Apparently being a millionaire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—wait, what?
The Deloitte Center for Financial Services recently released a report predicting that the number of millionaires in Canada is expected to increase from 1.7 million today to more than 2.4 million by 2020. You’d think that, as a whole, that would make the country a happier place, but moneyville.ca blogger Alison Griffiths says that being a millionaire is actually more of a burden than a blessing, and she seems to be serious. She points out that according to another study—this one courtesy of the Royal Bank of Canada—more than half of Canada’s existing millionaires don’t feel they’ve become any happier as they’ve accumulated more wealth. So, um, what gives?
From Griffiths’ story:
In 2006 author Lee Eisenberg, in his book The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life (Free Press), articulated a phenomena which directly applies to this situation. He pointed out that people often set “a number” they hope to accumulate by retirement—for many this is the extent of their retirement planning. However, once they achieve the number, invariably they feel it’s never enough.
I’ve seen this happen repeatedly. Many people are successful at setting a financial goal—say a net worth of $1 million on retirement—then striving mightily to reach it. But when they’ve arrived, it doesn’t seem adequate so they bump it up to, say, $1.5 million. More to the point, the money is rarely tied to anything concrete beyond vague plans to travel, play golf or pursue hobbies.
Constantly moving the retirement goal posts creates unhappiness because there’s never the satisfaction of reaching a goal, only the never-ending pursuit.
Of course, we appreciate the warning. But, frankly, we’ll take our chances—all the way to the bank.