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Why All the Guilt About Being Wealthy?


By Jamie McIntyre

There’s a strange dichotomy in Western culture, with people desiring great wealth but also believing that the rich should feel bad about having so much. We watch TV shows devoted to lifestyles of millionaires, envying their marble-tiled bathrooms, private jets and closets full of $300 shoes, but we also feel like actually having all that money is something to be ashamed of. It really doesn’t make sense.
The basis of our capitalist society is the acquisition of wealth – it’s called the “American dream,” and our economy relies on it. Money provides us with food, clothes, shelter, cars and a wide variety of luxuries, and it also makes our later years more pleasant. But many people find it difficult to enjoy wealth once they achieve it, suffering from an affliction that’s been nicknamed “affluenza” – a sense of confusion, guilt and even depression that hits the newly rich.

Sometimes acquiring wealth brings with it an overwhelming fear of losing it, with the subject becoming increasingly anxious over investments, expenditures over home improvements, and small, seemingly unimportant purchases. Terror of losing money may make someone scared to take risks with their money, even if they made their money through risky speculations in the first place. It can also turn rich people into penny pinching misers, spending thousands of dollars to build a tennis court behind the home but never picking up a lunch check.

Self-made entrepreneurs who hit it big often become workaholics, as if they have to burn the midnight oil to justify their success. They say they’re working so hard to provide for their families, yet their families don’t get enough quality time with them. In the process of building their fortune by devoting the lion’s share of their energies to their business, they lose the love of the people closest to them. But actually enjoying their money isn’t an option for many of the newly rich, who get in the habit of working so hard that they never take a break to play a little.

But money – particularly money that you’ve earned through hard work and smart investing – shouldn’t something that causes family problems and depression. And it certainly shouldn’t be something of which to be ashamed. Sure, movies and television usually portray rich people as mean, bitter people who have no qualms about stabbing others in the back to get what they want. But there are as many good-hearted rich people as there are good people of modest means. Millionaires like Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey create foundations to spread portions of their wealth among those less fortunate – and still enjoy their money, building fabulous houses and flying their own jets to far-flung locations.

So achieve your dreams of wealth and then take the time to enjoy your money. After all, it’s what you’ve been working towards. Being rich doesn’t make you a bad person any more than being poor makes you a bad one – it’s all in how you choose to live your life, so make the most of your success and have a good time!



Starting 11 years ago, Jamie McIntyre took less than 5 years to become a self made millionaire. In the last 8 years as a world leading educator and success coach, he has touched the lives of 165,000 Australians and New Zealanders and recently people world wide, producing many millionaires in the process and helping many retire early. http://www.jamie-mcintyre.com