# Does wealth bring happiness?

So are rich people happier? I don't think so.
The average rich guy that has a successful job, a benz, a nice, large comfortable house with a pool is probably happier than the average guy on welfare who has to worry about where and when his next meal is.

Do you have to worry about status? Being wealthy doesn't mean that you have to be obsessed with your image. Maybe movie stars but Jim Carey doesn't seem to obsessed.

The billionaire just rolls his eyes when his servents drag him another Ferrari
Then that billionaire you know should rethink how damn lucky (s)he is.

BTW, as I read through this thread, I don't see any definition of wealth. How does one know if she is wealthy or poor?

Different countries have different standards for wealth (obvious). In the US, I'd say if you made $200,000 yourself, family of 4, you'd be very comfortable. That's part of my question- ie, how much money does it take for you to be satisfied? Enough money to pay the bills without worry, nice dinners with relatives, a nice car (maybe deux) and a comfortable good looking house. I wouldn't mind a vacation house either at my favorite ski resort or beach, but that would just be greedy Can't forget about retirement either - enough money for strolling through the park, relaxing bike rides, ski trips and golf/tennis vacations. In short, I'd be happy with$100,000 a year (single), more if I had a family, that's pricey.

The reason I bring this up is because a lot of people (espcecially in the US) equate money with happiness.
That's because Americans worry about what others think of them too much. Even when they aren't rich, they like to play rich (some do, I'm not talking about all of them). Some Americans are known for buying cars they can't afford, clothing they shouldn't be wearing and falling into debt (unhappiness).

We can probably conclude that poverty is less fun than swimming in $20's. Fun equals happiness, and you can at least buy some fun with money. I agree that a lot of americans live beyond thier means..which is why the average household debt is about$7,000. Which is largely due to overextension of credit. However I don't thinkthat americans are the only guilty party here. A lot of other countries strive to live like americans. Japan comes to mind, among others.

What they don't tell you is that it is all borrowed, and it only brings t emporary happiness since you have to eventually pay for it all somehow. That's right, the yellow brick road has a bridge out around the next bend

JasonRox
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Zantra said:
I agree that a lot of americans live beyond thier means..which is why the average household debt is about $7,000. Which is largely due to overextension of credit. However I don't thinkthat americans are the only guilty party here. A lot of other countries strive to live like americans. Japan comes to mind, among others. What they don't tell you is that it is all borrowed, and it only brings t emporary happiness since you have to eventually pay for it all somehow. That's right, the yellow brick road has a bridge out around the next bend I would think twice before naming countries off the top of your head. I know for a fact that in China, it is not borrowed. Japan, I am not too sure, but I sure wouldn't make a judgement if I didn't know. Second, did you say$7000. Is that the total, or for just the TV? Last time I checked $7000 would seem like a quarter compared to the actual average household debt. It's very high. You can never watch an American TV show without someone mentionning financial problems. Why do you need to win$1 million?

"So I can pay my beer tab from college. Well, let's just call it the life tab."
Host: "Your life is on a tab."
"Yes, I never pay my bills. I just take, and take."
Host: "Good luck at winning the $1 million dollars!" Next show... Host: "Here is family x and they are having problems. Let's bring them in." Family comes. Host: "So what is the biggest family issue?" "Finance." Host: "I thought you had family problems." "We do. If I can't buy everything, I go crazy." Host: "How much do you owe?" "Everything I bought after the wedding, including little things like candy." Host: "Do you ever pay for anything?" "I pay at the casino because if I win, I become rich." Host: "Your debt is so high that even if you win, you will still owe money!" "Yeah, but what IF I win twice, three or a million times and then I'll be really rich." Host: "What if your budget anyways? "My smudget is controlled by Visa." Host: "What do you mean?" "I can't spend when they don't let me, so I am forced to stop. After awhile they feel bad or they make a big mistake and then I get to spend more. That's my smudget." Host: "That's it for today. Tommorow we will be meeting with retired folks, who still owe money on their college beer tab." Next show... Family show... Kid (Girl or Boy): "Daddy how much do you make?" Dad: "I make$30 000 kid."
Kid: "WoW! I want to make that too, but plus $1 million." Dad: "I hope your dreams come true kid." Kid: "I was thinking dad. If you only make$30 000 and my friends dad makes $250 000, then why do we have a better car and house?" Dad: "It's called a smudget." Kid: "What's a smudget?" Dad: "It's when you spend all the money now, and then pay later." Kid: "When do you have to pay?" Dad: "I'm not going to pay it. You will." Kid: "Why?" Dad: "Because I won't be around in the future kid, and you'll have to take care of all us old folks with college beer tabs." Kid: "Do I get a college beer tab?" Dad: "Of course kid." To commercials about bankruptcy, lotteries, lawyers who will sue people for saying "hello", credit card companies, car companies, etc... You get my point. I'm done. I hope you enjoyed my little script. Note: If one word of that script is duplicated, my lawyer said I can sue for$1.3 million.

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russ_watters
Mentor
JasonRox said:
Second, did you say $7000. Is that the total, or for just the TV? Last time I checked$7000 would seem like a quarter compared to the actual average household debt. It's very high.
That's probably revolving debt: credit card debt: debt debt: real debt. Debt tied up in your house and your car isn't the same because its always atached to something with about as much value as the debt: you can always sell your house or your car and the debt goes away. Credit card debt is money already spent and gone.

