Excessive money does not guarantee happiness.
Regardless of how many times you hear this in your head, you believe that things will be different for you. That you’d probably be able to manage it, and that you wouldn’t get carried away like these plainly lost and miserable individuals you see all over the media.
Let me tell you a story
I’d like to tell you about a tale I read in the newspaper some time ago.
It’s the tale of an ordinary individual who happens to win $200,000 in a lottery.
It is not a large sum of money, and prior to earning it, she was educated, hailed from a typical middle-class family, was married with two children, and had a quite regular life.
She was overjoyed to have won the money, but she had no idea what to do with it. She did, however, tell her family and friends, and the following day at work, news had spread.
Everyone congratulated her and began asking what she planned to do with the money, to which she replied genuinely that she hadn’t decided yet.
But then something unusual happened.
Her spouse decided to purchase a boat out of the blue. Her children had created shopping lists. Her brothers had phoned her and persuaded her that it would only be “fair” if they each received $10,000 from the money. On top of that, her coworkers and friends began asking her for large amounts of money to borrow.
Even the bank contacted to schedule a meeting to discuss investments.
She eventually decided to just pay off her home loan and put the remainder of the money in a regular bank account, leaving it there until people forgot about it, and then deciding what to do with that money afterwards.
I believe she handled the issue well. But that’s not why I wanted to tell you this tale.
I wanted to emphasize how people around you change when you make a lot of money. And the message from this narrative is not whether you could manage the money or how people’s behavior changed as a result of the money, but rather
How might all of these adjustments affect your happiness?
When you amass a significant quantity of money, people tend to flock to you in order to gain a piece of it.
Even her relatives wanted to obtain a piece of the money in the tale above.
So you’re in a scenario where you either start adhering to everyone’s wishes or irritate the people around you. Due to economic inequalities, some people may need to move their social group.
You will also notice that you are suddenly able to purchase items that you have always wanted to be able to afford, but none of the others around you can.
My argument is that riches may be an impediment to friendships and relationships.
And so, indirectly, a hindrance to your enjoyment.
The friendship wealth gap
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, if my closest buddy can’t afford to go to the spa and I can, I’ll pay for her as well.”
Yes, you can, and I would certainly encourage it. However, consider this: how many times can you pay for your buddy before she begins to feel like a charity case? Or does she begin to feel as though she is abusing your resources?
She may also believe that if she continues to decline offers due to her personal financial condition, she will become that boring “no, I can’t” friend simply because she cannot afford to say “yes” to all of your fantastic ideas.
Because if your friend’s salary makes it difficult for her to ever return your charitable gestures, the presents you provide will just highlight the financial disparity between you two, creating a stain that may be tough to endure.
Also, although you want to reward your pals and would rather pay for someone to accompany you on that weekend than travel alone. You don’t want your charity to be taken advantage of.
You may decide to choose an activity that both you and your friends can afford in order to avoid financially difficult circumstances, but you may begin to feel compelled to settle for lower-quality options than you would have preferred.
It’s easy to reject all of this and claim that true friends don’t have these issues. However, with so many competing feelings – pride, jealousy, humiliation, pity, and empathy – it is seldom as simple in practice as it seems in theory.