Why researchers say we're less happy with our lives as we get older

According to new research by the Melbourne Institute, life satisfaction drops sharply between the time we retire and the age of 90.

Apparently it’s only “commonsense” that our happiness declines as we age, according to the authors of the research.

So, where did they draw the conclusion from?

After all, we’re so used to hearing about new research!

The research, published in the Australian Economic Review, has been surveying the same people over the past 15 years.

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It uses a survey, asking people across all ages “all things considered, how satisfied are you with your life?” and asks them to give an answer between 0 and 10.

What the survey found was life satisfaction peaks at the age of 15, and continues falling until the age of 65.

Apparently, our life satisfaction rises just as we prepare to retire and then it plunges down to a score of just 6.4 by the time we reach the age of 90.

The authors of the survey, Wooden and Li,  say our life satisfaction drops more three times more between retirement and the age of 90 than if we had a disability or long term health conditions.

Wooden and Li point to losing friends, poor health and social isolation as the cause of older Australians becoming less happy in their senior years.

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“Increasing longevity will not necessarily be associated with a marked improvement in quality of life among older Australians; more Australians will simply be spending more years in a relatively dissatisfied state,” they claim.


While the survey plays to the stereotype that we’re just miserable oldies, there are many of us more mature folk who’d challenge it for sure.

What do you think of this research? Are you less satisfied with life now than when you were younger?