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25th June 2019

Barclays/Cebr report challenges nation to think differently about wealth
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“Wealthy” is a status that many aspire to but new research from Barclays and Cebr shows that wealth – at least in its traditional form – cannot buy happiness. Brits think you need £1,017,483 to be wealthy, yet 54 per cent of those who have achieved this level of personal wealth would not give themselves this title.

Furthermore, 33 per cent believe they would be happier if they earned more money. However, the route to happiness is in fact much simpler than your salary or the amount of money you have to your name.

The new report from Barclays and Cebr, “Living Lagom – challenging perceptions of wealth”, looks at how Brits could boost happiness and wellbeing by taking lessons from one of the world’s happiest countries, Sweden, and focusing on little and often.

The Cebr analysis shows that boosting the amount of money you save each month has a bigger impact on life satisfaction scores than an increase in income. In fact, the report findings show that if a person saved an additional 10 per cent of their monthly pay cheque, the likelihood of them reporting a high life satisfaction score increases.

What’s more, the impact of this increase in savings on life satisfaction is greater than that of being happily married, and the same as enjoying good health. In the long term, those who consistently have a savings account are over 6 per cent more likely to have a higher life satisfaction score.

Dirk Klee, CEO of Savings, Investments & Wealth Management at Barclays, said: “It’s easy to underestimate the benefits of saving or investing a regular amount each month. No matter what the amount, it will build to give you that peace of mind that you have something set aside for a rainy day, and move you closer to your goals.”

The report’s findings challenge people to stop thinking about wealth in terms of money and to start seeing their finances alongside all the other important factors and goals in their life – channelling the Swedish art of “lagom”, meaning “just the right amount”.

Mr Klee continues: “Wealth is often seen as a bad word, something unachievable and for the lucky few. However, the reality is that money or ‘wealth’ is just a means to an end. It helps you to achieve a key life moment or personal ambition so in fact, wealth should be seen as relative to your lifestyle and your goals.”

Taking a new approach to looking at wealth, focusing on achievable goals and balance rather than a particular figure, could help to improve happiness and life satisfaction.

Currently, just 7 per cent of the UK consider themselves to be “wealthy”. Individuals who felt they were “living comfortably” or “doing alright” financially – regardless of income – were 11 per cent more likely to be mostly or completely satisfied with their life.

This approach to wealth is already more common than you might think, as analysis of different age groups shows that perceptions have already started to change and younger generations are learning that there is more to a rich existence than simply money. Those aged 18-34 set their definition of “wealth” at £383,375, and one in 10 would say that they are wealthy.

The generational divide doesn’t end there either as 49 per cent of 18-34 year olds feel they would need to earn over 50 per cent more to feel wealthy whereas 63 per cent of those over 55 feel this way.