Sleep and Other Surprising Economic Factors
As a result of all modern society’s demands, researchers say people are sleeping less than ever. Common sleep inhibitors include stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of physical activity and excessive electronic media use.1
Sleep deprivation may be detrimental to one’s health, but there’s an economic toll as well. One recent study found that as much as 3 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) is lost due to the collective impact of worker sleep loss (and hence, productivity).2
Another factor impacting our economy is timing. It may sound oversimplified, but the concept of “what goes up must come down” often applies to business cycles. For example, Barack Obama took office during one of the lowest points of the business cycle, so regardless of his policies there was generally no way to go but up.3
This is an interesting point, especially in a new year with a new presidential administration. Presidents are going to come and go. Business cycles are going to flourish and decline. And people are going to work and retire.
There is also a correlation between happiness and economic output, but not in the way you might think. One 2016 index showed many Western countries with high GDPs actually ranked low on the scale of happiness. There are no European countries in the top 10, the U.K. ranks 34 and the U.S. comes in at a dismal 108. What are the factors that lead to long-term happiness among citizens? Costa Rica, which is in first place, got rid of its military back in 1949 and reallocated all of that funding toward education and health care. It also produces 99 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.4
Speaking of quality of life, some cities that struggled post-recession have come to realize that beautifying their environs can improve talent recruitment for local companies. Perhaps that’s why mid-sized and small cities in the South and West that have invested in building green parks, bike lanes and cultural venues have attracted more college-educated young people.5 After all, a happy employee is usually a productive one, and productive companies produce a higher GDP.
Our goals for a confident financial future shouldn’t change based on who’s in the White House, or even if the economy is moving up or down. Please feel free to contact us to discuss creating retirement strategies through the use of insurance products that can help you work toward your long-term retirement income goals.
1 Rand Corporation. 2016. “Why Sleep Matters: Quantifying the Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep.” http://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/the-value-of-the-sleep-economy.html. Accessed Dec. 30, 2016.
3 James DePorre. The Street. November 2016. “Rev’s Forum: 3 Factors That Will Drive the Market Action in 2017.” Dec. 28, 2016. http://realmoney.thestreet.com/articles/12/30/2016/revs-forum-3-factors-will-drive-market-action-2017. Accessed Dec 30, 2016.
4 Bert Oliver. Thought Leader. Dec. 30, 2016. “The ‘happiest’ nations in the world – what do they have in common?” http://thoughtleader.co.za/bertolivier/2016/12/30/the-happiest-nations-in-the-world-what-do-they-have-in-common/. Accessed Dec 30, 2016.
5 Richard Florida and Andrew Small. CityLab. Dec. 28, 2016. “Why Quality of Place Matters.” http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/12/why-quality-of-place-matters/509876/. Accessed Dec. 30, 2016.
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