Does the Thought of Wealth Scare You?

One of the things I read recently in The Week was that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling still sometimes worries that she won’t always be rich. Additionally, she also feels a bit guilty about all of her wealth. There are days when the idea that I might some day be rich scares me a little bit, too.

Here are two of the reasons:

What If I Blow It?

Rowling worries that something might happen to her money. According to the Daily Mail, she said, “I thought I mustn’t blow this: I’ve got some money, I mustn’t do anything stupid with it.”

That’s one of the things I worry about. While I am far from wealthy, I do have a comfortable income. Even now, when I look at what I make in a year, I worry that I might do something stupid with the money. When you’re scraping by and your choices are limited, I think it’s a little bit harder to blow your money.

But what if I become rich and blow it? That thought scares me. You read about entertainers and sports stars going bankrupt all the time. Clearly, no matter how much money you have, it’s possible to blow it. And the thought of having a lot of money, and then wasting it all to nothing is scary.

What If I Change?

Our society seems to be divided into two camps when it comes to opinions of the wealthy. On the one hand, there are those who practically deify the super-rich, insisting that they are the epitome of hard work and that they deserve everything they have. On the other hand are those who assume that the wealthy must also be unscrupulous and greedy.

While most people of great means are likely somewhere in between, with only very few on the fringes at either end of the spectrum, the idea that you might change because of wealth can be a scary one. I sometimes worry that I will lose sight of those with fewer advantages if I become rich. It’s true that there are studies that indicate that many wealthy people have less empathy toward the poor. Part of that has to do with the fact that many of the super-rich live in worlds that don’t bring them in contact with anyone who is less affluent. It’s harder to feel sympathy or empathy for those you don’t know.

What if I change to that point? Can having a lot of money change you in ways you don’t even notice until it’s too late and you’re a completely different person?

It’s hard to tell, but it’s a very real concern that some have when they think about earning a lot of money, or raising their net worth.

In the end, I don’t think I’d turn down opportunities just because there are times I’m scared of wealth. However, I hope that I would try to retain the essentials of my personality, and that I would make efforts to use my resources wisely and generously.

What do you think? Are you scared of wealth?

About the Author

Miranda writes about financial topics for several web sites. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds, and her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, is available on Amazon.