Regardless of whether you were born rich or won the lottery, money can greatly affect your behavior. Your thoughts, actions, and behaviors are directly connected with your personality. Your psychological behavior consists of factors such as your genetics as well as how you were raised. Although money alone doesn’t shape your belief system, it can influence how you think and act towards other people.
To analyze the psychology of money, especially for wealthy, young people, the term affluenza was created. Affluenza is a cross between two words: affluent and influenza that denotes an unbalanced relationship with money.
How Money Can Buy Happiness
Throughout life, we’ve been told that money doesn’t buy happiness. It might, but only to a certain extent. Studies suggest that the income level where happiness peaks at is $75,000 a year. Those who earn more are not necessarily happier.
So what assures you maximum happiness has little to do with money. A book entitled Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton analyzes different ways money is spent as in material possessions, entertainment, buying time, and consume now – pay later.
- Material Possessions: It has been found that owning better homes, new cars, electronics, household furnishings, etc. doesn’t necessarily increase happiness. After a while, the thrill of something new wears off, and these belongings are taken for granted. Still people hope being moguls will bring them a sense of prestige. However, the satisfaction turns into a labor of love, as owners continuously make efforts to protect them from theft, loss, or damage. Sometimes these new items aren’t what they’re cracked up to be or even become big disappointments.
- Entertainment: Generally, people love events that entertain and add to their life experiences. This includes concerts, festivities, sporting events, gym memberships, and most of all, trips. Not only can wealthy people travel to wherever they choose, but they can make the most of their trip by attending expensive events. Along with entertainment comes social connections with family and friends. Being well-liked and able to help others brings one great satisfaction, and perhaps a higher self-esteem.
- Buying Time: Having ample time each day can make one happier. Life’s major events don’t cause stress as much as everyday hassles. Those who are pressed for time have fewer opportunities to enjoy their money as they feel rushed with high stressed tasks. Hence, we must consider purchasing things that will make time management more efficient as we can achieve more spare time.
- Pay Now, Consumer Later: During the days right before a holiday or vacation, we anticipate the upcoming event more than the days immediately following it. Hence, investing in a planned activity is better than being hit by a heavy debt afterward. Having ample money on hand can ensure this.
Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending reaps reviews as an enjoyable book and is a quick read. It contains great insights, many of which are counterintuitive with the approach most people take with their spending habits. The bottom line: Money can bring happiness if managed correctly.
How Money Can Backfire On the Rich
Apparently, being wealthy does impose worries and concerns for rich people, as expressed on the Cheat Sheet site. Things that commonly plague rich people are as follows:
- Greater Risks/Losses: The more money one has, the greater risks this person faces. Naturally, wealthy people desire expensive items as large homes, eccentric cars, yachts, etc. However, in the event of a disaster, the more valuable a possession is, the bigger the loss. One example is the story of Jordan Belfort, referred to as The Wolf of Wall Street. His yacht sank in a storm off the coast of Italy. However, others have lost yachts costing millions of dollars. Also, wealthy people are more likely to engage in dangerous activities than poor people, such as increased flying, sea trips, driving fast cars, etc. Hence, they are more likely to face life-threatening risks if things go wrong.
Those with lots of money are more inclined to invest it. Buying stocks, natural resources, property, etc. poses great possibilities of loss. If an investor is inexperienced or their investment unexpectedly loses value, this person can “lose their shirt”. Not only will one lose a great deal of money, but suffer from bruised self-esteem.
- Lack of Privacy: Anyone who becomes rich and well-known, if not famous, faces heavy scrutiny, whether it’s people they know or the general public. Now they have the feeling like they’re living under a microscope. It seems like people are analyzing their every move. Such people get a lot of unwanted attention or even mobbed by people in need of financial help. It’s like they can’t make a decision or any kind of transaction without raising the concern of others or upsetting them.
- Broken Relationships: Relationships with family and friends wind up in turmoil when a wealthy person fails to fill their requests. Marriages break up for the sake of money alone as the wealthy person’s spouse attempt to “take them to the cleaners.”
- Form Addictions: As an escape from stress or a search for ecstasy, the rich are prone to develop harmful addictions For example, these may be gambling, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc. By being wealthy, they know they can afford more recreational activities, and of course, get high to feel good. Wealthy friends may adversely influence one-another as well.
Characteristics of Rich People
According to an article published by Time Magazine, rich people are often narcissists. Typically, they have a false sense of superiority over lower class people. For example, they’re more apt to cut people off in traffic, create business schemes, or cause charity scenarios. Wealthy people simply feel they’re more deserving than everyone else and expect preferential treatment.
Typically lower classed people believe wealth would improve all aspects of their lives. This is simply affluenza. Wealthy people face greater risks, ruined relationships, and possibly health hazards. Others believe owning nice possessions will make them happy, but entertainment has been known to have more precedence over assets. Those who lack money management skills tend to blow their wads quickly, resulting in financial problems, resentment, or even depression later on.
What if you were rich? Would you be a happier and friendlier person than you are now? As they say, “money is the root of all evil.” If you happen to know someone who is or was wealthy, you may likely agree.