Last year the American Psychological Association launched a study into money and stress. They found that stress about money was really high, especially for those aged 18 to 49. What was interesting was that it didn’t seem to matter how much money people had. Rich or poor, they were all getting freaked out.
This sort of observation leads one to wonder what it could be that is stressing people out so much? If it’s not the lack of money itself, what’s causing it? Let’s have a quick delve into the science, shall we?
Money Doesn’t Make You Happy
Saying that money doesn’t make you happy doesn’t mean you’re saying that a totalitarian communist state will. But evidence from study after study suggests that it really doesn’t much of an effect. Many of the most joyful people you know probably don’t have two cents to rub together. And many of the wealthiest people you know are probably miserable. Now, don’t misunderstand me here: having a bit of money for the basics in life is good. But getting more than you need doesn’t seem to make an awful lot of difference.
Expectations Of Others
One of the biggest problems for students is the financial expectations placed on them. As The Fortunate Investor points out, high-achievers are expected to go above and beyond when it comes to their personal incomes. And this, in itself, can create stress, even if they’re on good money. Accepting the narrative around money and success is enough to stress anybody out. Instead of focusing on the reality of your work and job, you’re getting caught up in worries about what other people think. And since you can’t control what other people think, it’s a recipe for chronic anxiety and misery.
Wealth Creates Its Own Problems
Most people under the age of 30 are just about scraping by while the fat cats at the top cream off all that extra productivity. But some people are doing rather well for themselves in this new economy. But even they aren’t happy. Why? Well, it turns out that money causes its own problems. Many people who get seriously wealthy start living in a bit of a bubble. They lose connection to the people around them and their empathy is clouded. Money can also become a form of addiction, where people just want more and more no matter what the cost to others. And then there is the perennial problem of how to raise children born to an affluent family.
Physical Possession Only Provide Fleeting Security
If you’re struggling financially, you probably want money now so that you feel more secure. But financial security tends to be fleeting. The problem is that owning a lot of stuff brings its own costs. People who have a lot of wealth get tied up managing and maintaining it all. Soon, that becomes the primary focus of their life. They lose their freedom and independence as a result.
Wealth also doesn’t protect health, an even more valuable asset.
***Image thanks to StevePB***