Shock horror: the mega rich are happier

Water is wet. Snow is white. The sun is hot. And the wealthiest 1% are more satisfied with their lives than the poor, according to a new survey from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:

Adults in the top 1 per cent of US household income – those who earn at least $US500,000 ($730,000) a year – have “dramatically different life experiences” than everyone else…

The findings show a “near-universal life satisfaction” for the wealthiest Americans as they accumulate more and more of the country’s riches.

Fully 90 per cent of the 1 per cent say they are “completely” or “very” satisfied with their lives in general, compared with two-thirds of middle-income households (defined as those earning $US35,000 to $US99,000 a year) and just 44 per cent of low-income households (those in the $US35,000 a year or less bracket).

Perhaps most remarkably, the share of 1-percenters expressing “dissatisfaction” with their lives is statistically indistinguishable from zero.

Seriously, did we need a survey to tell us this?

Money is by no means everything, and one’s health and relationships are more important.

But not having to struggle financially is certainly far preferable to living on struggle street.

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. its like that saying money cant buy happiness, it doesn’t guarantee happiness but yes it can easily buy you happiness.

  2. Seriously though, there are also surveys that say part of the high-earning segment are also deeply unhappy. They either never ‘have enough’ money to satisfy them i.e. there is no terminal point for satisfaction (or their peers are earning more, doing better) or they are working in highly stressful jobs and suffering ill health, leading to suicide, marriage breakdowns etc.

    It’s definitely not all roses out there in money-land, but in aggregate, yes, it’s better to have money than not.

  3. Seriously, did we need a survey to tell us this?
    Money is by no means everything, and one’s health and relationships are more important.
    But not having to struggle financially is certainly far preferable to living on struggle street.

    and this statement at the end nicely summarizes why the survey results are completely meaningless
    lets neglect relationships as important factor for life satisfaction and look at the fact that there are more of the top 1% earners who are suffering from pain, great discomfort and disability than percentage of top earners expressing “dissatisfaction” with their lives. Just imagine someone making $1m per year being honest about his/hers feelings while answering a survey either online, over phone, or in person – people they are talking to know they their name and their income.

    clearly, asking someone if they are satisfied with their lives say nothing about satisfaction with their lives. All these great biases, expectations and social pressure invalidate results. Rich may report much greater satisfaction than the middle class but in reality they are not. Frustrations,dissatisfaction, anxiety, misery, depression, unhappiness, … as as common among millionaires as those earning 5% or 10% of that.

    It’s expected poor to have lower satisfaction, especially if they are sliding down on an income the scale due to extrenal circumstance or live surrounded by those who have more. But even than, one would not expect much lower satisfaction in a society where poverty is stable or improving.

    This reporting bias runs not only within societies based on class, gender, profession, age, … but among nations where some have cultural tradition of expressing better than actual emotions (e.g. norther Europe) and some worse than actual (Mediterranean region)

    those surveys that indirectly estimate satisfaction based on questions that don’t directly point to the ultimate aim are better and much more moderate.

  4. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Fken rich Cvnts!

    Ah well,…. back to digging my hole on this 37 degree day.

    Sigh

    😢

  5. Seems money does buy a degree of happiness. Even if it doesn’t buy any additional happiness it sure does make being miserable a lot more comfortable!

  6. Warren Buffett said it right – money is like oxygen. Oxygen cannot bring you happiness but lack of oxygen spells trouble.

  7. To quote Michael Caine: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor … I’d rather be rich.”

  8. What if you derailed the Mining Tax, and you screwed Traditional Owners, and then you had so much extra loot, you could donate squillions to bushfire relief? That’s Twiggy’s mega-rich happiness for you.