Sandy Stein worked as a flight attendant for thirty years, until at 53 she had the idea to create a special holder that would facilitate the search for keys in a handbag. In the same year, she bought a luxury car, hired her first employees, and earned $ 4 million in sales of her invention.
It would seem that the dream came true … But to Sandy’s surprise, all this success for many years became the reason for loneliness. She got divorced. Previously, the husband was the main earner in the family, and the unexpected wealth of his wife caused him frustration. Relations with friends also became strained: most envied and told her nasty things. Sandy’s entire social circle was limited to a couple of old trusted friends.
When a golden rain falls on someone, it affects all aspects of his life. For some people, this experience becomes very painful. “Sudden wealth syndrome” is causing a deep identity crisis, ”said psychologist Stephen Goldbart, who helps his clients overcome the stress of owning millions. In Silicon Valley, a staff of financial psychologists and consultants is working on this task.
According to Stephen Goldbart, the “sudden wealth syndrome” has four stages:
Like passionately in love, suddenly wealthy people feel invulnerable and powerful. Many of them begin to spend their money thoughtlessly, indulging in rampant shopping and making risky investments. Like Gatsby from the novel by Francis Fitzgerald, they are generous and open. This is the most dangerous time that threatens bankruptcy, as sudden as enrichment. And here it is important to properly dispose of the treasure and be able to save it.
2. Acceptance of status
At this stage, the desire to set boundaries begins to mix with the feeling of invincibility. Shopping is becoming more cautious, and the urge to make everyone around you fade away. In relations with the environment, a slight chill of distrust appears.
3. Search for yourself
People finally understand that they are at the top of the social ladder, and at the same time they realize that money does not determine their own value. Many people feel psychologically isolated from relatives and friends, indulge in feelings of guilt and are afraid of losing their money. They ask themselves: “Who am I? Whom I want to become? What am I standing without my bank account? ”
At this stage, the person has a final realization of what money means in his life and what he is going to do with it. Someone is thinking about their own charity mission.
Many of us have been striving to get rich for years. But if this happens, we, as a rule, are not ready for changes in relations with other people. Suddenly, friends move away (or vice versa, become too intrusive), and relatives who previously did not pay attention, lift up to heaven and begin to show interest in our finances. Suddenly, new family members are announced.
All this is suspicious. “The world is catastrophically narrowing. As a result, rich people prefer to communicate with peers in status, and try to keep distance with the rest, ”summarizes Stephen Goldbart. It seems to you that you are surrounded by an insincere crowd of flatterers who only need your money and opportunities. Each new failed experience leads to even greater isolation. As you can see, big money is a test that not everyone can do.