Economically, older folks less happy

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Economically, older folks less happy

Despite the economic growth Korea has achieved in recent years, a report showed yesterday that middle-aged Korean men and women are relatively unhappy with their lives compared to younger people due to concerns about job instability and preparations for retirement years.

According to Hyundai Research Institute, the so-called “economic happiness index” of an average Korean was 40.4 points out of 100. By generation, the index for those in their 50s (36.4 points) and 60 and over (35.7 points) was lower than the average, but higher for those in their 20s (45.9 points) and 30s (44.1 points).

The index analyzes Statistics Korea’s five economic indicators for each age group: income, wealth distribution, employment, consumption and later-life preparation. The report was released ahead of International Day of Happiness on Wednesday established by the United Nations.

“Our analysis showed Koreans in their 50s have the highest income, but their happiness index is the second-lowest after those in their 60s and above,” the institute stated yesterday. “The index was low for Koreans in their 60s because they are worried about old-life preparation, while employment is a major concern for those in their 50s. In many developed countries, people above 60 years old are the most happy.”

The institute said it is urgent that older people in Korea receive support by extending the retirement age and adjusting the country’s basic old-aged pension system.

An Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report earlier this year showed Korea’s Better Life Index ranked 24th of the 36 member countries based on figures such as income, employment, education and health.

“In general, Koreans are not as happy as others across the OECD, with 83 percent of people saying they have more positive experiences [like feelings of rest, enjoyment] in an average day than negative ones [pain, worry and sadness],” the organization stated.

By Lee Eun-joo []

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