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Money doesn’t always give the wealthy peace of mind

Last year, Bloomberg conducted a nationwide survey of over 1,000 Americans making at least $175,000 a year and a full quarter said they were either “very poor,” “poor,” or “getting by but things are tight.” Half described themselves as just “comfortable.”

The article attributed some blame to the internet and social media.

"It’s a daily bombardment — private jets, lavish trips, fancy meals, home renovations and other flashy displays of conspicuous consumption. With a few clicks, it’s easy to be left feeling like you don’t have enough, especially at the time when the ultra-wealthy have accumulated more and more money and there’s a growing sense that more and more people are getting left behind," it said. "The dissatisfaction of the mass affluent might seem like a rich person’s problem, but it hints at a potential breakdown at the heart of American capitalism."

A December 2023 study by Envestnet found “a precipitous decline” in the feeling of financial security among affluent Americans from 72% in 2022 to 59% in 2023. Likewise, 62% expressed worry about their financial future in 2023, way up from 46% in 2022.

“This decremental shift reflects intensified uncertainties, market volatilities, and shifting global dynamics which have occurred over the past year,” said the press release.

It could also be argued the wealth-poverty dissonance is at least as old as rock and roll. Even after Elvis Presley became a fabulously wealthy man, it seems he still did B-movies because he felt like he couldn’t take risks.

In 1962, he defended his cinematic schlock to writer Lloyd Shearer this way: “I’ve done 11 pictures, and they’ve all made money … I’d be a fool to tamper with that kind of success. It’s ridiculous to take it on my own and say I’m going to appeal to a different type of audience, because I might not. Then if I goof, I’m all washed up, because they don’t give you many chances in this business.”

Galloway’s warning

During the podcast, Galloway said that from a very young age gaining economic security was important to him. “I didn't want to save the whales. I didn't want to be a good person. I didn't want to have a family. I wanted to be wealthy. And I’m not embarrassed of that.”

He said young people should be aware that if they don’t “live to work” like he does and want balance in their life, they should be realistic about the kind of lifestyle they can afford. "... you're not going to make a lot of money. So you better move to a low cost neighborhood, or have a partner who also works, or do the smartest thing you can do is be born to rich parents," he said.

He continued, “Everyone has an obligation to develop a plan, a flight plan, for getting some economic security by the time they're my age. Because what I do not want anyone is to be insecure, upset, unhealthy because of economic insecurity."

He added that being dependent on your children or parents in your 50s “attacks” your self-esteem and mental health.

“If you start fairly young — and by the way, 45 is young, 45 means you're going to work another 30 years and probably live another 50 — it's not too late and with a little bit of discipline, a little bit of correct decision- making and strategies, you can get there," he continued.

Sitting down at length with a trusted financial adviser could be helpful as well.

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Lou Carlozo Freelance writer

Lou Carlozo is a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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