How much money for a decent life?

How much money does an individual have to earn, in order to live a decent life? In order to answer this question, let's define at first, what "decent life"is and make some assumptions.

Let's assume, that the person lives in Berlin of our time (2010) and define "decent life" the situation, where the person can do the average activities: pay its essential bills (taxes, decent apartment, health insurance), can save some money and expect a decent pension, raise a child. Please note, that the following estimates are just empirical and are not yielded by a statistical and systematic research.

Now, let's check the essentials:

  1. Let's define the average health insurance as the minimum of a freelancer: 340€.
  2. If the person wants a pension of 1400€ from 67, then it should pay maybe 700€ per month.
  3. Let's estimate an apartment with 2 rooms in Berlin at 500€.
  4. Say the person needs 200€ on average for clothing and food and 200€ for one more person (e.g. a child).
  5. Estimate 100€ for entertainment.
  6. And add 50€ on average for extras.
  7. How much to save? Let's put 500€ per month.

Assume, that the person has no car. Till this point we have just costs of a total of 2590€. In order to have this as net income, let's say approximately, that the gross income (with no taxes) should be probably 3500€. However, in this case the health insurance contribution is maybe almost the double one. But let's assume, that it remains 340€.

Now, in order to come to this sum, if you work 8 hours a day, you should earn 22€ per hour. But 8 hours a day is not always the case for a freelancer. In order to come to this amount of work time, she has to work 4-5 hours extra for advertisement, PR, book keeping etc, i.e. 14 hours a day. If we assume, that the freelancer works 4 hours a day just for the money (i.e. no book keeping, PR, etc), then she should demand 44€ per hour (we assume, that no preparation for the work or after-work is needed). But this implies, that the target group of possible clients becomes extremely small...

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