Rich in America, Part 4: Are the Wealthy Happier?

Not necessarily, as evidenced by the rich celebrities who kill themselves.  I vividly remember learning the poem Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson.  For those who never read it, here it is in full:

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
‘Good-morning,’ and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

What does the survey say?

… wealthy investors we surveyed hew to the age-old maxim. Forty-four percent disagreed that money can buy happiness. That’s more than twice as money said that it can (21 percent).These sentiments are consistent across wealth levels, gender, occupation, marital status, and financial knowledge.

And here are a few thought for those with money and who wish to be happy.

  • Buy more experiences and fewer material goods
  • Use money to benefit others
  • Buy many small pleasures rather than fewer large ones
  • Delay consumption
  • Pay close attention to the happiness of others.



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