Wealth Can Be Pretty Isolating



In a recent CNBC article about wealth accumulation, Lee Yang Shin writes that therapists who spoke with CNBC said that the super-rich feelings of isolation, depression, and paranoia, amongst others, that many other peoples also feel.

In a previous note,I wrote that similar feeling expressed by British billionaire Richard Branson, who told CNBC that money should be sole measure of success.

Most people can’t understand how rich people can have problems. They dismiss rich people’s mental health concerns as insignificant and of diminished importance.

– Paul Hokemeyer
  1. Feelings of Isolation

Paul Hokemeyer, a clinical psychotherapist who treats the ultra rich, told CNBC, told CNBC that one off his client, founding principal of Drayson Mews clinic, told him: “They live in such a rarified place of the top 1% where there are very few people who share the realities of their world”. Hokemeyer added, “Their relationships become defined for what they can provide to others rather than for who they are of themselves”.

Amanda Falkson, a psychotherapist versed in wealth counseling at Psychotherapy City, told CNBC that some of her clients are faced with the challenge of how they wish to be remembered and where their funds should be directed, whether it towards investments, philanthropy, or the establishment of their legacy.

  • People tend to see you as lucky and happy — neither may be true.
  • They too face the gamut of emotions such as grief, trauma, losses and challenging relationships. But in addition to that, pressure on how the money is spent, and who to trust.
  • Wealth can be pretty isolating … sometimes all eyes are on you to see what you do with your money.
– Amanda Falkson (source: CNBC)

2. Paranoia and distrust

According to Hokemeyer, people who are less wealthy perceive that the super-rich have higher social standings and perceive them as a ladder to move up the social ladder. But, the super-rich tend to be more suspicious of them, making their relationship challenging.

Falkson told CNBC that his clients are often bombarded by never-ending requests. “Their relationships become defined for what they can provide to others rather than for who they are of themselves.”

3. Distorted sense of purpose

According to Hokemeyer, people who get rich through their own efforts feel like they control their lives and are confident in making money again if they lose it. On the other hand, those who inherit or sell a business and get wealthy suddenly might struggle to adapt to their new lifestyle and might not feel as confident in managing their wealth.

Wealth doesn’t take away our human needs. And having meaning and purpose in life are very important needs.

– Amanda Falkson (source: CNBC)

Falkson told CNBC, “When there’s no need to work, where do you get your sense of meaning and purpose and structure? Do you become a walking dollar sign? Where do I fit in socially now that I’m not part of my old world anymore? voicing some of her clients’ concerns.