Can’t buy me love: Amer­i­cans don’t long for lux­ury, Gallup poll says

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jen­nifer Harper

The ma­jor­ity of us don’t envy the lux­ury life, dream of money or even be­grudge those who have it. Only 37 per­cent of us, in fact, say we would be hap­pier if we were wealthy, ac­cord­ing to a new Gallup sur­vey re­leased Dec. 11.

“Most Amer­i­cans don’t have a strong de­sire to be rich,” said Jef­frey M. Jones, a Gallup an­a­lyst. “The pub­lic tends to think that those whomakealotof­money­de­serveit, but not to think the poor de­serve their lot in life.”

More than half of the re­spon­dents — 54 per­cent — said those with the big bucks were en­ti­tled to their sta­tus. The old rags-to-riches ideal is still alive as well: An­other 53 per­cent said that any­one can be rich if they put their mind to it. We don’t blame money for our ills ei­ther. Over­all, four out of 10 said that “money is the root of all evil.”

It’s a lit­tle more evil to some, how­ever.

In a break­down of re­sponses by in­come, Gallup found that 52 per­cent of those whose an­nual in­come was un­der $35,000 said that money was the source of evil, com­pared with 48 per­cent of those with mid­dle-class in­come (up to $75,000) and 34 per­cent of those with higher in­comes — more than $75,000.

Low­in­comes­did­notsig­nal­softer hearts, though.

“Peo­ple with lesser eco­nomic meansare­ac­tu­al­ly­lesssym­pa­thetic to the plight of the poor than those with­greater­means,”Mr.Jones­said.

The poll found that 23 per­cent of lower-in­come re­spon­dents say “poor peo­ple de­serve to be poor,” com­pared with 12 per­cent among mid­dle-in­come re­spon­dents and just 5 per­cent of those with high in­comes.

There was some dis­agree­ment about money be­tween the sexes as well.

“Be­ing rich seems to have more ap­peal to men than women,” Mr. Jones said.

In­deed, al­most half the male re­spon­dents—45per­cent—saidthey would­be­hap­pier­rich,andthatthey “dream”of­be­com­ing­wealthy,com­pared­with­30per­centofthe­women. Sen­ti­ments, how­ever, are more pro­nounced among the young.

Fifty-nine per­cent of men ages 18 to 49 dream of wealth, but the num­ber drops to 27 per­cent older than 50.Amongy­ounger­women,35per­cent­dreamof­money,drop­pingto23 per­cent over age 50.

Sixout­of10­men­saidtherichde­served their money; women, at 47 per­cent, were less sure of the idea. An­other 57 per­cent of the men said mak­ing­money­was­aper­son­al­goal, com­pared with 44 per­cent of women.

The sur­vey of 1,003 adults was con­ducted Nov. 27-29 and has a mar­gin of er­ror of 3 per­cent.

Mean­while, the rich keep spend­ing. A poll re­leased Dec. 4 by Elite Trav­eler mag­a­zine of 1,027 “su­per­rich”adults—each­with­anet­worth of at least $10 mil­lion — found their hol­i­day spend­ing on lux­ury items is up this year across 14 cat­e­gories.

A few ex­am­ples: Each spent an av­er­age of $91,100 on jew­elry, $52,000 on watches, $36,400 on fash­ion, $34,600 on their per­sonal hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ing, $25,700 on elec­tron­ics and $22,300 for wine and liquor for their par­ties — up from $14,200 last year, a rise of more than 57 per­cent. The sur­vey also found that the rich are get­ting more gen­er­ous, with char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions ris­ing to $94,200, a gain of 52 per­cent from last year.

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