Tuesday 24 July 2012

• Peak of well-being is reached at age 65-69 • People in their 50s feeling less positive than those recently retired


Dr Ros Altmann, Director General Saga said: “The Government has today published more results from its survey work analysing the wellbeing of the nation.  The Prime Minister has rightly said that it is important to assess other measures of life, apart from just economic wellbeing and has tasked the Office for National Statistics to construct a measure of the nations happiness.   Saga’s Quarterly Reports have been tracking both quantitative and qualitative measures of the lives of the over 50s for the past 6 quarters and is therefore already working on the issues that the ONS has been measuring.

“The ONS asked six questions about people’s lives, to construct a measure of how they are feeling.  Saga’s own Survey work has asked those same six questions for the past two quarters, which have been compiled into our SMILE index (Saga’s Measure of Life Enjoyment!) and our findings show that wellbeing is worst for those in their fifties, then improves to reach a peak in the age range 65-69 and gradually deteriorates somewhat after their mid-seventies.

“Those coming up to traditional retirement age are clearly more anxious and less satisfied with their lives than those already retired.  This could well be because their pensions have not worked out well for them, or they know that they need to face up to some difficult decisions and are not sure what the future holds.  Once they are retired, perhaps people adjust to their circumstances and make the best of things.  Those in their late sixties today are usually in good health and able to enjoy so much of what life these days has to offer.

“Both the ONS figures and those from Saga’s SMILE index measure suggest that people are happier once they reach retirement and generally enjoy the early part of their retirement, and then perhaps health worries become more of a problem after they reach their mid-seventies.  The peak well-being period for those aged 65-69 is confirmed in both the ONS and Saga studies.”


Notes for Editors:

ONS Data April 2011 - March 2012 

  Life satisfaction  Worthwhile  Happy yesterday  Anxious yesterday
 50-54  7.1  7.5  7.0  3.5
55-59 7.2  7.6 7.1  3.4
60-64  7.5  7.8  7.5  3.1
65-69  7.8 8.0   7.7 2.9
70-74 7.7 8.0 7.7 2.8
75-79 7.8 8.0 7.8 2.8
80 and over 7.6 7.5 7.5 2.9

Saga Data Q1

  Life satisfaction  Worthwhile  Happy yesterday  Worried yesterday
50-54 6.4 6.6 6.3 5.4
 55-59 6.4  6.7  6.3  5.7
 60-64 6.8  7.0  6.7  6.1
 65-69 6.9  7.1  6.9  6.2
 70-74 6.9  7.1  6.9  6.3
 75 and over 6.9  7.0  6.9  6.1

Saga Data Q2

Life satisfaction  Worthwhile  Happy yesterday  Worried yesterday
50-54 5.9 6.5 6.2 5.5
55-59 6.2 6.7 6.4 5.7
60-64  6.6  6.9  6.8  6.1
 65-69 6.7  7.0  7.0  6.2
 70-74 6.6  7.0  6.9  6.2
 75 and over 6.5  6.9  6.7  6.0




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