“He does not possess wealth; it possesses him.”

– Benjamin Franklin

There is a growing specialty in psychology for the treatment of those whose financial resources have brought about a unique set of issues. In fact, author and researcher Manfred Kets de Vries, has coined the term Wealth Fatigue Syndrome.

New York City has one of the highest concentrations of wealth on the planet. But as the saying goes, money does not buy happiness. It might be true that at some level, money can actually prevent happiness.

Those individuals who have enough wealth and power to have whatever they desire are struggling with very real issues.

  • Isolation — inability to socialize within their social circle or outside of it. Money sets one apart from others, making real and truthful connections impossible. Financial inequality among friends is extremely difficult.
  • Lack of motivation — What do you want when you could have anything?
    Why try a new venture when you don’t need to? At times, one must risk more and more just to feel alive.
  • Family — wealth brings on a multiple problems with extended family.
  • Children — what is the best way to raise a child in this environment? How do you teach values and morals amidst luxury? One in five affluent American children suffer from clinical depression.
  • Guilt — having more than enough leads to greater and greater feelings of guilt and self doubt.

In my work as a therapist, I am struck at how these individuals are in real pain, yet they compound their issues by feeling guilty that they don’t have a right to their complaints. Please understand that just because you are blessed in one area of your life, does not prevent you from very real problems in other areas.

I believe that wealthy people have a very unique set of problems.  Life is different for them and very few people can relate – which then causes them to either downplay the issues or ignore them.  First world problems are still problems.

“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.”