What are your relationships worth, in dollars?

19 11 2012

Found this fantastic and very interesting article this morning, by Eric Barker, author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Want to improve your happiness and life satisfaction? Then check these stats out…

–          Quinton

Having a better social life can be worth as much as an additional $131,232 a year in terms of life satisfaction:

There is substantial evidence in the psychology and sociology literature that social relationships promote happiness for the individual. This paper explores the use of shadow pricing method to estimate the monetary values of the satisfaction with life gained by an increase in the frequency of interaction with friends, relatives, and neighbours. Using the British Household Panel Survey, an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.

A happy marriage is worth $105,000 a year: economists have been able to show using happiness surveys that marriage (compared to being single) is worth around £70,000 (or $105,000) a year for a representative person in Great Britain.

Separation, on the other hand, is equivalent to around minus £170,000 (or $255,000) a year (see Clark and Oswald, 2002).

Seeing friends and family regularly is worth $97,265: So, an individual who only sees his or her friends or relatives less than once a month to never at all would require around an extra £63,000 a year to be just as satisfied with life as an individual who sees his or her friends or relatives on most days.

By comparison, your health is worth $463,170: Improvement in health has one of the largest effects on life satisfaction; a move from having a very poor health to having an excellent health is worth around an extra £300,000 a year.

Unemployment takes a big happiness toll. You’d need as much as an extra $114,248 a year to make up for the life satisfaction you lose: There is a large psychic cost associated with joblessness. The cross-sectional estimates suggest that a pay package around £66,000 to £74,000 a year is required to compensate for being unemployed (compared to being employed full-time).

Divorce seems like a bargain, costing the equivalent of only $34,000 a year. Why so low? By the time people get the divorce they are happy to be moving on with their lives: This finding is consistent with the recent conclusion made by Gardner and Oswald (2006) that divorced couples tend to gain happiness from the dissolution of their marriage.

Death of a spouse, on the other hand, is equivalent to a drop in income of around $308,780 a year.

By comparison, your life is worth about $6 million to $9 million dollars, according to various government agencies:

–          $9.1 million (Environmental Protection Agency)

–          $7.9 million (Food and Drug Administration)

–          $6 million (Transportation Department)

–          $7 million (median value for prime aged workers)

What’s the best bet? Agreeing with Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert, more time with friends and family, say the researchers: By allowing unobserved individual fixed effects to be factored out from the life satisfaction equation, an increase in the level of social interaction with friends and relatives is estimated to be worth up to an extra £85,000 a year. In terms of statistical significance, this is strikingly large. The estimated figure is even larger than that of getting married (which is worth approximately £50,000). It can compensate for nearly two-third in the loss of the happiness from going through a separation (minus £139,000) or unemployment (minus £143,000). It is also roughly nine times larger than the average real household income per capita in the dataset, which is around £9,800 a year. So if you want to play real life Monopoly (Life value = $6-9million):

–          Health: +$463,170

–          Better social life: +$131,232

–          Marriage: +$105,000

–          Seeing friends and family regularly: +$97,265

–          Divorce: -$34,000

–          Unemployment: -$114,248

–          Separation: -$255,000

–          Death of a spouse: -$308,780

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You 2.0: On Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

25 10 2011

What would you look like, if you were operating at the top of your game?

  What if the best possible version of you, turned up in the circumstances you are currently in?

What would that ‘best you’ do differently?

The best changes in our life do not come about by happenstance, or luck. They are imposed on our environment from the inside out – they happen when something CHANGES on the inside of us and blasts its way out from our hearts into the world outside. And they are changes that can only be made by us, when we reach that moment when we decide things are going to be different.

Think about some of the most important areas of your life.

Health & Fitness – if a world class athlete (rugby player, Olympic swimmer, bodybuilder) awoke in your body, it is guaranteed that in 6 weeks time your physique would be unrecognisable. Why can’t you do the same thing? Ask yourself, what would that athlete be doing (and MAKING time for) that you aren’t doing now?

 

Business & Career – if Richard Branson or 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg awoke in your body, what do you think your level of success, reputation and impact would be within 1-2 months? Ask yourself what would they be doing differently, and start thinking of how you can DO those things.

