Okay, were you REALLY that much happier in your life back when your investments were worth 25% more? Probably, but research says that wealth is only part of the happiness equation. In years like 2022, it might be important to remember that.
Thanks to Alert Reader Sean Sullivan for passing along this article from Visual Capitalist that discusses money and happiness. Some interesting tidbits:
The top 10 reported happiest countries were Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Israel, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Austria. Cold countries dominate that list! Their happiness scores as compiled by the World Happiness Report range from 7.8 to 7.2.
Maybe all these people moving to Florida, Arizona, and Nevada for retirement are getting it wrong. Maybe no state income tax can only get you so much happiness.
The top 10 reported happiest countries had median wealth per adult ranging from $73,000 to $259,000. Not exactly poverty, so it seems some amount of financial security helps with happiness.
However, the financial measure that consistently makes people unhappy is income inequality. The 5 countries with the highest income inequality were South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Colombia, and Mozambique. Their happiness scores ranged from 5.2 down to 3.8.
Where does the US fall in these measures? We are ranked 14th with a happiness score of 7.0 and a median wealth per adult of $79,274.
So, if you are thinking, “Woe is me,” about your investments this year, you are not alone. But maybe there are other areas of focus that will make you feel better and that are more in your control; relationships, purposeful work, giving back in the community, just plain fun hobbies, petting your dog, or buying your financial planner a drink!