Life after 60 is good – at least according to the latest Australian Family Trends report, Life satisfaction across life course transitions released this week by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).
The report shows that life satisfaction begins to dip for people from the age of 15 to the early 20s, then declined again from the mid 20s until the mid 30s, before diving to life’s lowest level between the mid 30s and early 50s. But from then on, it seems, satisfaction steadily rises until the late 60s, where it plateaus, before declining from the early 80s.
Researchers tracked around 27,000 Australians of all ages from 15 years onwards for about 12 years before and after significant life events. Some of the key findings include:
- the impending arrival of a child is linked to a rise in happiness before quickly declining after birth – mainly for women
- life events such as separation and widowhood result in a decline in happiness in the years immediately after the loss
- leaving home doesn’t markedly change a person’s happiness levels
- beginning a new relationship is linked with a sustained increase in life satisfaction for both men and women, but declined after about six years
- it was also common for individuals to be more financially stable in later life.
“It’s a good news story for getting older,” said Senior Research Fellow Professor David de Vaus. “It’s due to a mixture of factors most likely, with the stresses and strains of life [such as] getting a job less immediate in later life.”
Do you feel that the results of this study reflect your life experience? Are you satisfied with your life? Which stage in life do you feel was, is, or will be best? Which was worst? What suggestions do you have for our members that may help them through the more difficult stages of life? Do you have a recipe for life satisfaction?