Should subjective wellbeing, as measured by life evaluation, be the sole criterion for policies? This article answers this question negatively based on three arguments. First, it is important to distinguish between people's life evaluations, their emotional experiences and their sense of purpose; each has different drivers and consequences, implying that no single measure can adequately subsume the others. Second, while subjective wellbeing provides information missed by more conventional measures, the reverse is also true. This implies that information on the intrinsic importance of other key wellbeing dimensions cannot be derived from just looking at their instrumental value in raising subjective wellbeing. Third, the ‘utilitarian calculus’ implicit in subjective wellbeing regressions shines little light on normative decisions such as the attention we should focus on the worst off or on future generations. In contrast to the ‘automatic pilot’ approach to policies advocated by Frijters et al., this article favours an approach based on dashboards of indicators used to inform all of the stages of the policy cycles, as recently implemented by several OECD countries.