13 January 2011

Shocking poll: The wealthy happy despite recession

The wealthy are happy.

Truly stunning, I know. But the numbers don't lie: as it happens, nearly 71% of the 1900 households surveyed (average income of $235,000/year) report being happy, a huge increase over the 40% who felt that way back in 2007.

Why the sudden explosion of satisfaction and contentment? I wondered that, myself. Unfortunately, I'm only able to relay what I found now, after being forced to seek immediate medical attention to repair the detached retina caused by the spastic, involuntary eye roll that occurred as I read further into the NYT's story:
"Interest in luxury is trending up, but this interest is qualitatively different from the unbridled enthusiasm that characterized ... the mid-2000s," said Jim Taylor, Harrison Group's vice chairman. "People take pride in the way they have managed their finances and family through the recession."

And this pride had led to happiness among the rich, with 71 percent saying they are happy, up from 40 percent in 2007.

"It's because they didn't know they could survive something this bad," Taylor told the Luxury Marketing Council of New York on Wednesday. "They have got competent, they have gotten close to their family, they have self-esteem from their ability to handle a crisis."

"Happiness is now the abiding object of affluent American life, not success," he said. "They're really happy with their ability to operate under pressure."

It's like seeing the lessons of my father brought to life--the intrinsic reward of personal accomplishment and satisfaction in a job well done. Think about it: it has to be incredibly self-affirming to find out you can still "survive" and "handle a crisis" scraping by on--on average--only about a quarter-million dollars per year. The men and women who were able to successfully shepherd their families through that living hell of domestic vacations, non-touch iPods, and C-Class Mercedes should be proud--dammit--cut, as they are, from the same hardy cloth as our pioneering forefathers.

Like so many before them, they've weathered the storm and come out the other side the better for it; voyaging, now, into their futures, sustained by the knowledge that they can rely on themselves, come hell or high water. (Possibly even come "still" over "sparking.") The light from their example of fortitude shines far, even reaching the America that the other 90% of us occupy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're mocking--and I would too except you got there first. But I wonder sometimes how the "survivors" feel--besides smug. Do they ever wonder how it feels not to survive intact--to have to go BK, or live in a house that will always be mortgaged for more than it's worth--always? To see their savings slip away. Their kids not go to college? Or their kids stay home or come back home? To see some posturing president swanning around in his jet, yak yak yakking without a clue about the real world. You know what? I think these people think it's their innate superiority that allowed them not to be wiped out. They think they are better and entitled to everything they have--and more if they can get it. Everyone else is just a dope. Well, stuff happens.

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