The 5 Secrets of Happy, Rich People That You Can Learn From

Rich and happy? Is that really a question?

The Beatles sang that "money can't buy me love," which has been argued with some cynicism ever since.

More money does, in fact, make us happier — up to a point. The rich can teach us a little bit about happiness, even beyond the fleeting happiness of spending money. But only if we understand that simply having (and spending) more money doesn't make us happier. It's how we spend it that counts.

Here are some tips from the lifestyles of the rich that apply to anyone, even those of us in the more modest income brackets.

1. They Value Education

Rich folks are famous for doing their homework. They make sure they do a thorough study before investing money, for example, and frequently alarm business associates by backing out of deals at the last minute, not because they got emotional, but for the opposite reason — because digging into an issue finally revealed it was a risky investment.

What about education in general? Psychologist Laura Carstensen, the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, is among those who believe education is linked directly to both longevity and happiness. "People with more education get better jobs that pay more money, are less physically demanding, and provide more enjoyment. They live in safer neighborhoods, practice healthier lifestyles, and have less stress," Carstensen said.

2. They Give to Charity

One reason that group therapy sessions work, according to Irvin Yalom, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, is because of the altruism involved. While you have your own problems to stew about, helping others feels good. "Research finds that acts of kindness — especially spontaneous, out-of-the ordinary ones — can boost happiness in the person doing the good deed."

3. They Have Productive, Meaningful Work

You win the lottery — more samollians than you ever dreamed you'd be worth. So you go on a world tour, buy a beach house, and sit on the beach. You can have a party every night or you can get up and get a job. Unfortunately, many choose the latter.

None other than Sigmund Freud has your back here. Human beings, he said, require love and work to be happy. More recent studies confirm Freud's intuition. In addition to satisfying family, community, and spiritual lives, a satisfying work life makes us happier.

4. They Avoid Television (and Other Time-Drains)

The hours some folks spend watching re-runs! Rich folks certainly watch television, but they are apt to watch the nightly news and their favorite sports team. They do not surf the channels looking for a purpose in life, and people who watch less television have been found to be happier. The rich, generally speaking, do not waste a lot of time. Down time is spent being social, not anti-social. In fact, high earners enjoy less leisure time than do those who earn less. Maybe because their meaningful, productive work offers so much happiness.

5. They Know When to Quit

The sunk-cost fallacy is the tendency to keep pursuing a losing situation. In business that means spending more to support a money-losing product. You don't get rich doing that. In daily life that means continuing with habits or patterns that don't make us happier — or worse — make us less happy. (See also: How Your Brain Screws Up Your Money and Your Love Life)

Stop throwing good money after bad. It's not easy — in fact, we may be evolutionarily rigged to keep at it when we probably should quit — but some simple mindfulness tricks can help you make the right decision, including the decision to quit wasting your time and your money.

What else do happy rich people do? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

Thanks for sharing this post. A lot of times I thought that wealth and happiness cannot be mixed but it looks like they can. It is a matter of having the right attitude to make sure that your wealth will not get in the way of your happiness.