Does wealth bring happiness?

Indians, Indonesians, Malaysians and Thais seem more content about their life-wealth balance than Hong Kongers, Singaporeans and South Koreans.
Does wealth bring happiness?

Some say money can’t buy you love – but can it at least get you a little bit of happiness? Such a question is priceless for everyone, except possibly Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

In any event, a recent report by UK wealth-management consultancy Scorpio Partnership – the latest Futurepriority Report 2012: Asia’s emerging wealthy – took a stab at getting to the bottom of this question: essentially, which nations’ millionaires are the happiest. Equally, which are the saddest? In tough markets, such questions seem to capture people’s imaginations.

Asia’s millionaires happiness index guideThis latest work encapsulates the views of 2,800 high-net-worth individuals with an average net investable worth of $1.4 million across nine Asian markets. The results reveal some striking disparities among the region’s wealthy.

If happiness is the achievement of a positive life-wealth balance, the study reveals that Malaysians, Indians, Indonesians and Thais are the most content when it comes to their life-wealth balance (see first graph, left, Asia’s millionaires happiness index guide). Scorpio has named this grouping the Mints, by the way. And while they may not have as much cash as the Brics, they know how to smile. The least content were Hong Kongers, Singaporeans and South Koreans.


The calculus of happiness has been based on the levels of energy and satisfaction Asia-based millionaires are ascribing to their friendships and finances.  

The link between happiness and confidence in wealth creation ambitions is significant. Happiness does not mean these Mints are sloths when it comes to wealth creation. Intriguingly, those nations with the happiest life-wealth balance scores also had among the shortest time frames for tripling their prosperity (see second graph, left, Wealth goals of Asian millionaires).

Meanwhile, the adage goes that fortune favours the brave. But in Asia, investors now seem to recognise that fortune is also more likely to favour those with good advice. Across the region, the Futurepriority study found that virtually all millionaires are increasingly interested in seeking out professional guidance in decisions surrounding their wealth. The investors are fully aware that they cannot achieve their goals alone and need to find advice.

The recognition of the need to seek professional support is a true step change in the regional wealth landscape. The findings show that the traditional opinion of wealthy Asians as day-traders is outdated and a wave of advised clients is starting to emerge.

The critical question is to whom these wealth creators will turn to get this advice and what financial institutions need to do to get their interest.

Once again, each country displays unique preferences about the providers they want. The insight shows that private-banking services are more popular in India, Indonesia and Thailand, while the experienced investors of China, Hong Kong and Singapore show more interest in online investment providers.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.