This paper explores factors affecting individual goal satisfaction in Bangladesh and Thailand. Analysing the determinants of goal satisfaction in two countries at different levels of development enables the paper to address the broader question of whether the common practice of classifying goals as 'universal' (e.g. health) or 'local' (e.g. community relationships) has any empirical support. The study uses data from communities in Thailand and Bangladesh that were researched from 2002 to 2007 by the Economic and Social Research Council's Wellbeing in Developing Countries Research Group at the University of Bath. Results from the study based on regression analysis show that universal and local goals have the same determinants, supporting the view that they are interdependent. The implications of this finding are that both types of goals should be given equal priority and need to be taken into account to better understand people's wellbeing. This finding is, however, moderated by the second finding of the paper, which is that socio-economic variables and the extent of need satisfaction play different roles in explaining goal satisfaction in countries at different stages of development. For example, whilst in Bangladesh wealth only contributes to goal satisfaction if it increases needs satisfaction, in Thailand it has an independent effect. The implications of both findings for global frameworks such as the Millennium Development Goals are addressed in the conclusions.