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Getting married

Getting married is one of the most worthwhile life events with almost 7 million Brits citing it as the best thing to have happened in their life.

But, only 6% of those in the country who are unmarried say it's something they'd like to achieve in five years' time. So maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be?

Marriage makes us happier with life overall

Think again, you love-Scrooge you.

Marriage is a pretty powerful provider of happiness, with 72% of wedded Brits gleefully reporting feeling happier in the months after tying the knot.

Women more so than men though, with three in four women reporting feeling quite happy with life after marriage (10% fewer men say the same).

Being married is expensive

Let's face it: it costs to put a ring on it. Not only might it cost a fortune to get married (unless you're a budgeting pro), but being married also tends to empty out your wallet.

Almost half of people who get married find they spend more money after their nuptials, with 18.4% of the duly betrothed getting into debt in the six months immediately afterwards.

There is a silver lining though: 9.1 million unmarried Brits go into marriage expecting it to cost a pretty penny. Be prepared before getting married (and save up a little extra) so the drain on your account doesn't come as a surprise.

Marriage gets you more friends!

It's not all doom and gloom though.

According to our survey, marriage prompts us to form closer relationships with friends. Just over one in ten of us reconnect with friends in the months after marriage while three in ten managed to expand their friend circle in the same time period.

Whether we're merging friends with our significant others' or have old friends come out of the woodwork post-marriage, getting hitched seems to be a sure-fire way to up our friend count.

Verdict

Hire a financial adviser and get that ring on your finger (marriage to financial adviser optional).

Within six months of marriage, we:

01/

Spend more money

Spend
02/

Make new friends

Friends
03/

Put more money into savings

Save

Breaking up

While over two in five Brits have experienced the breakdown of a serious relationship, only one in five Brits have gone through a divorce. As you might expect, just under two in five Brits feel worse about their life immediately after a breakup. But it's not all bad news. We gave Britain a virtual hug and asked them about their break ups.*

Divorce brings happiness (yes, really)

An impressive one in four Brits who got a divorce say they felt happier after the experience. While divorce primarily brings more stress to over 18.7 million of Brits who go through it, plenty of positives follow too. We're less stressed, feel better about ourselves and generally feel happy about our lives.

Breaking up has a gender divide

There are some interesting gender differences in the Great British Break Up:

Almost twice as many women who have experienced a divorce say they felt better about themselves afterwards compared to men. At the same time, almost twice as many women as men admit to getting divorced without thinking about it. We're no Cupid, but there just might be a correlation here.

That's not to say men fare any better in the breaking up arena. Over one in ten of our male respondents say they got a divorce "to keep up with their friends". A legitimate reason to split up as any...

Breaking up brings us closer to friends

But there is a glimmer of hope – no matter how messy that breakup might be.

Nine in 25 Brits were able to reconnect with old friends in the months after a breakup, while eight in 25 made new ones after a divorce.

While our friends may well be helping us cry into an ice-cream tub (or drown our sorrows) after a breakup, you might want to curb their influence if you feel your love life heading to the rocks.

Verdict

Break up if you need to (not your friends) and do think about it first.

* We asked our survey participants both about general breakups and about divorces; in some cases, the statistics represent a combined figure.

Within six months of breaking up, we:

01/

Reconnect with old friends

Friends
02/

Make new friends

Friends
03/

Change personal style

Style

Having children

When we asked Brits for the single best thing to have happened in their life, having kids was the runaway winner. A massive 21 million Brits say their children is the area of their life they're most content with. So, do our mini-mes only bring good things? Here's what we found out.

Babies make us lose sleep

Okay, stop giving us the side-eye. The fact that 46% of people who have had kids report losing sleep after a baby is no surprise (we do think that number's quite low though – who are those parenting gods and what's their secret?).

What is interesting is that 53% of women reported losing sleep in contrast to only 31% of men. Is it just because mum is doing most of the late-night feeds, or is something bigger at play here?

We don't always choose babies

Something bigger gets our vote: 25% of fathers say they felt pressure from their spouses to have children compared to just under 10% of women saying the same.

That's not to say men don't enjoy being parents. 15.5 million Brits with kids say they felt happy with life in the months after having a baby. Of those, almost 30% were men.

They're small but they're expensive!

We found that almost a third of Brits who have had kids spend more money or even get into debt after having a baby. Which is worrying considering over 46% of parents say they had kids without thinking about it.

Interestingly, the higher your wage bracket, the less likely you are to spend more money after having a child. 71% of people earning £35,000 or less and who have had kids say they'd expect to spend more money after having kids as opposed to just over 34% of people earning over £35,000.

Verdict

Save up, ask nicely, plan well, and grow your brood to your heart's content.

