On Not Being Rich

Blast from the past... here's a 2008 article in the Washington Post about how rich people spend their time, featuring one of my favorite psychologists.
Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman has found, however, that being wealthy is often a powerful predictor that people spend less time doing pleasurable things, and more time doing compulsory things and feeling stressed... Rich people spent much more time commuting and engaging in activities that were required as opposed to optional. The richest people spent nearly twice as much time as the poorest people in leisure activities that were active, structured and often stressful -- shopping, child care and exercise.
I was in Whole Foods with a fellow broke college student recently, and he made a comment that went like, "the thing that bothers me the most about not being rich is that I can't walk in here and try all of the expensive cheese they have for sale."

(from flickr user Zengrrl)

Robert Frank's book Richistan opened my eyes to some interesting things about the world of the rich. It seems counter-intuitive that rich people would be concerned about money; but as it turns out, many of them are much more concerned about money than the average person.

It seems like a flaw in the way our brains think about alternative scenarios. Once someone becomes rich, their world changes. They have other things to do besides stand around a Whole Foods thinking about cheese, and so the things they used to care about when they were broke go out the window.


    I agree! If I were rich, I would eat fine cheeses and scallops all the time. But my life already pretty much rules and I am broke as a joke.

    On January 29, 2010 Austin said...

    Cool I get a blog mention.