Despite having an abundance of wealth that most of us cannot imagine, the super wealthy are generally plagued with anxieties about love, work, and family and do not feel financially secure. These conclusions were drawn by Graeme Wood in an article entitled “Secret Fears of the Super-Rich”. This article was published in The Atlantic magazine 2011.
Mr. Wood reviewed the finding s of a survey of 165 households with average net worth of $78 million. His conclusions show that not only does money not buy happiness, but that at some point an overabundance of money becomes a burden.
Here are some of the conclusions Mr. Wood drew from the survey:
1) People don’t know how to deal with excess money and will desire more long after wealth has become a burden rather than a comfort
2) Constant luxury is, in a sense, no luxury at all.
3) Being extremely wealthy is no more fulfilling than merely being prosperous.
4) The very wealthy believe they have lost their right to complain for fear of sounding, or being, ungrateful.
5) The very wealthy worry about their children: Will the money spoil them? Will they lead meaningful lives? Will someone love them for themselves and not their money?
6) Money interferes with their relationships—do people like them just for their money; always expected to pay
7) Extreme wealth takes away some of the basic joys of living, such as holidays—the wealthy are always expected to give extravagant gifts; gifts received aren’t so meaningful when you can buy whatever you want.
8) Those who inherited their wealth question their self-worth.
9) The wealthy have a difficult time with work. Those who do work in our present economy may be viewed as having taken a job someone else needs. Also, it is easy for the wealthy to quit a job as soon as a situation arises that they don’t like.
10) The happiest wealthy people are usually heavily involved in philanthropy.
Many of these conclusions mirror truths found in God’s word. For example, the respondents felt they would be secure if they only had 25% more money. That sounds a lot like what God’s word teaches us in Ecclesiastes 5:10, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.” God’s word also teaches us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Those super wealthy individuals who engage in philanthropy have learned this for themselves.
While we may dream of one day becoming super wealthy, we need to realize that having excess money above what we truly need will not make us happy. Happiness and true contentment can only be found in Jesus Christ.