Are Rich People Happy?
Updated: Jul 20
In this world, most people believe that the richer, the happier. Can money indeed bring happiness? Are rich people happy? Is the assumption that rich people are unhappy valid? I cannot give you definite answers to these questions. Still, I can share some examples and my personal views about richness and happiness based on my experiences working with those rich, famous, and influential people for the past twenty years. In ordinary thinking, the richer you are, the happier you get, or the poorer you are, the more miserable you become. I know I chose a very controversial topic for this week's blog because many rich people would be mad with me, and the more impoverished people might even laugh at me. Please consider my perspectives as references only, not the answers, or you can skip this blog and move on. Rich or poor does not represent the life purpose or measure the life achievement; it is purely a choice of an individual's learning experience for this life.
I have not done a scholarly experiment to find the correlation between happiness and richness. I cannot provide clear evidence that rich people are generally unhappy. I have met thousands of wealthy people in my life and realized that they had lost the ability to be happy. Although some rich people are glad to have more than others, most do not know what would make them happy. Rich people never slow their pace in making money since they have convinced themselves that more money, fame, success, and social status bring more happiness. Rich people follow the same human desires to have more, achieve more, and explore more. It is an endless game or gamble to drag rich people to swim in the ocean of potentials and possibilities without taking a breath. Yes, rich people entertain themselves with luxury materials to keep the body fit, enjoy present pleasures, let go once a while for total relaxation, and abuse others to release pressure. Sadly, after the irresistible overindulgence, rich people become more depressed and unhappy. After all, money cannot buy happiness.
The human need for happiness is genuinely not money in the pocket, but the joy and support money brings to other people's lives. More for better is a blind delusion to fool people to drop into the hell of desires. Wanting more never stops unless humans begin to think mindfully or consciously. Happiness is not related to money; it is about a person's internal peace, life purpose, and pure consciousness. Happiness is a mirror of a human soul, not materialistic items. To be rich or have more money is not the root of unhappiness; the burning desire to have more without an end is blocking happiness feelings. Rich in the pocket or in the bank account does not bring happiness, but rich in the soul, heart, and consciousness bring long-lasting happiness. A rich person can eventually find true happiness if they earn clean money ethically without polluting the soul. Most rich people I know are unhappy because they allow their desires to corrupt their souls. So, true happiness starts from saving the soul from all kinds of corruption and wrong attempts.
Rich people can be happy too. There are ways to earn true happiness while being wealthy. I have some suggestions for the rich, famous, and powerful people to enjoy their true happiness without ruining their souls or leaving unconscious marks in their lives.
1. Rich and reasonable cause.
Always look at the mirror every day and ask yourself, is my money clean and noble? If not eligible, please go back to check your sources of income and donate the insane funds or assets in your possession to a charitable act to rescue your soul. Rich with a reasonable cause is the essential step for self-reflecting action to nurture a more prosperous soul for happiness.
2. Happiness and desires.
Yes, richness gives someone more resources than ordinary people to make their dreams come true, such as big houses, luxury goods, more lovers, and more excitement. Still, ironically most rich people are not satisfied with what they have already achieved. Their burning desire to be richer never stops in most cases. Rich people generally believe that more achievement brings more happiness. Controlling the hunger for more is the beginning of joy because a happy soul has nothing to do with more or larger.
3. Inner peace and fame.
The richer people get, the less privacy they have in the public eyes. Success and more money make rich people become public figures or icons for others. It takes a big heart, mindful soul, and strong will to remain in inner peace without seeking more fame or public recognition. Many rich people get lost in the fame game without focusing on their initial purpose or pure intention to help others and to be themselves. Taking back self-consciousness is the viral practice for rich people to be happy with the healthy alignment of body, mind, heart, and soul.
4. More money and fewer friends.
Most rich people lose their old and true friends while adding some new, needy and convenient friends. Indeed, money can easily ruin real love and friendship because cash takes away trust and faith in many ways. "Rich life brings me more sadness than happiness because my old friends keep me at a distance from me now due to my increased arrogance and luxury lifestyle," a businessman told me with regret. "Most of my siblings and my two uncles hate me because I cannot satisfy all of their financial requests even though I have done more than I should in helping them," a franchise restaurant owner said to me with sadness and resentment. "My wife threatened to leave me after I refused to buy a new BMW SUV for my mother-in-law," a famous artist complained. Continue to communicate with your friends and family members after becoming rich to reassure them that you are still the same person regardless of whether you are rich or not. Lower their expectations to reduce their increased needs, desires, and wants from you. Please do the best you can to help them under reasonable conditions without pushing yourself too far.
5. Rich with money or wealthy with honor.
Money can buy many things but not honor and respect from others. Some rich people feel vulnerable all the time because they expect more reverence and honor from other people. I know some rich people who have sacrificed their family life, love, and friendships on the path of chasing more money and wealth. Many rich people put their family, social, and charitable life behind growing their businesses and accumulating wealth. Rich but unhappy people become blind to their ego and expanding desire. Wealthy and happy people put their focus on moral principles and life purposes. Rich people need to impress others all the time for honor, but wealthy people live a genuinely happy life being themselves.
6.Money and happiness.
Most people want to become rich to be happy because they believe they will be satisfied after getting rich. They want to be richer to be happy because they are still unhappy after having a lot of money in their pocket. How rich do you need to be to bring true happiness? When is the end of having more and more and more? The never-ending cycle of chasing more money has become a lifetime prison to many rich people. Some rich people do not know how to enjoy the life journey because they put their efforts into more success, more money, more fame, and more social status. Most rich and famous people don’t see the happy ending they have been pursuing all of their lives. More newcomers to the rich people's club repeat the same money chasing games without seeing the light. Money brings momentary happiness to affluent people but resumes the non-stop routine quickly.
7. Fear and trust.
Rich people do not trust anyone, even their closest friends and family members because they fear being cheated or betrayed. "My friends like my money more than me now after my company's IPO in the HK stock market," an IT entrepreneur said to me. "I could not sleep for months because the paranoia in my mind swallowed my energy and spirit. I always worry about the hostile attacks on my hotel business from competitors," a famous hotel chain owner asked my advice. Richness or more money cannot bring happiness imagined, and happiness has nothing to do with money. Happy people are happy no matter what transpires. Nothing can make unhappy people happy, not even there being enough money in their bank. True happiness is an honest expression of how you feel about yourself and others with trust and faith. Unhappiness is a fearful state of mind without confidence and belief in yourself or others. Happy people are always positive and confident about themselves and others without pointing fingers or making an unconscious judgment.
8. Rich outside or happy inside.
There is no doubt that rich people have more material things than ordinary people. Rich people can live a comfortable or luxurious life, but not necessarily a really happy life. "I could have been a good father for my children and a loving son for my parents when I still had the time and opportunity, and I could have lived a different life than counting the days towards my end," a 42-year-old billionaire texted me with this message two weeks before his death. "I want to be happy with honor rather than being rich without friends and health," a prominent company CEO wrote in his blog after being diagnosed with lung cancer. "My son and daughter refused to visit me at the hospital because I left them and their mother for a younger model ten years ago," a successful banker admitted his mistake in his final days. Not all rich people are unhappy, although rich possessions bring more ego than happiness to many people. External satisfaction cannot replace inner happiness.
9. Sustainable happiness and rich status.
In summary, rich people are not necessarily unhappy, and happy people might not be rich or famous. Rich and renowned status is essential to many rich people, but sustainable happiness might be more valuable for living an authentic life. Being rich is great if one can live a happy life with family and loved ones. Chasing rich status without cherishing the present leads to an unhappy and resentful life.