Wealth is portrayed in movies as being the ultimate prize. People buy lottery tickets, hoping to strike it rich. Others dream of attaining riches and exerting great influence. The main reason why being rich is overrated is that it has been shown that money can’t buy happiness. Many millionaires find that their pursuit of wealth has come at a price and that their money doesn’t give them the pleasure, peace of mind and influence that they expected.
Why is wealth so attractive?
People think that being rich will solve all their problems – they can pay their bills, buy what they want, live where they want, not have to go to work, travel and have lots of holidays. Being rich is associated with being famous, popular and influential. Being rich means that you can make a difference in areas that interest you.
People say that having money would give them the freedom to live the way they want but with riches comes responsibilities and worries.
What worries could a rich person have?
- that they will lose their money.
- that they always have to have the latest car, fashion, boat etc.
- they have so many clothes they worry about deciding what to wear.
- that their new possessions will be damaged.
- that they don’t know who their real friends are.
- that they are under constant scrutiny.
- that the people who work for them are cheating them or stealing from them.
- that someone will break into their houses and rob them.
- that people will always be asking for handouts.
And there are sure to be many more worries to consume the wealthy; just think about all that stress.
Can money really buy happiness?
It is natural to get a kick out of going out and buying something new for yourself that you really want. We all experience that feeling. How much satisfaction would you get if you had enough money to buy anything and everything that your hart desired? The buzz we get from getting something new is short-lived so having loads of money isn’t really going to keep you satisfied for long.
Struggling to make ends meet certainly causes stress and unhappiness and so we dream of being rich so that we don’t have to feel the pain of not having enough. However, the satisfaction of always having enough, and even more than enough, would soon become mundane.
So, money can certainly buy temporary happiness, or at least relief from the stress and unhappiness of struggling to make ends meet. Research has shown that humans rate non-tangible things above possessions so it is unlikely that money will bring lasting happiness.
Are you better off if you are rich?
The work that you had to do to get rich, the responsibility of having that much money, the worry about how to spend it and keep it safe, the stress of making big decisions and the strain of keeping up appearances don’t seem like a recipe for a better life. While some things would be easier, from a financial point of view, the negatives may outweigh the positives.
Struggle gives meaning to our lives and gives people the opportunity to make their own decisions about life. The general population can enjoy splurging on a little luxury occasionally, can get together with friends and commiserate about there never being enough money and enjoy the small struggles of everyday life. They may not have mansions full of expensive possessions but they do have the benefit of anonymity and self-determination.
“A hamburger is still a hamburger, millions in your pocket or not” pronounced Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, in a speech to students at the University of Washington. Maybe that’s the answer. When it comes down to it, rich people still buy hamburgers, which is why being rich could be overrated.
So, what do you think? Is being rich overrated?