A traditional lifestyle with a healthy marriage and a family are the key to happiness for the over-50s, a new study has revealed.
Research has highlighted that happiness in the older generations dropped by two per cent last year thanks to a decline in emotional and financial satisfaction.
But those who were married maintained their levels of happiness and those with children had the highest rate of all.
It was discovered that people felt a traditional lifestyle and the responsibility of bringing up children count for much more than money in making a satisfied life.
The most satisfied group of people, it said, are in their 70s, married, retired, have children who are financially independent and feel they have achieved their ambitions, but can still adapt to new challenges.
In contrast, the most miserable middle-aged are in their 50s, are single without children, work full-time for less than £10,000 a year, and live in Northern Ireland.
The research, found that the number of over-50s satisfied with their finances had fallen by ten per cent due to the recession, rising retirement ages and falling retirement incomes.
However, the study, conducted by RIAS found that wealth was not the main reason for happiness in older generations.
Most people revealed that they were content with earning between £17,000 and £23,000 and only those with an income of less than £10,00 were said to be unhappy.
The figures also revealed emotional satisfaction dropped by 17 per cent, believed to be due to the increase in numbers of divorces among older people.
While levels of divorce have fallen steadily, divorces among the middle-aged have been defying the trend by rising.
The study found that 46 per cent of married people were happy with their lives, compared with 22 per cent of single people.
The report also found that the place older people lived was crucial to to their levels of happiness.
It found that those living in the South West of England were the most content, but in contrast the most miserable middle-aged lived in Northern Ireland.
It was also highlighted that those over-70 were a lot more satisfied that those over-50 suggesting a need to re-evaluate how we view happiness in relation to age and money.
The report said that the most important things for over-50s satisfaction are the feeling of control, emotional happiness, satisfaction with time spent working and the contribution that they are making to society.
Money is the least important. Those living a traditional lifestyle – married with children, fully retired – are the most satisfied overall.