Still, $7,000 is less than I would have expected. russ_watters said: That's probably revolving debt: credit card debt: debt debt: real debt. Debt tied up in your house and your car isn't the same because its always atached to something with about as much value as the debt: you can always sell your house or your car and the debt goes away. Credit card debt is money already spent and gone. Still,$7,000 is less than I would have expected.

Russ beat me to it, but yes, $7K was revolving credit.. I believe actual total household debt is more like 80 or 90K, but I don't remember the exact figure. Also, Russ you're right in that debt goes away when you sell your house, however, that only stays true if you don't upgrade.. and in order to have a place to live- not to mention avoiding capital gains tax. And americans don't know when to quit.. so if they pay off thier debt, they find an excuse to accumulate more. As far as using Japan for an example, I just picked one out of the air, but Japanese tend to model themselves and thier economy after America. You can view it as flattery, or as just taking what works and using it to suit your own needs. Japanese culture is very career oriented, and I would daresay they work HARDER than americans, which may be part of the reason for the high suicide rates there... but that's another topic. Last edited: selfAdjoint Staff Emeritus Gold Member Dearly Missed Japan has a high savings rate. They are soaking up our debt, along with the Chinese. Kid (Girl or Boy): "Daddy how much do you make?" Dad: "I make$30 000 kid."
Kid: "WoW! I want to make that too, but plus $1 million." Dad: "I hope your dreams come true kid." Kid: "I was thinking dad. If you only make$30 000 and my friends dad makes $250 000, then why do we have a better car and house?" I've noticed that quite a few people living on modest budgets (to put it nicely), drive very nice cars. Different cultures probably have different ideas of what may be important. Expensive cars seem to be popular to the African-American crowd, even when they don't have the cash (if you want to argue this, listen to their very materialistic music or simply open your eyes): The biggest example that comes to mind would be the reality TV show "Trading Spouses/Moms" or whatever it's called, where each family trades a mother for 1 week to another family (Fox). In this 1 episode, a Japanese family (incredibly wealthy) took on an african-american mother from the projects of Houston, Texas. Each family gets$50,000 for doing this.

Now, the mother from Houston and her family had large debts, and their house was simply horrible. The first thing on her mind was, "When I get that $50,000, I'm going to buy a Corvette." Not to pay off debts, but to spend more money. I have friends in America with this mantality too. They get money, but instead of paying the bills and debt, they spend it on something else, which in the long run, will keep them in debt. It depends on the way someone is raised too. If a child is raised with a strict allowance and their parents are money-minded, constantly reminding their child that they have to pay back half the cost of their new CD player, chances are the kid will grow up obsessed with these things. Last edited: so how much does it take? We still don't have much of an answer as to what constitutes wealth? How is it that the Democrats want to tax the wealthy if that category of people cannot be identified? Is wealth income? -- or -- Is wealth assets? Whatever the answer, how much? Is a million dollars enough to define wealth? Does it matter if assets are hard, or liquid? For example, suppose someone owns a house worth a million dollars (no loan) and has$200k in the bank; compare him to a person who owns a home worth $200k, but has a million bucks in the bank. Are they equally wealthy (or equally poor)? Perhaps not related, but ... Why is it that the "party of the poor" is so focused on nominating candidates who are outrageously wealthy? Do people such as Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Kerry have a better understanding of poor people than do people who are or have been poor? Mandrake said: We still don't have much of an answer as to what constitutes wealth? How is it that the Democrats want to tax the wealthy if that category of people cannot be identified? Is wealth income? -- or -- Is wealth assets? Whatever the answer, how much? Is a million dollars enough to define wealth? Does it matter if assets are hard, or liquid? For example, suppose someone owns a house worth a million dollars (no loan) and has$200k in the bank; compare him to a person who owns a home worth \$200k, but has a million bucks in the bank. Are they equally wealthy (or equally poor)?

Perhaps not related, but ... Why is it that the "party of the poor" is so focused on nominating candidates who are outrageously wealthy? Do people such as Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Kerry have a better understanding of poor people than do people who are or have been poor?
I guess the definition of wealth is a subjective thing.

wealth could be income or assets, though most financial institutions will look at assets as more solid then unearned income that is tenous.

Someone with a million dollar house and 200k in the bank would be potentially wealthier with current real estate trends.. the appreciation on a house is approx 20%/yr compared with a 5-6% rate sitting in a bank account.

Zantra said:
...the appreciation on a house is approx 20%/yr...
That must be some PRIME real estate!

You are right that wealth is a subjective term in terms of what may constitute a material sufficiency. Same as happiness in terms of what facts, information, circumstances etc. would constitute a content feeling.

About health care, a rich man may feel the same going to the best doctor in the world as a poor man who scrounged up enough loot to see the general practitioner down the block. The rich man may feel the same sense of security from his millions of dollars in stock that always provides his lobster and caviar, as a poor man feels from his job at White Castle, which always provides macoroni & cheese and diapers.

These feelings of security and happiness are up to the person, not the money.

Do rich people really have elevated seretonine levels in their brains, or somehow get stronger emotions than someone in modest circumstances?