I was talking to my wife recently about the nature of money.
I was trying to explain to her why someone might have a problem inheriting lots of money. A really interesting point (I think) is when people have more or less money than they think they should have.
My guess is that a lot of people have an idea, conscious or unconscious, of the amount of money they should have, or will have. It’s natural to pigeon-hole yourself into a sector of society or to aim for an altogether different life and expect to achieve it.
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However when this balance is disturbed, people become uneasy with themselves. I think that occurs as a result of being thrown off the intended path of life. Imagine you’ve got a mental picture in your mind of what success looks like. You have to work hard, be smart, spend time working towards your goal. It won’t be easy but it will certainly be eventful. All of which goes towards making up the fun of the journey.
Then, all of a sudden you find yourself gifted an enormous amount of money. Your plans are thrown into disarray as you no longer know what to do with your life. That can be the cause of anxiety.
I think it explains why young celebrities can often have problems dealing with their success. As in the case above, reaching stardom could take a whole lifetime of work and part of the excitement is not knowing whether it will ever come. So when it arrives on a plate with little or no effort, no ‘journey’ taken having to achieve this success it becomes a problem. So suddenly it makes sense to make life a bit difficult for yourself by drinking, partying or just spending all the money you’ve earned. Trying to get back that struggle that is all important in allowing you to eventually revel in your success.
I have seen many friends with wealthy parents struggle to understand their purpose in life, failing to find direction when money is not a motivational factor. I think this is an important point for all parents who naturally want to save and provide their children with the very best.
By no means is this an issue for everyone. Hand me £1m tomorrow and I’m pretty sure I won’t go off the rails. However it is an important consideration in understanding people and their relationship with money. This is particularly so when parents and children are concerned.