Money alone might not buy happiness

Money alone might not buy happiness

This article refers to a presentation I gave just the other day in which I was asked to comment, at an AMP business lunch, on the findings of a report looking into the relationships between happiness, life satisfaction, money, marriage, employment status and a range of other factors…

It’s almost 50 years since social critic Donald Horne labelled Australia “the lucky country”.

We could just as easily be called the happy country in 2010, according to the latest AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report.

Compared with other OECD countries, Australia ranks equal third with the United States and Sweden in overall life satisfaction.

Australia has an average score of 7.9 out of 10, beaten only by Ireland, Norway and Denmark – which rank equal first.

Finland and Canada also topped Australia, coming equal second.

A strong local economy and the natural optimism of Australians has gone a long way towards boosting satisfaction levels, says AMP Financial Services managing director Craig Meller.

“As a nation we managed our way out of a recession well before our global peers, not only because of good economic management but also because of our optimistic outlook on life that has seen us through the tough times,” Mr Meller said on Thursday.

The report, titled The Pursuit of Happiness, also found having children may increase happiness.

And the more the better.

Fully 40 per cent of people aged 30 and above with four or more children are very satisfied with their life overall, compared with 28 per cent of people with one child, and 27 per cent with no children.

But the high incidence of divorce is taking its toll on family relationships.

About 30 per cent of parents reported being dissatisfied or not so satisfied with stepchildren, compared to about 10 per cent of parents who are not so satisfied with their own children.

Being financially well off can lead to greater happiness, but wealth alone does not guarantee happiness, says Tim Sharp, founder of the Happiness Institute.

“The happiest people in the world have a clearer sense of life purpose,” he said at the launch of the report’s findings in Sydney.

“They have a clearer sense of who they are.

“Who they want to be. What they want to achieve, and how they are going to get there.”

When people have children, Dr Sharp says, “it broadens our perspective on life”.

“It provides a meaning and purpose above me as an individual.”

Meanwhile, a buddy is essential at work.

“One of the questions that undoubtedly goes towards happiness at work is a positive response to the question, do you have at least one person in the workplace who you consider a friend,” Dr Sharp says.

“Someone who you can chat to, even on an informal basis.

“There’s no doubt that people who have that sort of relationship in the workplace, and also no doubt that people who have that sort of support in their personal life, are happier and healthier.

“We know that social support is important for positive emotions. It also buffers us against stress and depression – it provides an important component of resilience.”

See Belinda Cranston’s full article from the Brisbane Times…HERE