Here is a nice summary of the differences between the rich and the poor. You may track the linked original articles to doom your doomy Wednesday even doomier.
One-third of upper-class Americans say they rarely experience stress, compared to 23 percent of middle-class Americans and 13 percent of lower-class Americans, according to the Pew report. In addition, more than 40 percent of rich Americans say they’re “very happy with life overall,” compared to 20 percent of lower-class Americans.
What we can see from the statistics is the sad reality that rich people are, in fact, leading a better life. We can legitimately say that their shiny BMWs do not impress us, or we don’t want the burden of managing 12 stock portfolios, or say that their effort to turn their house into a fortress to protect their wealth is pathetic. We always want to claim that although we might not be richer we are wealthier. But can we stand if the riches are, in fact, happier?
There used to be a time where many people, including myself, said money no longer jacked up our happiness once we crossed certain income threshold, which was surprisingly low. Take this article from almost ten years ago: You only need $40,000 to be happy
In fact, the rule is well established in research: The first 40 thousand makes a big difference in one’s level of happiness. Happiness is dependent on being able to meet basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. After meeting those needs you need to turn to something other than consumerism. Because additional money has negligible impact on how happy you are. Your level of happiness is largely dependent on your outlook.
Don’t take me wrong, I still believe we need less money to be happy than we think. But what’s disturbing is that the “minimum” level of income we had in our mind, say $40,000 annually in the US as the article suggested, now seems so…maximum.
First, the jobs themselves are disappearing. The world is rapidly turning into a middle-less society, and as a result we are either given a position flipping MacDonald hamburgers or designing a Mac. The former has millions of positions. The latter has thousands. Several, if you are talking about the real Mac.
Second, “social debt” has been steadily increasing, diminishing our disposable income at a rapid rate. Tax rate, food prices, health care, and student loans…is there any “negative income” trend that has been reduced through the last decade? The $40,000 job can be practically a sub-$30,000 job, which leaves us just enough to gain energy…for the next day’s work.
The riches-are-happier research result might be an indication that we are now living in a world where the minimum gold standard of basic income exists as a lottery prize. Expectation is higher than ever, but disproportionally the real deal is getting smaller and there is a huge amount of “social taxes” that will be deducted afterward.
Matt Damon’s late summer blockbuster Elysium, about an inter-class struggle in a future world where the elites literally live up in the air sealed off from the vast majority of poor, isn’t a sci-fi. It is a throwback to the future that is happening now.
We do not need much to live a happy life: that will always remain true. But while we have been busy looking upward dreaming of a better life, we might have missed that our feet has become extremely shaky. In order to walk our life, the ground must be there.