It used to be said life begins at 40, but happiness now doesn’t begin until 54, according to a new report from First Direct which reveals just under one million 45-54-year-olds are unhappy with their lives – and their age group is the most frustrated in the country.
The concerns about wealth and future prospects of the 8.5 million Baby Gloomers – Britons born between the mid-50s and mid-60s – seriously impact on their outlook. Overall, fewer than 40% feel completely happy with life, compared with a national average of 48%.
Older generations in particular are far more content. At 54, more Britons describe themselves as “happy” and “content” rather than “stressed” and “self conscious” for the first time. And this trend continues, with 71% of over 65s content with their lot.
Money worries are the key concern of one in five (19%) of Baby Gloomers – the most financially discontent of any generation. Along with the prospect of later retirement, gloom factors this generation are victims of include having to work longer to save for retirement, missing out on the chance to easily remortgage, the closing of final pension schemes plus soaring costs of parental care and children’s education.
With a 45-year-old male Baby Gloomer having an average life expectancy of 85, retirement alone could cost as much as £320,000. Small wonder 15% are unhappy with their future prospects – more than any other generation.
The research does suggest, though, that money has a less important role to play in happiness than many other factors. And happy people seem to gain colour in their lives from a range of lifestyle choices and changes.
Effective tactics favoured by other generations in the pursuit of happiness include:
Travel – 8% of 55-64-year-olds plan to travel for three or more months. Globe-trotting seems to be particularly important for raising the spirits – Brits who have travelled for three months or more are 20 per cent more likely to be happy than those who have not.
Prioritise relationships – 26% of 35-44-year-olds have made new friends or severed unhappy relationships to improve their happiness. Healthy, supportive relationships emerge as central to our satisfaction with life, and people who have forged new friendships are 4% more likely to say they are happy now than those who have not.
Change direction – 41% of 25-34-year-olds are planning a career change – more than any other generation. Among Britons who have changed career path, 7% say they are now more happy.
Go Eco-friendly – 28 per cent of 16-24-year-olds want to lead ‘The Good Life,’ pursuing a more sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle – more than any other generation. People who have already done this are 13% more likely to say they are happy than those who have not.