Age Your Financial Attitude for Greater Happiness
It seems that old, white male Republicans have an edge on happiness. Before you go “ewwwwww – who wants to be one of those”, I’m not proposing that anyone change genders or political affiliations. However, let’s consider the financial fine print of these findings (or at least my interpretation of them).
In response to the question “Have you cut back spending in the past year?”, this how different age groups broke down with “yes” responses:
Ages 18-49: 68 percent
Ages 50-64: 59 percent
Ages 65 and older : 36 percent
The second question was: “Is the recession causing stress in your family?” The “yes” responses:
Ages 18-49: 52 percent
Ages 50-64: 58 percent
Ages 65 and over: 38 percent
Notice how the older folks are doing so much better at handling the difficult economic conditions. Fewer of them have had to cut back on their lifestyle and fewer are suffering stress compared to younger generations.
My amateur analysis of why this is and how it applies to the rest of us:
1. Older folks have ditched the desire for stuff and have learned to be happy with what they have.
2. Older folks don’t have as much debt and aren’t working for the money to service their debt. This also means that it is easier for a retired person to cut back on expenses compared to those burdened by car loans and mortgages.
3. Older folks understand that spending money on experiences, not stuff, provides greater returns in personal satisfaction.
I think that the takeaway for all of us from this data is that we don’t have to be old or retired to adopt financial plans or attitudes that mirror those of people who actually are old or retired. We can and should be doing it now.
Too many of us are learning from those who are trying to sell us the latest and greatest gadget, the best rewards credit card, a get-rich investment scheme, or a lottery ticket.
Why don’t we instead pay more attention to the older folks who are actually happier without all of that? When someone is kicking your butt in the game of life, doesn’t it make sense to study and learn from what they are doing?
What is your take on this survey data?
Image credit: daveelmore