To Melbourne for the latest Australian Unity Wellbeing Index, only to find the cursed mortgage is actually good for you – no matter what the income level, renters tend to have a lower sense of wellbeing than those who own their home or are paying off a mortgage.

The index, developed with Deakin University’s Australian Centre for Quality of Life, is based on a six-monthly survey with the latest concentrating on the impact of income uncertainty. On a rating of 10 being very secure about their income down to zero, totally insecure, the survey found nearly 20 per cent of Australians scored five or less, putting their wellbeing significantly below the normal range and at a higher risk of developing depression.

“Income uncertainty is a far more powerful negative influence on wellbeing than petrol price distress, interest rate rise distress and it is even stronger than chronic physical pain at income uncertainty levels of between 0-6,” says Australian Unity.

But aside from income insecurity question, the survey uncovers a variety of other factors impacting on wellbeing. Adults living at home with their parents have below normal wellbeing whether they are earning income or not. Females can handle not earning income better than males.

The highest level of wellbeing for males and females in a household comes when each person contributes between 25 and 75 per cent of household income. Single parents who are not earning money are at an extremely high risk of developing depression – 70 per cent of them have high levels of income uncertainty.

So, parents must boot out their adult children purely for their own good, tell them to get a mortgage and a partner to help service it and then avoid divorce.

And then you can downsize and spend their inheritance.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey