Why the Rich Are Never Happy
      Author:Robert Frank     Source: http://cn.wsj.com     Release Time:4/25/2011 8:53:30 AM     View Times:10518
Felix Dennis, the shaggy British publishing tycoon, poet and author, always seems to have wise words about getting and being rich.

In his first book, 'How to Get Rich,' Dennis posited that anyone with $2 million to $4 million in assets is merely 'comfortably poor.' For him, it takes $150 million to be truly rich.

He also delivered some memorable (and very true) one-liners like: 'the richer you are and the more financial advisers you employ, the less likelihood there is that you can ever discover what you are really worth.'

Of spending, he wrote: 'If it flies, floats or fornicates, always rent it.'

Dennis has a new book, called 'The Narrow Road,' which is more how-to than the memoir of 'How to Get Rich.' Most of the book is a life map for entrepreneurs. But he also dispenses some advice on being rich and what money doesn't buy.

There is happiness, of course. But Dennis writes that wealth also breeds a kind of permanent malcontent.

Large wealth, he says, 'is certain to impose a degree of disharmony and irritation, if not from the stresses and strains involved in obtaining and protecting it, then from the guilt that inevitably accompanies its arrival.'

Poverty is even less fun, of course. But he says 'the rich are not a contented tribe. The demands from others to share their wealth become so tiresome, so insistent, they often decide they must insulate themselves. Insulation eventually breeds a mild form of paranoia.'

He says the only people the rich can truly trust are the people they knew before they became wealthy.

'As with the onset of sudden celebrity, for the newly rich, the world often becomes a darker, narrower, less generous place; a paradox that elicits scant sympathy, but is nonetheless true.'

Of course, being perpetually discontented is what drives many of the wealthy like Dennis, perhaps to keep creating businesses and jobs and reinventing themselves and the economy. A survey of millionaires from U.S. Trust this week found that half said their success came at the expense of their personal lives, relationships and health.

In that sense, perhaps the misery of millionaires is society's gain.

Do you think the rich are especially discontented or is it human nature to find problems no matter what one's wealth?

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