The Amount and Source of Millionaires' Wealth (Moderately) Predict Their Happiness

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2018 May;44(5):684-699. doi: 10.1177/0146167217744766. Epub 2018 Jan 11.


Two samples of more than 4,000 millionaires reveal two primary findings: First, only at high levels of wealth-in excess of US$8 million (Study 1) and US$10 million (Study 2)-are wealthier millionaires happier than millionaires with lower levels of wealth, though these differences are modest in magnitude. Second, controlling for total wealth, millionaires who have earned their wealth are moderately happier than those who inherited it. Taken together, these results suggest that, among millionaires, wealth may be likely to pay off in greater happiness only at very high levels of wealth, and when that wealth was earned rather than inherited.

Keywords: happiness; income; money; wealth; well-being.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Socioeconomic Factors