Some millionaires are missing out on some of life’s great treats. Money, it seems, cannot buy them contentment, health or real friendships. There are, of course, lots of happy millionaires but a fair number of them are not really happy or connected.
The ideal income is only $75,000 a year, according to a Princeton University study. Anything beyond that is no guarantee of emotional well-being!
According to the Hurun report on China’s Rich List, the top five have as much wealth as Microsoft. But this has not automatically brought them happiness. For example, 35% of female Chinese millionaires are either divorced or unmarried. This is twice the number of their male counterparts.
Wondering what millionaires want? Here are some of their wishes:
1. They want genuine human contact
Karl Rabeder used to be a millionaire but gave away all his money because it was making him unhappy. He sold everything, gave the money to charity and now lives in a modest mountain chalet in Austria. He has also kept a mini apartment in Innsbruck.
He decided to do this because he felt that the high lifestyle was false and it was impossible to connect with real people. He also felt guilty when he witnessed poverty. He could not help thinking that he was somehow complicit in the world’s inequality. Now, he is much happier.
2. They want their lives to have meaning and purpose
I’ve got all the money I could ever dream of, but have nothing in my life that really excites me.
– Anonymous Australian millionaire
This millionaire wanted psychotherapy because his life lacked meaning and purpose. He was no longer able to become passionate about his relationships, hobbies or community involvement. After a few months of therapy, he felt happier. He had learned how to regain contact with nature, value his family time and become involved in community work. He felt less disconnected than before and that his life had some pleasure and purpose again.
3. They cannot enjoy any privacy
Juan Rodriguez regrets winning the lottery because he now cannot go out without meeting people who either owe him money or want to owe him money! He cannot enjoy any privacy when he goes out and his life is very boring because he only has dogs for company and he no longer trusts even his own family.
Financial consultants say that with sudden wealth, the winners are very likely to ruin their lives in trying to cope with it. There seems to be high burnout rate among lottery winners.
4. They wish they had looked after loved ones better
Money will not change how healthy you are or how many people love you.
– Warren Buffett
Many self-made millionaires wonder what went wrong. They seem to have dropped the ball while they were so busy making all that money. They forgot to live life to the full and cherish their loved ones. When they ended up as super rich celebs, they suddenly found their lives were rather empty.
As Warren Buffett says, the most important assets we own are our families, friends and partners.
5. They wish they could trust people more
Millionaires have plenty to worry about. They are always worried about who they can trust. They are concerned that friends may turn into sharks because of their wealth. They worry that their children may squander their fortune.
Alan Nunn won the Texas lottery and is generally fairly happy with his active and meaningful life. But one thing really worries him all the time: he doesn’t know whom to trust. He loves his sister but feels he cannot trust her.
6. They worry about their safety
Many millionaires have to lay out considerable sums to protect themselves, all their properties and their loved ones. They live in fear and worry about robbery, violence and burglary, not to mention kidnappings.
A Sicilian woman was very happy when she won £79m in the Italian lottery. But consumer groups made such a fuss that her identity was revealed. She had to go into hiding because she feared that the Mafia would come calling.
7. They want to work
It becomes an illness because you don’t have to support yourself, you don’t have to decide on a career, and you don’t have to worry about whether you can afford to do something, and it can become incredibly disempowering. It’s very bad for your self-esteem. You don’t feel as if you’re succeeding. You feel like a fraud, in fact.
– Sara Robin, ex millionaire.
Sara Robin inherited a huge fortune. She had a car at university and found that she gave lifts to everybody as a sort of penance. But the quote above reveals her unease with not having to really work for a living. She was missing out on so many things. She solved the problem by reinventing herself and set up a bike co-op. She also decided that her fortune was an encumbrance and she gave it all away to charity.
8. They wish they could savor the present moment
Did you know that 15.5% of the people in Singapore are millionaires? In the USA, that figure is only 4.5% while Switzerland is 9.9%. The interesting thing is that the Singaporeans are among the unhappiest people of the world and they come further down the list than people in Iraq, North Korea and Afghanistan.
The problem many millionaires face is that they cannot step back from their rush to invest and save their money or give it to charity. They are thinking that this is the path to happiness and that there will be a long journey ahead. They become so absorbed in this that they can never savor the pleasures of life now.
Let us know in the comments whether wealth could really change your life for the better and how you would cope with all the problems money might bring.
Featured photo credit: Mark Zuckerberg Keynote – SXSW 2008 /kris krug via flickr.com