Most people don’t want to be billionaires - study finds

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Most people don’t want to be billionaires - study finds
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Fancy joining the ranks of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett or what’s known as the ‘Unicorn Club’?

Well, you might actually be in the minority.

A new study has found that the majority of people don’t want any more than £8.2 million in order to live an ‘ideal life’.

Researchers surveyed more than 7,000 people living in countries across the world, including the UK, the US, China, France, India and Australia.

The results of the study suggested that ‘unlimited wants’ - an economic principle suggesting people want an unlimited amount of possessions and money - were untrue.

Elon Musk is the richest man in the world (AP)
Elon Musk is the richest man in the world (AP)

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is currently the world’s richest person, with a net worth of $216 billion (£176 billion).

However, most people want a much smaller amount across their lifetime, perhaps because they believe that a higher amount is greedy.

The new study was led by psychologists at the universities of Bath, Bath Spa, and Exeter, and published in the Nature Sustainability journal.

Dr Paul Bain, the study’s author, said: ‘’The ideology of unlimited wants, when portrayed as human nature, can create social pressure for people to buy more than they actually want.’’

He added: ‘’Discovering that most people’s ideal lives are actually quite moderate could make it socially easier for people to behave in ways that are more aligned with what makes them genuinely happy and to support stronger policies to help safeguard the planet.’’

For the study, the team assessed  7.860 people across 33 countries, spanning six continents, to see how much money they wanted in order to achieve an ‘ideal’ standard of life.

How much money would make you happy? (PA Wire)
How much money would make you happy? (PA Wire)

In 86 per cent of the countries, the majority thought they’d achieve their ideal lives with $10 million or less, as well as in some countries that figure being $1 million or less, across their lifetime.

Only a minority - between 8 and 39 per cent according to the country - wanted as much money as they could obtain.

Generally, those with limited wants tended to be city dwellers, who placed a higher value on success, power and independence.

Unlimited wants were also usually higher in countries with greater acceptance of inequality, and those that have a more collectivist approach - focused on a group, not individual responsibilities and outcomes.

Co-author Dr Renata Bongiorno added: ‘’The findings are a stark reminder that the majority view is not necessarily reflected in policies that allow the accumulation of excessive amounts of wealth by a small number of individuals.’’

‘’If most people are striving for wealth that is limited, policies that support people’s more limited wants, such as a wealth tax to fund sustainability initiatives, might be more popular than is often portrayed.’’

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