Within six months of having kids, we:

01/

Spend more money

Spend
02/

Make new friends

Friends
03/

Get into debt

Debt

Moving out of parental home

As a country, few of us tend to live with our parents for long, with almost six in ten of Brits stating they've moved out of their parental home.

We love not living with our parents

The number is even higher for women, with seven in ten women stating they've moved out of home compared to just over four in ten men. This difference could have something to do with the difference in happiness levels after we've flown the nest.

Six in ten women say they felt happier after leaving their parents' home compared to just over four in ten (45%) men saying the same.

Independence costs big

We're a quintessential group of optimists, because almost a fifth of Britons still living at home say they'd expect to be able to put more money into savings once they've moved out.

Two-thirds of people who had moved out of their parental home instead state that they ended up spending more money or even getting into debt. After years of not paying rent or bills (or paying a portion, cos you're cool like that), it's got to be shocking to see all that money drain from your account.

We're keen to fly the nest

Costs aside, 45% of those who still live at home look forward to moving out because it'd give them the chance to experience something new. Others are a little less excited by the prospect, though, with almost 30% moving out without thinking about it and 16% doing it because they felt pressured do to so by their parents or family. Harsh.

Verdict

Gingerly does it – moving out can bring happiness if you do it for yourself.

Within six months of moving out, we:

01/

Spend more money

Money
02/

Make new friends

Friends
03/

Get into debt

Debt

Buying a home

When it comes to life goals, buying a home tops Britain's to-do list. 6.9 million Brits state that getting on the property ladder in the next five years is the single most important thing to them.

It's an expensive climb, though, with six in ten British home buyers stating they spent more money and almost three in ten stating they got into debt after that major purchase.

Surely there are better things to spend our time, energy and money on?

It's a catalyst for change

Well, let's look at the positives. Not only do you get the bragging rights of owning your own home (it's still a lofty goal for many of us), over half of homebuyers in Britain report feeling happy with life after buying property.

What's more, the young'uns are outshining us all with over a quarter of people aged 25-34 being able to put more money into their savings after buying a home. These savvy property owners have managed to make the responsibility of paying into a mortgage into a financial boon.

If you must buy, buy together

If you're not a millennial, you're better off in a relationship if you want to buy property.

Over two-thirds of people who are are single or divorced find themselves going into debt after buying a home compared with almost three in ten people who bought while already living with a partner.

Buying together – whether with a significant other or a trusted friend – seems to be key for keeping that bank balance in the black after investing in property. Just make sure you get a solid contract drawn up, including covering what happens if you break up or if one of you forgets the 'forever' in "BFF".

An expensive impulse buy

Strangely enough, 35% of Brits who have bought a house say they'd done it without thinking about it beforehand.

And, compared to the lowest wage bracket we asked (people earning under £15k), almost double the number of people earning over £35,000 say they'd look to buy a house to try to keep up with friends.

Verdict

Invest in property with someone and get money tips from savvy millennials.

Within six months of buying a home, we:

01/

Spend more money

Spend
02/

Get into debt

Debt
03/

Make new friends

Friends

Relocating

Comparatively few of us have ever relocated with just 34% of the British population moving to a different city or country in their lifetime. Looks like some of us are missing out, because people who did relocate have overwhelmingly loved the experience, with half of them stating how happy with life it made them. What's more, almost three in ten say relocating made them feel better about themselves.

Relocating is somewhat stressful

That's not to say there aren't negatives to the experience. Women seem to suffer after relocating, with three in ten of them feeling more stressed and one in ten losing sleep after the move.

And yet men tend to be the ones with little choice in the matter. Almost 15% of men say they were forced to relocate due to pressure from family, while just over one in ten (11%) say they relocated due to pressure from society. Conversely, more women (19%) say they relocated because of pressure from their partner/spouse than men (12%).

Relocating expands our social circles

An impressive six in ten people who have relocated say it allowed them to expand their social circles. A not-insignificant sliver of them (10%) even managed to reconnect with their old friends after relocating. Women seem to be better at this friend thing than men, with almost two-thirds of them being able to make new friends after relocating (compared to just over three in five men).

Relocating exceeds our expectations

People earning under £15,000 per year are most likely to say they expect to get into debt after relocating.

Reality brings good news. There was no marked difference between wage brackets when it comes to experiencing a financial loss after relocating. Although, if you earn between £15- £25,000, you may be spending slightly more money compared to other earners (it's minimal, mind).

The best news, though, belongs to people earning over £35,000. We found these earners were actually able to report a financial boost after relocating compared to other earners.

Verdict

Give relocating a whirl; the added stress is worth the new friends and extra cash.

