Shouldn’t living happily be one of the things you plan and work for, along with your financial security?
After all, most of us are planning, saving and investing to achieve specific goals like buying a house, or educating a child, or having a financially comfortable retirement because we believe that achieving this goal will make us happy. But is it enough?
While there is no argument that having enough money can make you feel happy, what are the other factors that affect happiness? What can you do to get the best out of your own situation?
The study, which surveyed 136,000 people in more than 130 countries (that accounts for about 96 per cent of the world’s population), (*1) concluded that ‘more than money is needed for quality of life.’
The study also found that while people who are relatively well-off tended to feel more satisfied with their way of life, they were not more likely to experience feelings of personal happiness or well-being.
So if you are already working hard to maximise your income and your savings, how can you maximise the other aspects of your life such as your general well-being and invest in a little happiness?
Here are a few strategies you might try:
- Don’t make work your life. Look for a work–life balance that includes time for yourself, your family and your friends. The latest survey on happiness suggests that social and psychological factors like being treated with respect or having friends and family, are vital for happiness. *2
- Take care of your brain and your body. A comparison of world life expectancy ranks Australia in the top 4 longest-living people on earth at 79 years for men and 84 years for women. But what is the point of living longer if you don’t have the physical strength and mental agility to enjoy it! Scientists have shown that moderate daily exercise not only strengthens the muscles and builds energy levels, but also stimulates the blood supply to the brain and helps keeps mental deterioration at bay. *3
- Know yourself and understand what you really want out of life. Should you take a more stressful job if it brings in more money? Dr Caroline West of the University of Sydney suggests that you should only take such a job if you are an ambitious and competitive person, but if you are a person who enjoys living in the moment, you should consider declining it. *4
- Spend money on experiences, not objects. Dr West also advises that enjoyable experiences (holidays, learning a new skill or hobby, or enrolling in a new social group or club), deliver longer lasting happiness than objects like a new car or plasma TV, where the thrill soon wears off.
A successful investment strategy needs clear goals and well thought out strategies to achieve them. Isn’t happiness worth this kind of input too? Talk with an ipac adviser today!
1. University of Illinois, 2010, reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, July 10, 2010. www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/money-not-the-key-to-happiness-20100709-1041y.html
3. Shephard, R. J. (1998). Aging and Exercise. In: Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science
4. Sydney Morning Herald, July 10, 2010. Dr West’s new book “On Happiness” will be published in 2011