Paying the cost to be your own boss

Entrepreneurs insist money really can't buy happiness. Although bankers might beg to differ.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

We’ve never been entirely convinced by the old cliché ‘money can’t buy happiness’ (maybe not, but it certainly helps). However, perhaps it does ring true for entrepreneurs: contrary to the Delboy sterotype, a new survey suggests that most are more interested in being their own boss and improving their work-life balance than in pocketing a massive salary. Although we imagine that all three would be the ideal scenario…

According to the survey, by Barclays, entrepreneurs’ salary requirements are surprisingly modest – on average, they’d be happy to take home about £40,000 a year. And while there’s no way most small business owners could ever be described as greedy, we’re still slightly surprised that one in five said they’d be content with a relatively modest £15,000 salary. So what’s more important than cash? Well, work-life balance, for a start – 42% of said they started up because they thought it would give them more control over how they balance their work and personal lives.

It’s a very different story for those much-maligned City types, however, who never stop complaining about the financial hardships they’re being forced to endure these days. After bonus taxes and the 50p tax band, the latest threat to their ‘hard-earned’ wealth is the rise in CGT, which will affect those of them with shares and second homes. (We know, it’s heart-rending.)

One of the most frequent refrains from the City lately has been that a tax clamp-down will drive all these poor bankers to Switzerland. But another new survey, by recruiter Selby Jennings, suggests that this may not solve their problems - since even after tax, British bankers apparently still earn twice as much as their Swiss counterparts. ‘In reality there are relatively few senior banking roles in Switzerland paying over £150,000,’ says Selby Jennings managing director Adam Buck. ‘London and New York are the only markets large enough to offer those roles in significant quantity.’ (though this sounds slightly circular to us – presumably that won’t be the case if more banks relocate there).

Either way, perhaps all these poor bankers should think about starting a business instead. They might stop worrying about money so much - and there's nothing like a bit of actual value creation to rehabilitate the reputation...

In today's bulletin:

Inflation soars - and Mandelson pledges for the chop?,
BA gets temporary respite as court blocks strike
Vodafone rings in the profits as emerging markets flourish
Paying the cost to be your own boss
Graduates get the right of reply

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