Negative Wealth Impacts – 6 to Anticipate and Avoid

If you are planning and working to become wealthy, here are six tips on what the road ahead may bring.

Is this all there is? Develop self worth outside of the money.

You are focused on becoming a success, whether in your chosen profession or in your business. You are working towards financial security, independence and yes, real wealth. As you progress through life, it might be beneficial for you to set aside time to really think about what is important for you and your family. Is it really the money? When you find your “one thing” – weave it into your life and hold on tight to it.

In Richistan – A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich, Robert Frank notes that after achieving success in two businesses and selling them for tens of millions of dollars, Michael Sonnenfeldt still talks about ‘finding meaning’ beyond wealth. Frank notes that Sonnefeldt “had an emptiness in his soul. The business had been the center of his life and now it was gone.”

E. Jane Dickson, in a Readers Digest article entitled “Nothing But Joy” reported that Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder is in the process of giving all of his money and possessions away. “Wealth”, says Rabeder in this article, “doesn’t created happiness. For 25 years, I worked like a slave for things I didn’t want or need. Now my dream is to have nothing.”  Here is a link to a BBC story about this.

Do they love me for my money? Avoid relationship problems.

Because wealth can act as a magnet to draw insincere, hangers on into your life, you probably will want to surround yourself with people you trust, people that have a relationship with you because you are you, not because you have money. Think about drawing up your own criteria to test out new relationships – particularly if your wealth will become well known.

Thayer Cheathum Willis, heir to wealth from the Georgia-Pacific lumber company and a trained psychotherapist, notes in her book Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth – a Lifeguide for Inheritors, that concern over their relationships is what brings most of her ultra wealthy clients to her for counseling. She teaches that we need to have awareness, strength and skills in the area of self-esteem, trust and communication to deal with relationship problems.

Does your money rule you? Plan for more complications in your life.

The more money and things that you have, the more time and money it takes to deal with them. When you are young and poor, your budget is pretty simple and you don’t have investments to watch over. As your portfolio of stocks, bonds, real estate, primary and secondary residences, number of employees and etc grows, you can spend more and more of your time managing things that don’t necessarily bring you fulfillment. Take steps now if you want, to think about how you will manage these complications in the future – so they don’t end up overwhelming you.

Am I ruining my kids? Raise children to handle wealth.

You and your spouse and extended family have the very best opportunity right now, as you prepare for wealth, to get your children started down the best path to handle wealth. Actions you take now can help your children to develop their own drive, grow their self-worth, handle peer relationship problems and opportunities and help them to learn how to walk in step with the family vision and contribute to it.

In Silver Spoon Kids – How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Kids, Eileen and Jon Gallo note the negative effects of affluence as: lack of motivation to work/achieve; laziness; activity overload; overindulgence; a sense of entitlement; insularity and snobbery and extreme materialism. They explore specific ways to raise children in an affluent environment.

How do I compare? Know when enough is enough.

It is somewhat common and very tempting, to use wealth as a scorecard. As you grow more and more successful, it can seem to make you feel better to earn more than 65% of Americans, or have a bigger house with better furniture than your neighbors. However, it can be devastating if this is all you use to judge yourself. There is always someone, somewhere that has more and better stuff than you.

Figure out for yourself, when enough is enough. Then ignore the race and enjoy what you have.

What is there to be scared of? Deal with fear and then forget it.

As noted in our article What Can Go Wrong When You Are Wealthy, there can be real risks that you need to handle when you have wealth. Physical security for your family is one of these. Losing your way culturally (not fitting in with your new crowd) can be another. Fear of losing all your wealth can also be paralyzing.  As you prepare for wealth, learn to identify potential fears, isolate the risk of the feared item materializing and then taking steps to avoid or mitigate the risk. Do the same for your family’s fears. Once you have dealt with them, they will probably not rule your life and you can move on.


E. Jane Dickson, “Nothing but Joy”, Readers Digest, October 2012, p142 – 146

Robert Frank, Richistan, A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich, copyright 2007, published by Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc., New York

Eileen Gallo, PH.D. And Jon Gallo, J.D., Silver Spoon Kids How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children, copyright 2002, published by Contemporary Books, a Division of McGraw-Hill.

Thaywer Cheatham Willis, Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth A Life Guide for Inheritors, copyright 2003, published by New Concord Press

You may also like...