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The Consequences of Money and Wealth

last updated: 11 May 2020 (approximate reading time: 3 minutes; 526 words)

Once money—or more accurately, wealth—has been acquired, there are consequences.

Buying Stuff

Maybe the most obvious consequence of the acquisition of wealth is the desire to spend this wealth. We’ve all seen lottery winners interviewed—the first question is always: how are you going to spend the money?

Displaying Wealth

Any spending of money will often lead to the outward manifestation of wealth—new jewelry or a new car. There may be a move to a new, bigger property providing an obvious sign of more wealth.

This outward manifestation may be intentional—wealth is often flaunted.

Retaining Wealth

Money and other assets forming a person’s wealth can be taken. Cash, cars, jewels, and so on can be stolen.

So with the acquisition of money, wealth, and assets comes a need to protect these things. And when a person has a protection mindset, they change. Security is increased—both in terms of physical infrastructure (higher fences, more locks) and in terms of trust. People who do not own the wealth are trusted less and are assumed to have less worthy motives.

Depending on the individual and depending on the amount of wealth, this need for security can become stifling and isolating. Everything that brings joy to the wealthy person can make them vulnerable—and the more wealth, the more vulnerable an individual becomes and the more different ways they become vulnerable. So for instance, those with a moderate amount of wealth may be liable to robbery where those with extreme wealth may also have to protect their children against kidnap.

Trusting Others

And of course, in trying to protect their assets (and maybe make arrangements to pass their wealth to the next generation), the wealthy make themselves vulnerable. In relying on others to help them achieve their aim, they have to trust someone who has expertise that they do not; that expertise may be in security or investment or any of a range of skills to protect wealth.

These outside “experts” may, of course, have their own agenda—we’ve all heard stories of security experts who sell access to their clients and wealth managers who funnel cash to their own overseas bank account. Therefore, for the person looking to protect their wealth, there is the a new additional challenge: vetting and then overseeing the work of their advisers.

Lack of Wealth

While money—and by extension, wealth—may bring some level of happiness, the consequences of wealth may detract from this joy and may detract greatly. So if there are negative consequences to having wealth, is the answer not to have money?

As human beings, we have a basic need for food and shelter, but we live in a consumer world which means that to put food on the table and to maintain a shelter, we need money. A lack of money therefore impinges upon the basics for survival.

Living without money does not bring happiness. By equal measure, living with money does not bring happiness. However, having money is a more straightforward proposition than not having money.

Finding a level where you have enough money to be happy, but not so much money that your wealth makes you anxious, is probably the goldilocks position.

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Category: writing
Tags: money   wealth