Thursday, March 25, 2010

Treat the Rich

"Being seriously wealthy can, apparently, damage your health. But, Phillip Inman discovers, there is counseling for those unfortunates struggling to cope with the stress of a huge bank balance"

The title of this post is the same as the article I shall review which was written up in The Guardian, Saturday November 10 2001. Basically it covers the issue of helping rich people cope with...being rich. Psychologist Ronit Lami she has interviewed many affluent people who develop a bunker mentality to protect themselves from a world that doesn't understand. Essentially, some rich people feel embarrassed by all the wealth they have and and think most people resent this. At first it seems odd (after all, who has ever seen a movie star embarrassed about how much they earn, for example?). Lami had recently joined financial advisers Allenbridge to give clients (we-to-do'ers) advice on how to deal with the psychological spin-offs of being seriously well off.

Psychologist Ronit Lami is the main person in the article.

"Ms Lami says wealthy people have many hang-ups that can be alleviated with the support of a psychologist.One client wanted to invest £10m. "We took him to a succession of fund managers and after each meeting he said he wasn't sure which investment strategy to pick. He couldn't make up his mind," she says."What he didn't realize was that a fear of failure was holding him back. We discovered that an investment in his past had gone wrong and he didn't want to repeat that experience."

Uh...Why did he need psychiatric help? That fear was experience telling him to be wary. If he handles so much money its a no-brainer that a bad investment would make him careful. This is not a major illness or disability, he does not need professional help. ya maybe he may need a pick-me-up to get back into investing but I hardly see how what this has to do with some of the more serious issues mentioned earlier.

Self-made people who run their own businesses are often workaholics and their lifestyle provides a clue to why they can't be happy."One client was worth more than £100m. He was always careful with money. He liked to go out to lunch and dinner but would always leave his clients to pay."His clients didn't like it, but that was just the way he was. Then he built a huge underground swimming pool in £25m house. When we talked to his wife, she wasn't happy. She said they never used it because her husband wouldn't spend the money heating the pool.

This man is not experiencing an issue except that he is a penny pincher. He makes others pay for his lunch, and doesn't heat his pool. Well the second part may be odd but not very.

Oliver James, the clinical psychologist and author of Britain on the couch: why we're unhappier compared with 1950 despite being richer, says while it may be comforting for people on low and middle incomes to believe that all rich people are screwed up, "it's true".He adds: "People who are workaholics tend to be very emotionally illiterate. They assume a simple equation: that wealth equals happiness. What they don't understand is that there is certain level of affluence beyond which more wealth makes bugger all difference.'' Of course there are exceptions. Richard Branson appears to enjoy his wealth and David and Victoria Beckham, though they might have their problems with stardom, seem happy with their financial situation.

Ms Lami says that in some ways it is easier for the first generation wealthy, or nouveau riche, to enjoy their money. They are usually unencumbered by guilt - they earned it, after all.

The first paragraph I understand and agree with, it is nice (in a dark way) to know the guy down the street who flaunts his Mercedes Benz can feel just as down as you do when the Visa bill come at the end of the month.

However the second paragraph about it being easier for first generation wealthy people to feel good about their wealth, take it with a grain of salt. While it is very true there are people guilty for coming about large amounts of cash they didn't ear take this with a grain of salt. Watch any of the reality shows like that awful The Hills and you will see the next generation of wealthies aren't that guilty about the money they're inheriting. Spoiled rich kids are not a fairytale creation.

Ms Lami says people who have problems spending their money or feeling comfortable with their new status, can get help. There are courses on offer in Switzerland, she says, much like the old-fashioned finishing schools but with a modern helicopters-and- champagne bent.

Wow. All I can say is wow. Hod do I get me some therapy?

Children of the rich, according to US business magazine Forbes, will have to struggle with $136 trillion put aside for inheritance worldwide over the next 30 years. Ms Lami says she has counseled several guilt-ridden children.

Is it just me or is this statement a bit general? I'm sure there will be children with guilt, I got a job because I felt it was time for me to start paying for things I wanted as well as some independence. If that's how I feel, what would be going through the mind of a young person with a couple million dollars dropped in their lap? Yet like I said above with a reality TV show as a reference, a lot of people are happy to see free cash and live a life of affluence in a care-free manner.

The first generation suffer other ailments."Managers who start their own business often catch a dose of workaholism. People who are self-made are very hard to work with. They think they are right, because they have created a company and made lots of money. "But often being obsessed with creating the business and working long hours, has killed the love in the people around them - their children, their spouse and the people they work with. Only a few have managed to build up their companies without doing this."

This make complete sense to me. Self-made people having a God complex or an obsession with work received these states of mind from all the hard work and effort they put into getting where they are now. You don't need to be rich either to be a workaholic. here I can see the need for some one on one therapy or counseling.

She (Lami) adds: "There is plenty of research to show that those who enjoy life but destroy the lives of the people around them are not really enjoying themselves. It's true they can go to their graves like that - happy but unaware - but if they have a crisis of some kind, then they look for support and it is not there."

Totaly true, just take a look at the history of any tyrant, (such as a few Roman Emperors) and you'll have proof behind the destroying others for pleasure idea.

"The Joneses they (the wealthy) are trying to keep up with are far more demanding than tie Joneses most of us have to keep up with" he says. To emphasize the point, a survey by Forbes - itself owned by a billionaire - revealed that 37% of the 400 richest Americans are unhappy. And that was self-confessedly unhappy. A little time with a shrink, and the suspicion must be that a far larger slice of the rich list would break down and confess that an excess of money makes them unhappy.

Three words: large charity donations.

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