Health, wealth and happiness: Week four

Doug Edmonds, managing director of 2CV reports that people feel sicker and poorer but also happier.

As we come to the end of 2009, the 2CV Well-Being Index – measuring the UK’s health, wealth and happiness – remains steady, registering again at 37. When looking at individual aspects, people’s happiness levels have been marginally boosted this week, increasing by 2 points with 44% of consumers reporting that they are happy. However, health and wealth scores continue to drop as the cold virus continues to take its toll on many, chilly weather descends and Christmas shopping makes a dent in people’s bank balances.

Figures show that less than half the people questioned are satisfied with their health, wealth and happiness this week. Despite a plateau across all areas, a drop of 5 points was seen amongst women in the wealth index. After the peak of nearly a third of women being happy with their financial situation (week 2), only 26% of women reported satisfaction with their financial lot last week and this has fallen to now just 21%.

Despite a three point increase in satisfaction with their health last week, women in the most recent index report a drop of 4 points (44%). On a more positive note, and in line with the results for men, the figures indicate a slight increase in happiness (47%).

The middle-aged group reports the most change this week with a massive 13 point downward shift in its health satisfaction, falling from 43% to 30%. As the group that often feels the most pressure at this time of year to organise, host and provide the ‘perfect’ Christmas, it is not surprising that this added anxiety is affecting their vigour. However, when it comes to happiness it appears that this group is now nearly back to previous levels (41%) following last week’s slump of 10 points. Here are the results by each age category:

Young People

Whether it is present buying or lots of socialising, this age group is the one most feeling the pinch (14%) with a 9 point slide in reported wealth levels. Unlike the middle-aged group, young people report uplift in health levels, meaning over half of 16-35 year olds are currently satisfied with their health. Following last week’s dramatic drop, this is an interesting turn-around and one that we will be monitoring over the next few weeks. Happiness rose by a marginal 4 points to 47%.

Middle-aged band

The 13 point drop in health is something that should be considered when targeting this 35-55 year-old group. Whether it is people feeling the strain of the demands placed on them at this time of year or that burnt-out, end-of-year feeling, following last week’s rise in health levels, we will be keeping an eye on these fluctuations. Interestingly, this group reported a significant uplift in happiness, perhaps indicating that it is anticipating and looking forward to getting the family together for Christmas. This puts its happiness levels on more of a par with other groups, however, still slightly lower. Satisfaction with wealth levels rose from 18% to 20%.

Grey Market

A significant drop in happiness levels now means that for the first time more than half of 55-77 year olds are not happy. This follows last week’s slump and affects overall well-being which drops by 2 points but still remains the highest of all the groups (41%). However, a continuing increase in health satisfaction now means that nearly half of this group is content with their health (44%) and wealth levels remain stable with just a 1% increase.

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