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The golden years: Aussies over 50 among the happiest

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Australians aged over 50, widows, Tasmanians and two-person households are the happiest groups in Australia while singles, young women and labourers sit at the other end of the spectrum.

According to NAB’s latest wellbeing report, Aussies’ wellbeing is at its highest in four years, mainly due to lower levels of anxiety and the over-50s are among the most well.

Chief economist at NAB, Alan Oster added that while anxiety had tapered off slightly, it was still an issue for many Australians.

He explained: “This research indicates that while Australians are overall less anxious, one in four Australians report high anxiety.

“We also see a correlation between wellbeing and income, with wellbeing the highest for those in the top income group, and the lowest among those earning the least.”

The major bank said the main positive influences on wellbeing are personal safety, personal relationships, family and homes, while abuse, substance abuse or use, moving homes and lack of time have a negative impact.

Nevertheless, the over-50s are “still soaring”, reporting one of the highest levels of wellbeing, after widows. This level of wellbeing is fuelled by their family, friends, mental wellbeing, homes and community relationships more than any other age group. Higher living standards and health also contribute to over-50s wellbeing.

Commenting on the findings, Mr Oster said: “Over 50s’ wellbeing has been climbing in trend terms and they have rated all aspects of their wellbeing better, especially in regards to anxiety.”

The NAB report added: “Over 50s have consistently reported the highest levels of wellbeing since NAB began this survey in early-2013. Over time, their wellbeing has also been climbing in trend terms and they have rated all aspects of their wellbeing better, especially in regards to anxiety.

“Our homes, personal safety and family and personal relationships contribute the most to our overall sense of personal wellbeing. But for over 50s, the contribution these wellbeing drivers make to their wellbeing are even more important, particularly when it comes to their homes and family and personal relationships.”

However, the over 50s can also find substance use, abuse and other forms of abuse a threat to their wellbeing levels.

These negative factors detract more from their wellbeing than they do for the rest of the population, with NAB arguing that this “may however reflect negative impacts flowing from other family members or friends facing such issues”.

Over 50s group noted an improved financial position (28 per cent), shaking off the little things (27 per cent) and getting more rest or sleep (21 per cent) would have helped the most when they were feeling anxious.

Interestingly, the over 50s group were more likely to list having a “clearer idea of where my life was headed” as a remedial factor for anxiety than those 18-29 (16 per cent) and the 30-49 cohort (14 per cent).

They also were most likely (19 per cent) to say a holiday would help cure anxiety, as opposed to younger generations (14 per cent).

Those aged between 18 and 29 years old derived the greatest wellbeing from personal safety, while 30-49-year-olds said the house they lived in was their greatest source of wellbeing and both cohorts list a lack of time as the biggest drag on their wellbeing.

The golden years: Aussies over 50 among the happiest
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