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How much would you pay for happiness?

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Happiness has a price - £2000. That’s how much salary almost half of Brits are willing to sacrifice for more free time.

The annual LifeSearch Health, Wealth & Happiness Report 2018 showed the number of Brits who believe they have a poor work-life balance is up 10%, with 44% of people saying they work too much. 60% said they would sacrifice some of their salary if it meant they could have more free time.

Disillusionment is most prevalent among millennials, with 46% saying they have a poor work-life balance and a quarter experiencing work-related stress. In contrast, less than one in twenty (4%) over-55s said stress is a worry.

The annual survey also asked respondents to put a value on their free time spent outside of paid work. The average Brit values their free time at £61,829 per year, but women put a far higher value on it than men – £64,020 versus £59,533. Meanwhile, millennials (18-34) value themselves more than twice as highly as baby boomers (over 55s), £83,701 compared to just £34,651.

Overall, more men than women (62% versus 57%) are willing to sacrifice their salary to regain free time. That said, 6% of women said they’d be happy to sacrifice upwards of 20% of their annual earnings if it meant more time away from work.

Surprisingly, it was not London – which has the longest working hours and highest salaries – where people were prepared to sacrifice most to re-establish their work-life balance, but Scotland (8.4% of salary), Wales (8.2%), the South West (7.6%), and the North East (7.5%).

So why aren’t people doing it? Tom Baigrie, chief executive at LifeSearch said: “Becoming unable to pay bills was cited as a concern by nearly one in five women (18%). Women are also more concerned than men about the prospect of personal poor health (33% versus 29%) and the prospect of not being able to save money (17% versus 11%).”

The survey also found a notable gap between men and women on life cover. 60% of women say they have no life insurance cover at all. With men, the number who said they’re not protected is much lower, with just over a half, (51%) saying they have no cover in place. For those that do have some form of life cover, a man’s average policy value is much higher than a woman’s – £113,032 compared with £94,759.

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