We spend a considerable portion of our lives focused on the pursuit of money. We’re constantly trying to fund and improve our lifestyles, to imitate the seemingly perfect lives led by the world’s richest individuals. But, as so many songs and films over the years demonstrate, money can’t buy us happiness or love.

Anecdotal evidence – as compiled in a rather amusing Huffington Post gallery – suggests that even billionaires have their problems. In fact, they have a propensity for bizarre eccentricities that would be a serious cause for concern among us mere, middle-class mortals.

Even on a less extreme level, the constant pursuit of financial gain can provoke stress and anxiety. As we’re constantly under pressure to maintain a path of upward mobility, perspective can be lost. In the first world, we already have a tendency to forget about the plight of individuals served by charitable funds like nobleendeavours.org. That distraction from others’ suffering, you can imagine, could theoretically be magnified when big money is present.too-much-money-cash

Excessive wealth can also result in social pressure. Being wealthy – and surrounding yourself with wealthy others – can perpetuate in the expectation that a certain lifestyle will be attained and maintained. While the donation of money for water and agricultural development would undoubtedly be hugely beneficial for disadvantaged communities, those with an excessive focus on money could instead prioritise the attainment of the latest Bugati or Bvlgari.

Furthermore, this focus on physical things and product can see emotions and meaningful relationships fall by the way-side. A constant pursuit of extreme extravagances can, especially in the long-term, be detrimental. Paranoia also tends to rear its ugly head, causing rich individuals to assume that everybody is out for their cash, and nobody genuinely likes them.

There’s no perfect remedy for a harmful obsession with money. Some might suggest that sufferers step away from the stock exchange, to take stock of what they really gain value from in life. Another option for those with too much money could be to donate for children suffering from serious ordeals in the third world. Ridding yourself of some of that stress-inducing money could prove liberating, and also help the donator to relinquish some self respect. Exemplars like Bill Gates prove that charitable donations afford the individual great respect, simultaneously helping them to maintain a connection with the real world, and a sense of perspective.

Living by the mantra “work to live, don’t live to work” will help individuals to avoid falling into the traps of extreme wealth. Hopefully, through attaining a balance, the rich won’t lose sight of the relationships and experiences that make life so worthwhile.

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