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17 March 2017
Humour helps happiness

New research uncovers what makes Australians happy

Humour, financial security and leisure time are what make Australians truly happy according to new research released today by AMP.

AMP's Happiness Survey revealed we are a nation of happy people with our retirees leading the charge. Seventy-nine per cent of retirees said they were happy with their lives and the majority of respondents (68 per cent) described themselves as "thriving".

However the numbers dropped away when looking to the future.

When asked how happy they think they might feel in five years from now, the thriving score dipped to 62 per cent. However, the most dramatic drop was among retirees with 51 percent indicating they were most pessimistic about what lies ahead.

Drivers of happiness have changed little over the past 80 years. Respondents of a similar study carried out in 1938 cited economic security and knowledge as the most important aspects of happiness.

AMP Director, Superannuation, Retirement and Investments, Vicki Doyle said it was unsurprising to see economic security still featured as a major driver of happiness nearly 80 years later.

"The survey findings suggest a link between money and happiness levels," she said. "Having a solid foundation in place is important but it's not just about how much you have, but also how informed and confident you are with your choices.

"Being actively engaged with your finances and having a plan in place can go a long way towards achieving economic security."

AMP's Happiness Survey also found:

  • 71 per cent of surveyed respondents stated they were either "satisfied" or "slightly satisfied" with their life
  • Around one third of respondents say they are happy every day and three quarters (77 per cent) happy at least several times a week
  • Money in the bank leads to better life satisfaction. Those with an income greater than $250,000 are 14 per cent happier than those with an income of $80-99,000 (78 per centversus 64 per cent).

Ms Doyle said Australians could improve their level of optimism by mapping out their goals.

"Having and setting goals is a great motivator and gives people more satisfaction and happiness," she said. "Whether your goals are financial, relationship, or health related, getting your goals clear and putting them in writing makes them more likely to be achieved!"

Combining digital interaction with personalised expert help, the AMP Goals 360 experience helps Australians to explore, plan, track and most importantly realise their goals.

About the research

Survey respondents of the AMP Happiness Survey consisted of an online community of over 1,040 existing AMP customers.

Happiness was measured in the following three ways:

Bolton Study 10 Aspects of Happiness Measures

In 1938, an advert was placed in the Bolton News in the UK asking readers to define happiness. One of the measures utilises a series of 10 attributes: action, beauty, equality, good humour, knowledge, leadership, leisure, politics, religion and security. This survey was re-created in Bolton in 2014.

AMP Capital Investments (ACI) Happiness index

AMP Capital recently published a paper called The Science of Happiness which includes an approach to measuring happiness. It takes five questions and uses the answers to quantify how satisfied people are with their lives. It is based on the Satisfaction with Life scale developed by Ed Diener, Robert Emmons, Randy Larsen and Sharon Griffin in the 1985 Journal of Personality Assessment.

Cantril Ladder

The UN has developed the World Happiness Report run by Gallup which utilises a Cantril ladder to measure the degree of happiness people feel now and where they think they will be on the ladder in 5 years' time.