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Weekend reading: Grow old, move to Orkney, be happy

Weekend reading

Good reads from around the web.

After last night’s splendid Olympic opening ceremony, all my friends are tweeting that they’re proud to be British.

Ironic then that to be happy and British, your best bet seems to be to get as far away as you can from your fellow countrymen.

According to the suitably Orwellian-sounding Measuring National Wellbeing Programme (website), the optimal plan is to secure a professional job on a far-flung island in Scotland, and to take your wife or husband with you.

And whatever you do, steer well clear of Middlesbough.

What about money? As a Governmental attempt to divine an alternative to GDP as a measure of prosperity, moolah doesn’t feature much in the Wellbeing research – at least not yet.

Work does, though. According to The Guardian:

The impact of work [is significant]: not only not having it – which leads twice as many unemployed people to rate their satisfaction levels as low or very low as those in a job – but also what kind of work you do. The highest average life satisfaction was reported by those in professional occupations such as teaching, medicine or law and was lowest among ‘process, plant and machine operatives’.

You can download the first Wellbeing findings as PDFs from the ONS website.

From the money blogs

Product of the week: West Brom is paying 3.22% on its semi-easy access savings account. You’ll probably need to switch in a year.

Mainstream media money

  • How to make your own iPhone apps – The Economist
  • European entrepreneurs: Les misérables – The Economist
  • Swedroe: The dangers of efficient frontier modes – CBS
  • New fees squeezing out small investors (at last hacks notice!) – FT
  • An introduction to global investment trusts – FT
  • REITS look attractive, but volatile – FT
  • Junior ISAs totally flop – Telegraph
  • Lenders compete to cut mortgage rates – Telegraph
  • Top 10 places to retire – The Guardian

Book of the week: Struck by Olympic fever? Get the official book, with a forward by Seb Coe. You won’t regret it – not for at least, oh, two weeks.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • 1 Rob July 28, 2012, 11:14 am

    “And whatever you do, steer well clear of Middlesbough.”

    I’m waiting for the outcome after having an interview near Middlesbrough! Still those islands are going to get crowded if we all head off to them.

  • 2 saveonarola July 29, 2012, 1:17 pm

    Argh – this wellbeing stuff drives me crazy. You’d think these people had never heard of the correlation/causation fallacy. Isn’t it just as if not more likely that people who had a happy start in life (perhaps because they had comfortable, stable childhoods in which they were loved and nurtured and encouraged to have ambitious but realistic goals) tend to do better and report higher levels of happiness in adulthood?

  • 3 The Investor July 29, 2012, 2:05 pm

    @saveonarola — Yeah, I know what you mean. I think it’s an interesting project to try to state how ‘well’ a nation is doing without recourse to the one (potentially socially ambiguous) measure of GDP growth, but I agree they’re just scratching the surface in terms of findings and whether it’s of any practical consequence.

  • 4 Jay July 30, 2012, 11:27 am

    Thanks for the include here. We hope the ranking system will be helpful to the community!


  • 5 SemiPassive July 30, 2012, 3:21 pm

    Is it the impact of “working” that makes people more satisfied than unemployed people, or is it the lack of having enough money to live somewhere nice, own nice things and do nice or otherwise rewarding things that makes unemployed people dissatisfied?

    I’ll wager that 80% of people don’t really enjoy their jobs and would thus be happier if they could earn the same amount in passive income but spend their time however they want. Anyone that would rather work for the sake of it is either very fortunate to have a job they enjoy, or lacks imagination in what they would rather do.

  • 6 Bird Luckin August 7, 2012, 2:57 pm

    I can’t imagine finding a professional job in Orkney would be particularly easy! Seriously though, I’d have to agree with SemiPassive above with the sentiment that people who work are probably happier than people who don’t because of the money they’re bringing in, as opposed to true job satisfaction.

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