Why are rich people unhappy, so often?
Happiness and unhappiness are a little tricky to define. People often relate both of these to money, which of course is not the total picture of what life is about. Nothing material can make a person happy perpetuity. We eventually get bored with anything, even being rich, powerful, or beautiful. Being rich is no guarantee of happiness, then.
It would be wrong to say that rich people are mostly unhappy because I think you’d have to agree on how rich is rich and how unhappy is unhappy? Upper class and above, or the 1 percent? Not as content as the average person, or seriously suffering from a mental or psychological issue?
The most I can say for sure is that rich people who care mainly about their money, and not something independent of material things, are the type of person who often ends up unhappy.
(Not all of them. You can be greedier than the average person or more money-oriented than the average person without it corrupting your ethics or lifestyle. I know because I am.)
Let’s take a closer look.
By being rich and protecting that wealth, people can sometimes start overvaluing money over relationships and health, among other valuable parts of life. As a result, most rich people become lonely. No doubt they are surrounded by many people, but there is less trust and more walking on eggshells, in some cases, especially if they are connected to particularly powerful people.
Overall, the reason some rich people feel unhappy often is that they have neglected and forgotten how much they rely upon the presence of family and friends, and good health, getting free time, etc. Money is an abstract concept of value that allows us to buy or do things we want to do in life, but it is not the end goal in itself. Trading the things I said for money is going to have diminishing returns the more you sacrifice. Time is precious, health is precious, and the people you love are precious.
There is nothing wrong with being rich and making more and more money. Especially if you plan on really doing something inspired with your riches. But no one’s going to be happy after working until they’re 65 and scrimping and saving and ladder climbing to retire with a million dollars, only to have only ten or fifteen years left at best to enjoy it. Again, money rocks. What I disagree with is pursuing money for its own sake, to the detriment of other parts of life. It’s like the career version of extreme dieting. People can do it, and it’s admirable in a way, but I just think there are better options.
Anyway, to complement my point, as well as give more context to this answer, I have a relevant post to share: “The Homeless Millionaire: How Making Money Is Only Half the Battle”. If you are interested, you can read that post on my website.
In the end, the point is to not let money rule you, and that there are totally doable ways of getting wealthy without reshaping your entire life and becoming a workaholic.
Feel free to reply if you need any clarification.