How the Pandemic Has Changed Attitudes Toward Wealth

In the past three years, several key metrics used to define wealth had declined. In 2018, 65 percent of those polled thought wealth gave them peace of mind, but that number had dropped to 53 percent by the spring. Half of those surveyed equated prosperity with happiness, four percentage points less than in 2018.

On another shift, more people said wealth meant success in life – up to 50 percent, up from 40 percent last time.

“A big component of success is still making money, but it’s just not making money to increase your financial capital,” said Baker. “It’s about achieving something in this process, building other things, taking some of this financial capital and putting it into something else.”

Mr Norton said his priorities had shifted to focusing more on the people around him and he decided to pay the first half of his company’s Christmas bonus to employees in May. “I only did it to make sure they were okay,” he said. “I focused less on my assets and my income than on doing the right thing for our customers, but also on ensuring that my employees and my family are doing well.”

For others, however, the prescribed isolation was centered on their minds. Douglas Swets, an angel investor in early-stage startups, said the pandemic added clarity and focus to the investments he and his partners made.

“After a year of Zoom meetings, I can have a lot more meetings, which improves our due diligence,” he said. “We can have more people making reference calls. You will get all questions answered. “

At the same time, Mr Swets, who is married with two grown children, said the investments he is reviewing are not necessarily better given the extra time. If anything, they were actually riskier, but the pandemic gave him a different view of investing.

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