The Newspaper Works asked emma™ to find out what age men and women are happiest. Despite the fact that their social lives are curbed and they are largely married with children, men and women aged 35 to 39 are the happiest of all age groups.
But the reasons for happiness differ between the sexes. For women, the number one driver of happiness is their love life and sex life. For men, it’s family and friends.
Various research has shown that there are four main predictors of happiness. emma™ was then asked to analyse how these four variables changed with the age of men and women, and then developed a weighted average to see which age group of men were likely to be most happy according to these behavioural predictors.
How much time women and men spend with friends and family
For men and women, friends rate a little higher than family. Perhaps surprisingly, being married and having children makes men slightly more happy than women.
For women, the largest contribution to happiness is the presence of children in the house, along with the frequency of social interactions with friends and family.
This predictor includes whether men and women have serious pain, how worried they are about their health, whether they smoke and whether they do any exercise.
For men, the health curve actually stabilizes between 45-64, driven by increased proactivity and exercise, before the chance of having serious back or joint pain, which rises after the age of 65.
Women are frequently exposed to pain and health issues throughout their lives. Even in the 18-24 age group, 66% admitted having a serious pain issue in the previous four weeks (including sinus, back and joint pain).
In good news for anti-smoking campaigns, only 9% of women aged 18-24 smoke, while 14% of 25-29s smoke. Age 45-49 shows the highest incidence of smoking.
Control over their life and sense of freedom
Including how much freedom men and women felt on the weekends, whether they engaged in hobbies, and also how many kilometres they had to commute each week.
For men, 35-44 year olds actually go out socially least, and tended to keep up their entertaining at home and visiting others’ homes. It’s the 45-49 age group who are the least social of all.
The stressful activity of commuting can be calculated on a kilometres per week basis and shows a peak at age 35-39, commuting an average of nearly 140km a week.
Including what men and women spend their money on, specifically travel and experiences (which make you happier than material purchases), and personal financial confidence.
For men, happiness comes between the ages of 35 and 39, when they are earning a decent amount but not yet paying school fees (see the money dip at age 40-44).
For women, it is the over 65s who are most happy, driven by retirement, empty nests, less commuting and with a good percentage having more than $250,000 in investments, leading to a high level of financial confidence.
“emma™ research found that a woman’s love and sex life peaks in their early 30s, with both the incidence of marriage, and sexual satisfaction peaking at that age. There’s also a bonus in later life for women, with recent studies showing sex satisfaction rises again when women hit their 60s and keeps rising,” The Newspaper Works Research & Insights Manager Simon Baty said.
“Happiness peaks for men in the 35-39 age group, when they are more likely to have kids, be married, be earning a decent amount but not yet paying school fees, in pretty good health and their freedom has not quite bottomed out.”
The emma™ research findings have implications for marketers when seeking an approach for brands that will tap into the happiness of men and women.
“If we generically portray the family as mum and dad and two kids all smiling, we’re most likely oversimplifying what women are looking for in life. Of course, family still comes first. However there is also room for connecting with women, in particular, about their love lives and relationships through shared media experiences like weekend newspapers and second screening along with content that mirrors their emotional needs and wants,” Baty said.
“If your brand is trying to be authentic and genuine, why not leverage the insights about what really makes people happy, and see your brand not as the hero that provides this, but as an empathetic adviser who helps you on the journey. The viewer, or reader, is the hero – not the brand.”
For more information, please contact:
Third Avenue Consulting
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