The link between earnings and happiness is a tenuous one

You are currently viewing The link between earnings and happiness is a tenuous one

Jason Butler FEBRUARY 7, 2018 Financial Times

What is the link between earnings and happiness?  The FT said in a report in 2019, according to research, “genes and personality influence about 50 per cent of how happy we feel, the balance is influenced by our health, employment and relationships.”

Work can give us purpose and our identity, explaining why people who lose their jobs can also lose their self esteem.

We have noticed an increase in happiness, or well-being – see our section on this – is this because of rising levels of employment (despite falling wages)?

How many times do we hear that people retire, then die shortly afterwards? Also, The FT reported that Reg Buttress died late last year — just two months after he retired after 36 years working for the supermarket J Sainsbury.

We believe that the amount of your income does matter, but only to afford a “comfortable” lifestyle. Beyond this, happiness seems to plateau.

Not surprisingly (based on a recent survey by Sun Life) the amount of household surplus monthly income seems to affect overall happiness. The happiest 10 per cent of people lived in households with surplus monthly income of £841 per month, about £28 per day.

The average UK household surplus income is just under £15 per day, so reducing household spending by £13 a day would generate enough of a surplus to put the average household in the happiest category.

We are also affected by how much we earn compared to our peers. 

Global research shows that the happiest people tend to work between 35 and 44 hours a week in a job which has a very high fit to their personality type.

So earning big money doing a job that you don’t like and which doesn’t suit you isn’t a recipe for happiness. Recent research showed that gardeners and florists were found to be the happiest occupations, whereas bankers and IT workers were found to be the least happy. 

For more information look at JobDrive

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