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Life satisfaction dips as living costs rise and leaders fail to impress

SATISFACTION with life is wavering for the first time in 20 years, driven partly by concerns over the cost of living, but also by a perceived lack of leadership in both the political and business worlds.

SATISFACTION with life is wavering for the first time in 20 years, driven partly by concerns over the cost of living, but also by a perceived lack of leadership in both the political and business worlds.

Despite low unemployment, low interest rates and a strong dollar, many people's satisfaction with life is starting to slip, states a long-running survey of about 13,000 people conducted by the advertising agency Grey Group, and Sweeney Research.

This lack of satisfaction was translated into more cautious spending. The report described people as "more prudent, savvy shoppers". More people reported buying house-brand goods, which 65 per cent said were equal in quality to other brands. And 78 per cent said they bought as many things on sale as possible, up from 67 per cent in 1992, during the recession.

The top three cost of living issues "keeping people awake at night" were home affordability, retirement and personal finances.

Interestingly, 74 per cent said Coles and Woolworths had too much dominance, prompting the report's authors to question whether big retailers might be the next area of consumer backlash.

The Grey Group's chairman, Paul Gardner, said for the first time the annual survey had found that consumer satisfaction was not following the key economic indicators.

"We've actually got fairly buoyant economic times ... yet satisfaction is starting to dip," he said. "Part of this has to do with the rising cost of living, [such as] gas, electricity. Part of this also has to do with home affordability: will my kids ever be able to afford a home near the city?

"But there is also a perceived lack of leadership in this country.".

The report said the results were a clear call for strong leadership, vision and purpose.


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