Here is a developing trend worth pondering (with significant investment implications): the slow death of the family and the emergence of a #MeOnly society. Consumption, travel, housing, etc. are increasingly centered on the individual. Do you doubt it? This is backed by data (the number of young and middle-aged people living alone is soaring) and surprising new trends, such as “solomoons” replacing honeymoons (you celebrate your wedding alone…).

What will this do to subjective wellbeing? The answer largely depends on what being alone means… Will it be “alone” to such an extent that it provokes loneliness or “alone” by choice alongside friends and family? It’s too early to tell, but the early signs do not bode well for the world’s state of wellbeing.

Human beings are quintessentially social animals, and study after study shows that social connectedness (friendship, personal bonds, etc.) is the absolute sine qua non of subjective wellbeing. Some research even indicates that the lack of social connection is of greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. The bottom line: Social connection improves physical health as well as our mental and subjective state of wellbeing.

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