How rich people spend their time

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman has looked at how rich people spend their time, and — surprising to some people — they spend less time doing pleasurable things, and more time doing compulsory things and feeling stressed:

People who make less than $20,000 a year, for example, told Kahneman and his colleagues that they spend more than a third of their time in passive leisure — watching television, for example. Those making more than $100,000 spent less than one-fifth of their time in this way — putting their legs up and relaxing. 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.

That all sounds highly skewed by using rich to mean high-income. Obviously people who are working very hard to make money have less leisure time. The question is, how do they spend their time once they’ve accumulated a lot of wealth and have a steady stream of investment income?

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