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Want to Increase Your Anxiety? Become Rich

By: Teri Bernstein


According to Thomas Gallagher, being a multi-millionaire might actually increase one's anxiety about having enough money. Professionals who work in this psychological niche say that those with acquired wealth might fear:


  • not having enough money to last their lifetimes
  • that the money might "corrupt them"
  • that the money might "make them insensitive to the needs of others"
  • their children will be unmotivated, leading them to have meaningless lives
  • becoming a sure source for loans or largesse in the eyes of family members
  • becoming a target for crime

The rich certainly do not get much empathy when they complain about these worries. Those with inherited rather than acquired wealth seem to have even more problems--especially if they have siblings with whom they must work out their differences. 


At least a rich person has the resources to get help to ameliorate their psychological unease. Charlotte Beyer, an author and entrepreneur specializing in wealthy individuals, has this advice: “How you spend your money is the ultimate representation of your values, and you should do it with joy and fun and love.”


Source: "I'm rich, and that makes me anxious," by Kerry Hannon, New York Times: My Money, November 7, 2017.



  • What amount of money in the bank would make you feel rich and secure? What about your net worth? 
  • Discuss the differences experienced by those with inherited wealth vs. those with acquired wealth.
  • When you read this article, did you think, "luxury problem" or "white privilege"? What would you like to say to Thomas Gallagher and others with his anxieties?