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Money really doesn't buy happiness: survey

AAP logoAAP 22/10/2016 Tom Rabe

Happiness, not money, is now viewed as the greatest measure of success by Australians.

A new survey has concluded Australians regard wellbeing and happiness as the yardsticks for success, not financial security.

And a big reason for this is Australia's extended period of economic growth.

Laura Demasi, research director at Ipsos, which conducted the survey for National Australia Bank, said Australia's long run of prosperity meant people could look past traditional material aspirations and focus on emotional goals.

"I would argue that we're in an the era of post-material values and this data, this research really supports that," Ms Demasi told AAP.

"We're asking them to define success and its really interesting because it seems like happiness and success have become interchangeable, they're kind of viewed as the same thing."

The survey questioned more than 2000 people aged between 16 and 70.

Close to 60 per cent of those surveyed ranked 'being happy' in their top seven markers of success, followed by 'good family relationships,' 'feeling healthy' and 'being a good person'.

While those values transcended generations, Ms Demasi said they were amplified in those surveyed in Generation Z, aged 16 to 21.

"All the stuff we see with everyone else just peaks with them, they have the steroid version," she said.

"They might be the generation where it changes but they're still very young."

NAB chief customer officer Andrew Hagger said he believed it was time to change the definition of success in Australia.

"It is clear that Australians are rethinking success; that they want to live a life that is shaped by the happy relationships they have with their family and friends, by the way they look after themselves physically and mentally, and by being a good person," Mr Hagger said.

The bank has used the research to inform a new white paper, titled Rethink Success.

The research also highlighted a disconnect between how people personally define success and how they think society defines it.

While subjects personally rated happiness above money, they still believed society views a good paying job and being rich as the definition of success.

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