Few people like to admit that the secret to happiness is wealth, but recent Millionaire Corner research indicates that money can buy love and just about everything else.
The idea rubs against the grain of populist America and offends even the richest citizens. Only one-in-five Millionaires admit that money can buy happiness, yet wealthier adults report significantly higher levels of satisfaction in every aspect of their life, according to a survey of more than 1,200 investors conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner in February. We asked investors from a range of wealth levels to rate their overall level of happiness on a sliding scale, with 10 signifying “very happy” and one, “very unhappy.”
Happiness rises steadily with net worth, according to our results. Less than one-fourth of investors with a net worth of less than $100,000 (not including primary residence) rated their happiness as a nine or a ten. Compare that to 44 percent for Millionaires with a net worth of $5 million or more (NIPR).
“Americans express very complex and contradicting attitudes toward wealth,” said Catherine McBreen, president of Millionaire Corner. “There’s a real reluctance to associate money with happiness and love, but our data indicate that the wealthy feel significantly more satisfied with the lives they lead.”
Investors of all wealth levels agree that the most significant components of happiness are, in order of importance, a happy marriage or committed relationship, good health, the freedom to do things that are important to you, and happy, healthy children. More than 70 percent of Millionaires with $5 million or more rate their satisfaction with their marriage or committed relationship as a nine or 10. The share falls to 45 percent for investors with less than $100,000.
Learn more about the link between marriage and wealth.
Millionaires are significantly more likely than investors with less than $100,000 to report higher levels of satisfaction regarding their relationships with their children (59 percent vs. 52 percent), their social life (43 percent vs. 20 percent), fulfilling activities outside of work (47 percent vs. 20 percent), job fulfillment (53 percent vs. 21 percent) and their financial situation (67 percent vs. 11 percent). Money may not be the entire secret to happiness, but it appears to be a significant component.
Ultra wealthy Americans worry that their wealth may have a detrimental effect on their children and grandchildren.