Millionaires are happier than the average person, but it's not because of how much leisure time they have — it's because of how they spend it
- Millionaires are happier than the typical person, but it's not because they're rich, according to Dawn Teh for Forge.
- It's because they devote more of their leisure time to active activities, such as exercising, than passive activities, such as watching Netflix, she wrote, citing a new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
- How an individual dedicates their activities and thoughts can influence how much wealth they build, according to another researcher who studied more than 600 millionaires.
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Millionaires are a happier bunch than most, but it's not necessarily because they have more money.
It's because they treat their leisure time differently than the average person, reported Dawn Teh for Forge, a Medium publication. Both millionaires and the average person allocate the same amount of their time for leisure (around 46% of their time), she wrote, citing a new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
The study surveyed over 800 millionaires in the Netherlands and a nationally representative sample of around 1,200 people.
Turns out, millionaires dedicate more of their leisure time (22% of their time) toward active activities than the general population does (15.7% of their time). That includes things like praying, socialising, maintaining close relationships, exercising, having hobbies, and volunteering, wrote Teh. Meanwhile, the general population devotes more leisure time (30.2%) to passive activities like napping/resting, relaxing, and watching TV than millionaires do (24.3%).
And, while both groups spend around the same amount of time working (16% to 19% of their time), millionaires have more autonomy at their jobs. "We learn that when financial constraints are removed, the things people gravitate toward are active leisure activities and job autonomy," wrote Teh.
It's worth noting that these stats apply to millionaires and the Netherlands only; percentages are likely to fluctuate in different parts of the world.
How we use our time affects our ability to build wealth
The study echoes findings from research conducted by Sarah Stanley Fallaw, the director of research for the Affluent Market Institute and author of the book "The Next Millionaire Next Door: Enduring Strategies for Building Wealth."
She surveyed more than 600 millionaires in America and found that how a person dedicates their activities and thoughts can influence how much wealth they build. "The decisions we make, particularly related to the allocation of our time, energy, and money, impact our ability to become financially independent," she wrote.
Millionaires, for example, seem to put more energy toward personal growth. They spend roughly 5 1/2 hours a week reading for pleasure and nearly six hours a week exercising, while the average American spends two hours and 2 1/2 hours, respectively, on those activities, according to Stanley Fallaw's research.
What's more, the average American allocates more of their time to perusing social media or playing video games, which millionaires tend to spend less time doing: Millionaires spend an average of 2 1/2 hours a week on social media, compared with the average American's 14 hours. For comparison, the Social Psychological and Personality Science study found that millionaires and the general Netherlands population both spend 12% of their time on the phone and computer.
Stanley Fallaw also found that the wealthiest people are better at managing distractions. "Successful individuals are keenly aware of how they spend their resources, including their emotional and cognitive resources," she wrote.
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