 

 

 

 Relationships – how would the BEST version of you operate in your relational sphere? How would that ‘you’ connect to, relate to, and treat your loved ones, friends and family, and even those new people who you want to build relationships with? How would those relationships improve (and how much would your levels of satisfaction and happiness grow) in 1-2 months?

 

  Self-investment – world class people, those who change the planet, are almost without fail, people who invest in themselves. They take (and usually MAKE) the time to reflect, consider their lives and work out what’s going well, what could be improved on, evaluate where they are in relation to where they would like to be, and how they could get closer to that ever-changing goal! The process of growth cannot happen without change, and the best growth comes from change that is self-initiated. Encourage yourself as much as you can by using the resources you have access to – books, CDs and seminars or one or two people you find inspiring to be around.

We all want to be better people. But rather than allowing that vague sense of  ‘you’re doing it wrong’ niggle at you “like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad” (to quote Morpheus from The Matrix), stop ignoring it, and start to pay attention to it and ENGAGE with it. Change can be a scary thing, but if you are willing to consider yourself and where you are at honestly, you will open up the way to move forward. And the world that opens up to those courageous enough to embrace change, is AMAZING.

As a wise man once said, the difference between who you ARE and who you WANT to be, is what you DO.
–          Quinton

 

 





Would you rather be rich or happy?

11 10 2011

Here is an interesting article on the relationship between wealth and happiness, by the Happiness Institute (you can read more of their articles on www.thehappinessinstitute.com). It is written by Dr. Timothy Sharp, who is certainly well-qualified to write about such a subject: he has three degrees in psychology (including a Ph.D.) and an impressive record as an academic, clinician and coach.  He set up one of Sydney’s largest clinical psychology practices (www.makingchanges.com.au), a highly regarded Executive Coaching practice (www.positiveld.com), and is the founder of Australia’s first organisation devoted solely to enhancing happiness in individuals, families and organisations. Have a read, and let it make you think!

–          Quinton

 

Would you rather be rich or happy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Money and wealth or happiness and health? Do you really need to choose? Are they dichotomous or mutually exclusive constructs? I’ve written before and I’m sure I’ll write again about the relationship between money and happiness. Why? Because people keep asking me about it and there are still many myths and misconceptions out there on this topic that are crying out to be busted!

Today, however, I want to focus on just one aspect of this interesting (and necessary) debate…and that’s the ridiculous and false dichotomy that’s often created or assumed within this discussion. To what am I referring? Well, the belief that seems to be held by some that this is an “either – or” decision…that is, I need to choose either money OR happiness!

But even just a few minutes thought should allow anyone to realise this is not a real issue; it’s a false choice and an unhelpful, even absurd question. Because the reality is we can have both, or neither, or a bit of each…

You see money and happiness are barely related. They are related for those at the very lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum. That is, for those struggling to pay their bills and/or put food on the table, for those (for want of a better phrase) who’re below the “poverty” line, then more money will ease their stress and worries and allow for more happiness.

Above and beyond this, however, the relationship becomes minimal. It is there; there is some relationship; and that is that more money doesn’t hurt and may even allow for access to opportunities and health care and education and more, all of which can be good for our health and well being. But the “return on investment” gained from pursuing more and more wealth, once we have “enough” is minimal. And yet we know that so much more can be gained if we pursue or seek other variables such as good quality relationships or physical flourishing (just to cite two examples).

But this is not what many who ask the aforementioned question are thinking. What they seem to be thinking is I must make a choice! Well, yes, we all need to make choices in life and many of these choices are fundamentally important for our happiness and health but the choice is not really between being rich OR being happy! We can have both…if we want. But the point I want to try to make here is that chosing happiness is a separate and different choice altogether…it may or may not lead to or be associated with wealth. It will probably have nothing to do with it because financial choices will require completely different decisions.

So let’s not get these two issues confused; they’re both important issues but they’re both separate issues so let’s give them both the respect they deserve without forcing ourselves to miss out on either. What do you think?