If you're happy and you know it, you're probably a man.
Statistics revealed in the next edition of the Journal of Happiness Studies found that, on average, by the time men reach their 48th year of life their happiness exceeds that of women.
Century-long, nationally-based data on unfulfilled desires were analyzed by University of Cambridge expert Anke Plagnol and University of Southern California Economist Richard Easterlin.
The two “F’s,” family and finances, are the foundation of life desires between the two sexes. In their extensive research linking factors such as birth, relationships, education and race, Plagnol and Easterlin found that a woman is at a happier state than a man earlier in life, which hints at the dissatisfaction of men in their 20’s.
During the phase of a man’s life when he is most likely to be single and sad one other element can also be considered. Plagnol describes how the fulfillment of aspirations in men is a relatively slow process. “Men come closer to fulfilling their aspirations, are more satisfied with their family lives and financial situations, and are the happier of the two," she says about life after 20.
Contrary to the high divorce rate, nine out of ten men and women aspire to have a happy marriage. However, when it comes to financial wishes men's “reach-for-the-sky” attitude doesn’t pay off until later in life.
The large difference in financial aspirations between men and women simply stated as a “shortfall” by the researchers mirrors a man's want for more. This is something they obtain around age 41, as portrayed through bigger investments in things like cars and vacation homes.
Women begin their pitfall in the happiness area if they aren’t married. One statistic that solidifies the unease of women in their later years has to do with men having a higher chance of being married by age 34 than women.
"Of course, one doesn't have to be married to be happy, but if that's something you really want – and it is for most people – then the failure to attain it can have an impact on your overall happiness," says Plagnol, which is something that may give hope to the women walking further and further down sad street.
The combination of a higher chance of being married and a lucrative financial situation creates the aroma of a happy man at age 48, which continues throughout the rest of his life.
By age 64, if a man and a woman sat next to each other on a park bench for example, placing a bet in favor of the man with regards to overall satisfaction in life, the financially stable, married man would be most likely to win—making him very happy.