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It's impossible to put a real price on happiness, especially as everyone has different things that make them happy. That said, a recent report from LifeSearch has identified what Brits are willing to sacrifice to increase their happiness, and it comes down to an average of £2,000 per year.
At least, that's what the 48% of Brits who are willing to sacrifice 5-10% of their salary to improve their work-life balance would be giving up. And with 60% believing they have a poor work-life balance – up 10% from last year – the majority of Brits are now clamouring for some more free time to make them happier.
The survey further found that the average respondent values their free time at a worth of £61,829 per year, with women valuing theirs quite a bit higher at £64,020 compared to men's average of £59,533. While you can't put a price tag on happiness, nearly £62,000 a year is quite a hefty sum to be paying for it – are you making enough to justify not having this free time?
If you have £62,000 you can set aside, are you making the most of it? With the top-paying monthly interest account (the 120-day notice deal from Gatehouse Bank, which has an expected profit rate of 1.87% AER) currently offering you the chance to get around £95.59 in interest paid out on a monthly basis for you to spend on leisure activities, or even a yearly bonus of £1,705 on the top-paying long-term fixed rate bond (which is Secure Trust Bank's seven-year bond paying 2.75%; again assuming that interest is paid away each year), you clearly could be making the money you're getting instead of free time work for you in a number of ways.
Naturally, cash is no substitute for freedom and happiness, as is seen by the amount many Brits are willing to give up. However, it can help to decrease worries. With the research further finding that 17% of women and 11% of men are concerned at the prospect of not being able to save money, and 33% versus 29% worried about poor health, putting some money towards income protection and/or a permanent emergency savings pot could help ease some unhappiness at the least.
"We as a nation are getting better at expressing our financial fears and hopes – which is good news," author Iona Bain told LifeSearch's team. "But the whole subject of money is still shrouded in mystery and anxiety for most people. That's why so many of us sleepwalk through our working lives, never realising that more money isn't necessarily the answer - it's about managing the money you have so you can lead a more fulfilled, balanced life and sleep well at night."
Small steps can help you get to a more financially (and hopefully otherwise) fulfilling life. For instance, have you looked at what you're getting out of your everyday current account recently? Finding a provider who can offer that bit extra can give you the peace of mind knowing your funds are safe – and the same goes for your savings pot, mortgage deal, energy provider, etc.
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