National Well-being Debate Reveals… Even Wealthy People are Not Happy

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The quality of life in the UK is not as high as it is in other developed countries, a survey by Lloyds TSB International has found.

Just as there’s more to life than money, there’s more to national progress than GDP

•    Happiness relating to quality of life and financial well-being to be higher for those living abroad

  •     In addition to GDP and other economic measurements, wealthy people found to support national well-being

A new survey targeting wealthy people has found that the UK is lagging behind its other, developed neighbors when it comes to financial well-being and quality of life.

Published by Lloyds TSB International Wealth, the research shows that around 10 per cent of those classed as high-earners would say the quality of life in Britain is higher than other developed countries in the world. In addition, only nine per cent believe those in the UK are financially better-off.

It was revealed that a paltry five per cent of rich people would agree that people in Britain would class themselves as ‘generally happier’ than those who live in other developed countries. This compares to the 53 per cent who say they believe people unhappier here than elsewhere – all of which is revealed as the Government puts the finishing touches to its first report measuring national well-being,

The Lloyds TSB survey polled 923 people who hold over £250,000 in investments and savings, and found that 62 per cent of respondents thought monitoring general happiness was just as important as economic measurements such as GDP. A statement which only 13 per cent said they disagreed with.

The same people were also found to think that less focus on financial affairs is harming our capacity as a nation to improve people’s lives in other ways. In fact, 49 per cent said people in Britain were now so overly concerned about their monetary situation that it was proving to be at the expense of other things that could potentially improve their quality of life – 21 per cent of respondents, however, did not agree.

The results of the study, which show so many wealthy people believe quality of life, financial well-being and ‘general happiness’ are higher abroad, may also fuel fears that more people on higher incomes will head abroad. A Lloyds TSB International Wealth study revealed 36 per cent of high-earners would favour a move to another country – which was something 14 per cent said they were likely to do over the next couple of years.

Nicholas Boys Smith, Managing Director at Lloyds TSB International Wealth, comments: “Many wealthy people are downbeat about life in the UK – from a financial perspective, and more importantly in terms of their basic quality of life.”

He adds: “There’s a groundswell of opinion that the key to happiness may not be found in Britain and that a better life can be had elsewhere. While the survey shows people’s perceptions that life may be more enjoyable overseas, many of our clients are in fact acting on views like these and moving abroad to improve their quality of life.

“Maybe Britain needs to get serious about getting happy – certainly wealthy people think that monitoring national well-being could be a means to start improving it. Just as there’s more to life than money, there’s more to national progress than GDP.”

It is thought that the Office for National Statistics will make its initial report on the measurement of national well-being in November – after the Prime Minister David Cameron has launched his plans to measure national happiness this time last year. The first official findings will be published in the ‘happiness index’, which is expected to be available next year.

Lloyds TSB International Wealth research also revealed many believe UK life is more stressful than in other countries – with just three per cent saying Britons are less stressed than their peers in in other developed nations.

Lloyds TSB International Wealth provides a range of banking and investment services for wealthy clients around the world. It is part of Lloyds TSB International which helps over 12,000 people set up a new international bank account each year.

Notes to editors:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a YouGov survey that was commissioned by Lloyds TSB International Wealth. 923 UK adults with savings and investments of at least £250,000 were surveyed online, 16 – 21 February 2011. The responding sample is weighted to the profile of the sample definition to provide a representative reporting sample.

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