Time use and happiness of millionaires: Evidence from the Netherlands

Paul M. Smeets, Ashley Whillans, Rene Bekkers, M.I. Norton

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


How do the very wealthy spend their time, and how does time use relate to well-being? In two studies in the Netherlands, the affluent (N = 863; N = 690) and the general population (N = 1,232; N = 306) spent time in surprisingly similar ways such as by spending the same amount of time working. Yet the nature of their time use differed in critical ways that are related to life satisfaction. In Study 1, millionaires spent more time engaged in active leisure (e.g., exercising and volunteering) rather than passive leisure (e.g., watching television and relaxing). In Study 2, millionaires spent more time engaged in tasks at work over which they had more control. The affluent sample belongs to the top of the income and wealth distribution, representing a significantly wealthier sample than in previous studies. These results further our understanding of when and how wealth may translate into greater well-being. All materials for this article are available at https://osf.io/vndmt/
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-307
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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