A lot of people who aren’t wealthy really want to be, and it’s pretty easy to understand why. Who wouldn’t want to have the security of knowing you have pools of money just lying around?
Well, it turns out that being super-wealthy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not because it’s a difficult life, but because it seems that being rich can turn you into a pretty terrible person.
It also seems like this is just part of what happens to humans: if you become a millionaire, you really have to fight against not being a terrible person.
Here are 5 big ways that being rich warps your mind and turns you into a rotten human being.
5. You get addicted to being rich
Sam Polk, a former Wall Street trader, says that having a lot of money is like an addiction:
Ever see what a drug addict is like when he’s used up his junk? He’ll do anything — walk 20 miles in the snow, rob a grandma — to get a fix. Wall Street was like that.
In the months before bonuses were handed out, the trading floor started to feel like a neighborhood in The Wire when the heroin runs out.
Only a wealth addict would feel justified in receiving $14 million in compensation — including an $8.5 million bonus — as the McDonald’s C.E.O., Don Thompson, did in 2012, while his company then published a brochure for its work force on how to survive on their low wages.
Only a wealth addict would earn hundreds of millions as a hedge-fund manager, and then lobby to maintain a tax loophole that gave him a lower tax rate than his secretary.
4. You turn into a worse person
Psychologist Paul Riff explains that while having money doesn’t inherently just make you rotten, the rich often prioritize themselves over everything, and everyone, else:
While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything, the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people.
It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.
3. You stop feeling
Not only do you become impervious to any suffering around you, but when you amass a huge amount of wealth, you can even stop feeling your own pain.
Kathleen Vohs, a marketing teacher, put it this way: just the idea of money can make you feel less physical pain.
In her experiment, people who were exposed to paper money reportedly felt less pain when they dipped their hands in super hot water.
2. Pretend money can produce an effect
Kathleen also found that just knowing money is out there can make people work harder on a project… which is fine, except that you’re also more likely to treat other people badly while doing so.
So you don’t even have to have real money to be rude, as long as you can pretend that you have a lot of money.
1. Luckily… the effects don’t have to last
If you’ve been stressing, relax: the pot at the end of the rainbow is that the effects of having a lot of money don’t have to last forever.
If a wealthy person regularly interacts in a meaningful way with people who aren’t wealthy, they also may not be jerks all the time.
What do you think of that information? Luckily, most of us will never have to deal with these concerns.
Make sure you let us know what you think in the comments!