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10.07.2013How Much Money Is Enough?

The Very Rich and the Wealth Creation High

Russ Alan Prince, Forbes.com

The Very Rich and the Wealth Creation High

Many billionaires cannot imagine spending all the wealth they’ve accumulated. Think about it. As a billionaire, if you spent US$1 every second of every day nonstop, it would take you about 31.6 years to spend your fortune. This, of course, presumes no growth whatsoever in your fortune as you spend it down.

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But that doesn’t that mean billionaires, and those who aren’t yet at this level, don’t want to become significantly wealthier than they are today. Based on ethnological research, a substantial percentage of the self-made super-rich (with a net worth of US$500 million or more) are very much focused on becoming even wealthier. The reason for this is very simple…the wealth creation high.

This is not about deriving pleasure from the anticipation of accomplishments. Nikhedonia (the delight in imagining future success) is available to almost everyone. The high of wealth creation, on the other hand, comes specifically from amassing significant personal wealth.

Coupling the wealth creation high with a desire to change the world frequently magnifies the impulse. Consider the affluent investment banker who always got a thrill from closing deals and putting really big dollars on the board. He experiences the wealth creation high. Meantime, due to a family tragedy, he’s become obsessed with finding the cure for breast cancer. Gathering great wealth to contribute to this cause has become central to his identity. Furthermore, there’s no number that would make him happy – he’s looking to amass as much money as possible, and then a whole lot more.

The wealth creation high is not restricted to the top of the financial pyramid. It’s also present among many of the less well-to-do. It’s commonly a potent motivator for those who want to produce very significant personal fortunes – and even for those who are comfortable with less.

The question many ask about the very wealthy is: “How much money is enough?” In many cases, that’s the wrong question. For many self-made millionaires the motivation to create vast wealth is not about what they will do with the money. Instead, it’s all about the journey. It’s about accumulating vast wealth and the state of happiness, contentment, and euphoria that is an ongoing product of this process.

Many self-made millionaires are socially generous, which is a product and a benefit of their unflagging desire for more and more personal wealth. While there are plenty of exceptions, once they achieve a certain baseline of personal wealth, those striving to join the higher ranks are doing so because of psychological rewards as opposed to financial ones.

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