo?

Thinking about it and talking about it are two different things, however. 

While 89% talk about money easily with their partner, considerably fewer (68%) feel free to talk about it with their parents or children. Just 55% said they felt they could talk about it with friends, and only 41% felt comfortable talking about money with work colleagues.

Read also: French expressions about money: Should I use 'thunes' or 'argent'? 

How important is money to well-being?

More than three in four people in France (76%) said that they believe that their financial situation contributes directly to their well-being. 

However, 68% of French people feel ‘general well-being’, and more than half of those surveyed (55%) said that they are satisfied with their current life, despite many feeling that they need more money and thinking about money regularly.

*ObSoCo study for BforBank, conducted from August 21 to 30, 2023 among a sample of 2,000 people representative of the population of France aged 18 to 75.