Advice for Those Who Strike It Rich

Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2005

WebMD Feature

April 17, 2000 (Kentfield, Calif.) -- While getting rich sounds like nothing but fun, it can produce headaches, too.

"We deal with 'dot-commers' and high-tech millionaires," says Kentfield, Calif., therapist Stephen Goldbart, PhD. "Their problems are in some ways similar to those of lottery winners, most of whom lose their money in the first five years. They want to invest and often take risks with large chunks of money -- and as a result, some of them lose big."

Goldbart and his partner Joan Di Furia, MFT, offer this advice for protecting your sanity from your wealth:

  • Don't confuse happiness with how much money you have in the bank. Money gives you financial security, not emotional security. Take time to explore your values and priorities and find out what really makes you happy.
  • Don't overspend. Having a lot of money can make for a lot of debt. Buy some things you've always wanted, but don't go overboard.
  • Don't get trapped by the culture of cynicism. Money can empower you to make a difference. Adopt a charity. Find ways to express your altruism and give back to society.
  • Remember that sudden wealth will have an impact on each and every member of your family. Find ways to talk with your spouse and children about the spending, sharing, and saving of money.
  • Don't be surprised if you don't want to retire -- and take time to find out what kind of work you enjoy the most.

    (Compiled by Kentfield, Calif., therapists Stephen Goldbart, PhD, and Joan Di Furia, MFT, owners of the Money, Meaning, and Choices Institute.)

Valerie Andrews has written for Intuition, HealthScout, and many other publications. She lives in Greenbrae, Calif.

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