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And being rich doesn’t necessarily make you happy

Following on from last week’s discussion of smarter people not necessarily being wealthier, the mind is a funny thing. What makes you tick? What makes you laugh? What makes you cry?

When you reflect, you introspect. It can be dangerous.

Who are you? Why are you here? What is your purpose? What do you stand for? What is the meaning of life?

Sorry, but I’ve been spending too much time in my mind. More than that, I’ve been spending too much time thinking about things. Two things in particular came across my desk in the last week and it made me reflect and introspect. The first was Paul Pogba saying how he had struggled with depression at Manchester United.

Pogba made it clear that he had mental health problems when he lost the Vice-Captain role under Jose Mourinho, stressing that receiving a high salary does not make players immune.

After this, I finally got round to watching the film Spencer with the amazing performance by Kristen Stewart – who will fully deserve her Oscar if she gets it – and reflected on the fact that the Royal Family have an army of people who do everything for them, unlimited wealth, but are they happy? With Charles, Anne and Andrew all divorcing and having other issues (Epstein?), not really.

Who knew?

And just as great power brings great responsibility, great wealth brings great angst. The more money you get, the more money you want. And then you get annoyed by your circle of people who abuse your money. How many films have you seen where family members argue about money? And take note: that’s true whether they are rich or poor.

In fact, I return regularly to the happiest nation I ever visited (before the civil war): Ethiopia.

I absolutely loved the country and its people. They are the nicest, most wonderful, happiest people, I’d ever met. Bear in mind this is the country that inspired Rastafarianism under the President Haile Selassie, whose mantra is don’t worry, be happy, and you can see why.

What struck me about the people I met in Ethiopia is that they had such little wealth, but were smiling all the time. It made me realise that when you focus on money, it causes trouble and strife; when you focus on family, it creates joy and happiness.

Joy and happiness or trouble and strife? Family or money? People or things?

I guarantee that when you get to my age, you will look back on life and remember all the great experiences you had; the people you met; the things you did; the life you lived. You won’t give a damn about the things you bought.

In other words, money doesn’t make you happy. No matter how rich or poor you are, money doesn’t make you happy. Of course, it gives you a cushion to enjoy the life you live, but focus on the life you live, the experiences you have, the people around you and the things you do. That’s what will give you the most rewards, not the things you bought.

So net:net, rich people aren’t happier. In fact, if anything, they’re more troubled because they don’t know what to do with their wealth, except that they just want more wealth. I’d rather just want more time to be with my partner, children and friends.



About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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