Build Your Luxury Business based on Pyramid of Happiness

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Authentic experiences make rich clients most happy!

Recently I came across some interesting data on what makes rich people happy. Given that many of you out there serve the luxury market, I thought this might be helpful. 

So, let’s dig in and talk about the findings AND some ways to use these findings to build your business. 

Here we go. 

Introducing The Pyramid Of Happiness

It starts with buying things. At the bottom of this pyramid is purchasing items. 

Yep, having the money to buy that Birkin bag or Rolex watch or that new car does make people happy. We like having things. And when we can afford those luxury items and buy those items that puts smiles on faces. 


People buying things that focus on a particular interest or hobby…that kind of stuff brings even more happiness. 

For example, let’s say you were deep into pottery. Buying a particular type of pottery will bring you more happiness than just going out and buying an item that costs a lot of money. 

That’s the second level. Let’s keep going. 

One layer above buying stuff comes experiences. 

This shouldn’t be news to all of you reading this. But this research is another data point confirming experiences matter. And they deliver a great deal of happiness to high net worth individuals. 

Above experiences there is giving money away to a cause(s) you care deeply about. And that makes sense. The idea of giving back rings true. 

At the top of the pyramid is something called: Freedom Inducing Items. 

What are these things? 

Well, let’s say you have enough money where you can buy a jet. This brings a great deal of happiness – not because it’s a jet. But rather what the jet can deliver to you. And that is freedom. 

But here’s the thing…

It doesn’t have to be a jet – and please don’t make it a jet because they are stupid expensive. 

Things like having a personal or virtual assistant. Or having someone that can take care of things around the house. Any of the things you just don’t want to do that allows more freedom…brings the most happiness. 

Hmmmm….interesting don’t you think? 

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Build Your Luxury Business based on Pyramid of Happiness 3

So, What To Do With This Info? 

Two points should be jumping out to you. 

  1. Experiences matter
  2. Travel Advisors are a Freedom Inducing luxury

As I’ve said, most of us get the idea that experiences matter. This has been around for some time, and has been proven with all the revenge travel going on this past year. 


This is a key point and should not be overlooked in your marketing. 

But I believe the real piece of gold that emerged from the study is point number 2. 

Look, planning a trip is hard. 

Planning a trip for a family is a good way to get a migraine or a divorce. 

So, unless someone loves planning a getaway advisors should be tapping into the idea that planning, researching and purchasing a vacation is not a good investment of their time. 

Instead, I recommend the following. 

One: Continually reinforce the idea that planning a trip is hard. It takes a considerable amount of time. And at the end of the day, you probably won’t even get that good of a deal planning the trip yourself. 

Two: Play into the their high net worth status. Here’s an example:

  • At this point in your career, you have earned the ability to let an experienced advisor  plan out your vacation. Much the same as you ask your money manager to invest your capital. As your travel advisor I’m investing in the experiences that will deliver you and your family the greatest amount of happiness. For now and years to come!

Don’t get hung up on the words. Focus on the sentiment. Acknowledge these clients have achieved a certain status.

Additionally, call out they have better things to do with their time. This will help you connect and get your message to stand out. 

One final point. 

Loss aversion is real – even for high income individuals. 

The research showed that if overall income went up – this brought happiness. But if overall income went down…even a little bit. That wasn’t good. It brought about a disproportionate amount of unhappiness.   

I bring this up because you can and should use this to win over high net worth clients. 

Show your clients the value you are delivering and the money you are saving them. This will go a long way to build loyalty and help ensure repeat business. 

So are these findings new? No, they are not. But they are worth bringing up again. 

As marketers we can get a bit intoxicated on the new thing as the cure to all our problems and forget the basics. And tapping into these emotional drivers will make a big difference in your business. 

That’s it my friends. Catch you next week for more good times! 

See ya….

P.S. If you are interested in hearing more about the research, here’s the link to the My First Million podcast

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