What Is Quality of Life?

Quality of life is a highly subjective measure of happiness that is an important component of many financial decisions. Factors that play a role in the quality of life vary according to personal preferences, but they often include financial security, job satisfaction, family life, health, and safety.

Financial decisions can often involve a tradeoff wherein quality of life is decreased in order to save money or earn more money, or, conversely, quality of life can be increased by spending more money.

Key Takeaways

  • Quality of life is directly related to job satisfaction.
  • It measures non-financial aspects of a job that might lead to worker happiness or unhappiness.
  • Some common quality of life factors include free time, commute, weather, and access to the arts and cultural events.

Understanding Quality of Life

Quality of life is a non-financial component associated with job and life satisfaction. When used in a work-related way, qualify of life often refers to the time and ability to do the thing you enjoy. If a job pays a lot of money but requires so many working hours that the worker cannot enjoy any of the money earned, that is a poor quality of life. If a job provides time to enjoy life but leaves the worker too tired, injured, stressed out, or otherwise unable to enjoy his or her earnings, this is another detriment to the quality of life. It is common today to weigh both salary and quality of life when considering how good or bad a job is.

Common Quality of Life Factors

Commuting to work is a good quality of life example. It is possible to save money on housing by living farther away from popular job centers and commuting to work. However, commuters do not have as much time to spend with family or on hobbies because of the extra time spent sitting in traffic or using mass transit. Cheaper housing areas also tend to be located farther from art, culture, and entertainment. Some people consider this tradeoff worthwhile, while others choose to maximize their quality of life by spending more money to live closer to work and culture.

If your job comes with a large paycheck, but you are too stressed out or lack time to enjoy your hobbies and family, the money you make won't equal a good quality of life.

Hours spent at the job versus free time can be another measure of the quality of life. Professionals may choose to take high-paying jobs that require extended or late work hours on a regular basis in order to earn the income they desire. This may include prolonged business travel for in-person meetings at distant locations. While such choices can increase money to fund their private lives, it limits the hours available to spend on vacation or other personal endeavors, basically, the things they were saving the money for.

Workplace conditions are another aspect of quality of life. Different jobs may require workers to perform under extreme exertion such as heavy lifting or repetitive labor that can tax the body over time, possibly leading to long-term physical impairments. Conversely, a job might drastically restrict the movements of the worker because of limited space to perform their tasks, such as staffing a toll booth or a remote security guard station.

Special Considerations

There are also jobs that can expose employees to potential hazards such as harmful chemicals, heavy machinery, and high risks of falling or another injury. The possibility for harm that could affect their enjoyment of life is weighed against earning a higher salary provided by an unpleasant job to provide the type of lifestyle the worker desires for themselves and their family members.

Quality of life is also an issue when developing a personal savings plan. In this case, the tradeoff involves a sacrifice of the current quality of life to improve the future quality of life. This may include limiting immediate spending by purchasing lower-cost items rather than buying higher-cost, premium items.