Why are some Aussies able to maintain their wellbeing while others are prone to stress and discontent?
Gen Y: Starting out in lifeFor Gen Y, who are just starting out, nearly half (46 per cent) say personal relationships are a key happiness driver, and 38 per cent benefit largely from community involvement. Finances are also very important: 61 per cent who say they are "completely happy" had a good financial plan in place.
But younger Australians are also more likely to report stress and distress than older generations. Going through milestone experiences such as a new career, first home ownership and new relationships can also present ups and downs. While 20 per cent of Gen Yers cite marriage as a key happiness driver, home ownership remains a challenging goal in Australia.
Prioritising goals and having a long-term financial plan are essential for Gen Y to stay on track and deter impulsive spending.
Tips for Gen Yers to be happier
- Talk to your friends, family or your local community and you might learn some valuable tips on achieving certain goals, such as planning your wedding on a budget.
- If home ownership is an objective, start a savings plan as soon as possible. The earlier you begin, the sooner you’ll reach your goal.
- Invest in your career. Gaining valuable skills can generate wider employment options, better pay and help you achieve a better work-life balance.
Gen X: Work-life balanceGen X are approaching mid-life, when balancing family commitments and work can be a challenge. In the Happiness Report, 50 per cent of Gen Xers say personal relationships are a key happiness driver, but so is working the right number of hours. Research shows that Gen Xers working 41 to 50 hours per week are happier than those who work more or fewer hours.
Gen X is sometimes described as the “overlooked” or “forgotten” generation, but for many, it’s the time to maximise earnings or forge new career paths like starting a business. An article by the Harvard Business Review revealed that 66 per cent of Gen X women and 55 per cent of Gen X men want flexible working arrangements.
Tips for Gen X to be happier:
- Balancing work and family is critical. If you’re unhappy with your job, it’s not too late to switch careers.
- Taking a new course of study can help you stay relevant in your industry or open up more doors in your career.
- Reviewing your financial plans can help you uncover room to achieve goals such as paying off a mortgage or investing in personal hobbies.
Baby boomers: Shifting status
Most baby boomers have reached or are approaching retirement and can start to sit back and enjoy some well-deserved leisure. However, the shift to retirement brings its own set of worries. According to renowned psychologist Dr. Nick Petrovic “many face fears of loneliness and a lack of mental stimulation”, while others aren’t financially ready for retirement (most retirees still rely on the age pension as their primary source of income).
While personal relationships (52 per cent) are extremely important for baby boomers’ happiness, regular savings (22 per cent) and having a long-term financial plan (23 per cent) are also essential. Those who stay financially informed and have good saving habits feel more in control and are happier with their lives. Around one-third of boomers are still paying off their mortgage, so downsizing can be a smart way to improve savings.
Tips for baby boomers to be happier:
- Decide when to retire. The government provides a free retirement planner to clarify your options.
- Focusing your extra time on hobbies and social activities will make you feel more involved in your personal development, and in the lives of those close to you.
- Keep saving. Your financial planner can help you understand how to manage your money appropriately as you reach retirement.
Happiness is something we can strive for every day by making the right choices. By investing in your passions, maintaining strong personal relationships and having control over your finances, you can focus on the more enjoyable things in life – no matter your age.