k1wi: One point I'll raise is that due to human nature, being in the 'top 1%' increases your happiness very little above someone at the median (or even further 'down' than that). Basically, above a relatively low threshold of 'comfort' or 'sustenance' more money has bugger all impact on how happy you are (because your expectations and aspirations increase in step with your means).
I'll let people put a bent on it either way, but its an interesting factor of human nature.
I agree with that. My wife and I don't earn massive money but we do ok and we have just started building a new house. It is nothing like I thought I would want when I was younger. We invested in more land and built a much smaller home.
Previously we had lived (rented) in everything from a 7 bedroom house to more recently a small 2 bedroom apartment. When I was growing up I literally lived in 3 rooms in my house, my bedroom, the kitchen and the family room. When we were planning our house we were like do we really need two lounges, 4 bedrooms etc and the simple answer was no.
When it really boiled down to what we needed we realised we would save money and have much more spare to do the things we wanted over the course of our mortgage. It also means our repayments will be less than what we paid in rent and should stay that way for some time.
Bit of an OT spiel but I feel so many houses these days are so big for what people really need. Of course this is all my opinion and my experiences. Everyone values are different...