Within six months of relocating, we:

01/

Make new friends

Friends
02/

Spend more money

Spend
03/

Have a career change

Career

Getting a promotion

Quelle surprise – a promotion brings with it a boost in finances (45% of us who got one say so). And yet, while just over four in ten Brits say their financial situation needs a change for the better, only 6% of us state that getting a promotion is a major life goal over the next five years. What gives?

Pile on the promotion stress

One reason might be the added stress that promotions bring. You've got new responsibilities and a new job description, after all, and navigating all that newness can take some getting used to.

Almost a fifth of Britons who have managed to nab a promotion say they get more stressed afterwards, with people in the Greater London area feeling the worst about themselves.

Promotions are overwhelmingly good

That's not to say you shouldn't strive to get that bump up the company ranks.

In fact, there's every reason you should push yourself to reach your full potential. According to go-getters who managed to secure a promotion, the top three impacts of getting a promotion are all positive: we get a boost in finances (46%), we become happier with life (45%) and we feel better about ourselves (42%).

Britain is not financially savvy

You'd think that with the cash injection that comes with a promotion, we'd be able to squirrel more away for a rainy day.

Not so. Barely a fifth of Britons who haven't had a promotion yet say they'd would put more money into their savings if they got one. We're doing just the opposite, in fact, with almost one in every 40 Brits going into debt immediately after a promotion (men more so than women, with 4% of men going into debt versus just 1% of women).

While the odd splurge is expected after a money windfall, we can't help thinking something's gone awry here.

Verdict

Strive for better and get the promotion you deserve – but watch that spending afterwards.

Within six months of a promotion, we:

01/

Put more money into savings

Save
02/

Spend more money

Spend
03/

Have a career change

Career

Travelling

Going travelling* is second on the list of things we'd like to do within the next five years. So, what makes spreading our wings so appealing? (And no, "for the 'gram" isn't the only reason).

Just over one in six Brits say their motivation for having gone travelling is to experience something new while almost a quarter of us expect to make new friends while doing so.

Strengthening relationships through travel

But does reality live up to expectations? Broadly yes.

We found that traveling – extensive travelling, that is, not just a two-week holiday – makes us happier with almost seven in ten British travellers reporting they were happy with life in the months after a good romp across the world.

We also form stronger relationships when we travel, with three in ten of us making new friends when we travel alone and one in ten of us reconnecting with old friends on our longer travels.

Travelling is expensive

As we jet across the world (or slum it on a clattering cross-country train because it's "more picturesque") it's inevitable we're taking a hit to our wallets. That last-minute cave dive tour, going nuts on a Pan-Asian buffet or taking a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam don't come for free.

What you might not have realised is how much travel costs when you're back in good ol'Blighty. Over half of women who go travelling spend more money in the six months immediately after a trip than men (of which only 43% spend more after travel).

That said, more men report getting into post-travel debt than women (16% of men versus 12% of women) so maybe it's all swings and roundabouts?

Verdict

Go forth and travel; the stronger friendships and new experiences are unbeatable.

* We asked our survey participants both about general travelling and about travelling alone; in some cases, the statistics represent a combined figure.

Within six months after travelling, we:

01/

Spend more money

Spend
02/

Make new friends

Friends
03/

Reconnect with old friends

Friends

Our experts

Dr. Joshua C. Dr. Joshua C.

Joshua C. Klapow is a clinical psychologist and personal performance coach. He also serves as the Chief Behavioural Scientist for ChipRewards, a health engagement technology company. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a specialisation in Behavioural Medicine from the University of California, San Diego in 1995. He is the author of more than 100 professional articles, abstracts and book chapters in the area of behavioural medicine and health psychology. He is also the author of "Living mdART: Lifestyle Change Made Simple" a consumer-focused book on lifestyle change.

Dr. Perpetua Neo Dr. Perpetua Neo

Dr Perpetua Neo an international expert in mastering the time, minds and sleep of Type A High Performers. She received her Doctorate of Clinical Psychology from UCL and also has a Master of Philosophy from Cambridge University. She specialises in sorting out 'The Big 3' that most Type A personalities mistakenly believe they can tolerate: perfectionism/anxiety, abusive relationships and panic attacks. The ultimate aim being to help her clients feel in-control and confident, rather than simply managing the problem. She consults for Business Insider, Forbes and the BBC among others, and her work is available in 34 languages.

Methodology

The research was conducted by research company Censuswide with a nationally representative sample of 2,002 UK adults aged 16+ between 22.03.2019 - 27.03.2019. Quotas were applied to nationally representative proportions for age, gender and region. All statistics presented focus solely on usable data from the survey. The overwhelming response from survey respondents was that 'upgrading' in life, relationships and work can be incredibly beneficial. Upgrade now to the Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone.

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