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It's Not the Stuff That Makes the Rich Happier

Researchers find differences in how we spend our leisure time and work autonomy
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2019 4:00 PM CST
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Researchers have found a couple of important differences between the wealthy and everyone else.   (Getty/Mariakray)

(Newser) – Being wealthy must have its stresses. You might have to choose between a Rolls-Royce Dawn and Phantom. And did you see the Wraith? Still — Chin up! — the evidence is that they manage to be happier than the rest of us, Forge reports. But it's not the new Rolls that does the trick. A study shows it's the way the rich spend their time, more than the way they spend their money, that brings them happiness. Researchers from three universities, including Harvard Business School, surveyed millionaires and the unwealthy in a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. Survey participants were asked to assess their life satisfaction, as well as details about they spend their work and leisure time.

The two groups spend about the same amount of time working and commuting, using their phone and computer, and at leisure, per Forbes. One difference was that the rich have more autonomy at work, and that makes them happy. Another finding is the way the millionaires and everyone else spend their leisure time. Rich people spend their free time more actively, by exercising, volunteering or socializing. They spend time on their hobbies, too. Those of us who aren't wealthy spend our free time passively — on the couch. We watch TV or just rest, even when it's not Thanksgiving. "More time spent on active leisure is positively related to the life satisfaction of millionaires," the study's authors write, "while passive leisure is negatively related to life satisfaction." (Read more wealth stories.)

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