Saturday, August 2, 2008

Men end up happier than women later in life

Less able to achieve their life goals, women end up unhappier than men later in life, even though they start out happier, a new survey of Americans suggests.

Early in adult life, women are more likely than men to fulfill their family life and financial aspirations, leading to greater overall happiness.

Later in life, however, the tables turn and men report coming closer to reaching their goals for consumer goods and family life. Men are more satisfied with their financial situation and family life, and are happier than women in later life, the study shows.

Here are some age milestones found in the study, detailed in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies:

  • 41: Age at which men's financial satisfaction exceeds women's financial satisfaction.
  • 48: Age at which men's overall happiness exceeds women's overall happiness.
  • 64: Age at which men's satisfaction with family life exceeds women's satisfaction.

Marriage and money
In two nationally representative surveys of men and women in the United States, the researchers found that happiness and satisfaction with life boil down to the gap between what you want and what you have. And since both factors vary throughout life, so does a person's respective sense of well-being.

In their early 20s, about 90 percent of men and women say they want to be happily married. That comes sooner for women, who get married at a much earlier age than men on average, contributing to higher satisfaction with family life, the study results show