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Can money buy happiness? Aussie wellbeing improves the higher your income

Can money buy happiness? Aussie wellbeing improves the higher your income

The NAB Australian Wellbeing Report has found a correlation between high wellbeing and high-income levels amongst Australians, answering the age-old question of whether money can buy happiness.

Aussie wellbeing is at its strongest point in four years, with high-income earners (over $100,000 p.a.) yet again reporting higher levels.

Wellbeing drivers – highest vs. lowest income:


Source: NAB.com.au

For those high-income earners, it appears factors such as ‘lack of time’ and ‘substance use/abuse’ most affect their wellbeing.

For lower income earners (under $35,000 p.a.) however, NAB research has highlighted how their wellbeing is more likely to be negatively impacted by work/job issues, ability to fund retirement and traumatic events (e.g. abuse).

Who is the happiest?

NAB research has found that wellbeing was the highest amongst:  

  • widows
  • men and women over the age of 50
  • Tasmanians
  • Two-person households

The lowest wellbeing levels were found amongst single people, labourers, 30-49 year olds, those earning less than $35,000 per year and young women. For those Aussies doing it tough, this news may come to no surprise.

According to the NAB Australian Wellbeing Report, anxiety was identified as the overall biggest detractor from personal wellbeing.

Alan Oster, NAB Chief Economist, said that while anxiety had improved from previous years, it was “still affecting a significant number of Australians.”

“This research indicates that while Australians are overall less anxious, one in four 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,” said Mr Oster.

One in four Aussies reported that getting more sleep and improving their financial position could most significantly help improve anxiety and overall wellbeing.

Sleep was most significant for 18-49 year olds, compared to those over the age of 50 who believe improving their finances is the key factor to helping their anxiety.  

One out of five women also reported that having more time to themselves would have helped the most when feeling anxious. Only 11 per cent of men believed this would be helpful for them.

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