How different people around the world view wealth/money as?

We like to think the reasons for seeking wealth are universal. Humans, by nature, like to be comfortable, like to have power and like to have the choices and freedoms offered by lots of stuff and money.

Yet it turns out there are some regional variations in the meaning of wealth around the world.

The new Barclays Wealth Insights study, released this morning from Barclays Wealth and Ledbury Research, finds that the emerging-market rich view wealth very differently from the older-money Europeans and the slightly less nouveaux Americans.

The study surveyed 2,000 people from 20 countries with investible assets of $1.5 million or more. They shared some common themes: a vast majority of rich people from all regions agreed that wealth enables them to buy the best products and that wealth gives them freedom of choice in their life. Most also agreed that wealth is a reward for hard work.

But the differences are more interesting:


Asians and Latin Americans were more likely (49% and 47%) to say that wealth “allows me to get respect from friends and family.” Only 28% of Europeans and 38% of Americans said respect was a byproduct of wealth.


About three-quarters (75%) of respondents in the U.S. and Latin America said wealth enabled them to give to charity. That compares with 57% in Europe and 66% in Asia.


About two thirds (66%) of Europeans and Americans said wealth made them happy. But it had a greater happiness affect in emerging markets, with 76% of Asians and Latin Americans saying wealth made them happy.

Role Models

Less than half of Americans and Europeans say the wealthy “set an important example to others to be successful.” That compares with 71% of Latin Americans and 61% of Asians.


Wealthy Europeans are far more likely to spend their dough on travel and interior decorating. Latin Americans seem to put the highest spending priority on education, while the U.S. surges above the rest in philanthropy. Asians are more likely to burn their wallet on luxuries or materials that boost personal status.

What is more, the global financial crisis may have tarnished the image of the wealthy – even among the wealthy. And finally, the longer a country has wealth, the less it craves the attention and respect wealth brings.

What patterns or explanations do you see in the regional differences?

sooner or later the rich will learn an important lesson that wealth does not equate happiness in the long term. sooner or later too they will realised that it is only maya or illusion.

for me wealth is the look of happiness and contentment on the face of the wife and kids and is not measured by how much money i have in the bank but by how big my heart is, how i live my life and how rich my family life is.

i see money as essentials for daily need…as long as it is enough to get a good standard living that is good enough.
if i have more than what i need that is a bonus and i do donate to charity often eventhough i am not rich. i like to donate but there is a limit of how much i can donate but i believe every single coin counts.

you’ll have more potential to live happy if your rich, no doubt on that. i said ‘potential’ as it all depend on one’s mentality, some rich people stubbornly couldn’t let-go, close-minded, everyday worry about personal reputation, everyday scared people dunno they are rich, everyday concern about possibility of losing face, everyday counting how much they can bring to coffin, everyday thinking whether others will cheat or take advantages of them. these kind of people of course, definitely will not be happy no matter how much they have.

the others would be those who know how to utilize their wealth, to experience the joy and materials in human world. imagine, going to different world cruises every year? travel every month? a grand mansion in some private island serving as family retreat when needed? everyone who love their partner & family will hope he/she can reward them with the best things, and most of those can only be accomplished by money