How much is enough to feel wealthy?


Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash


“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
– Jack Kerouac

Bloomberg recently had one of the smartest pieces of analysis I’ve read in a long time. It was about wealth, more specifically, what it takes to feel wealthy.

An exact quote is in order. It extends to three paragraphs. Here goes:

“Warren Buffett has more money than God, but he also lives in Omaha in a modest house he bought more than 60 years ago. Does he feel wealthy? Would you feel wealthy if you lived like him? 

“Jeff Bezos has more money than God and Warren Buffett combined, more than enough to buy any obscene Grenadines quarantine facilitator he wanted. But that was not wealthy enough for him: He apparently needs a yacht that comes with its own support yacht…Will having a support yacht finally make Jeff Bezos feel wealthy? 

“The point is that the feeling of wealth is relative, and the best way to feel wealthy, once you have satisfied Maslow’s lower-level requirements, is to learn to be happy with what you have, writes Erin Lowry, while also not sweating so much that someone will take it all away. If I can afford a yacht, then maybe I should enjoy that yacht and not just glare at the empty space off the port bow where a support yacht should be.”

Ms Lowry appears to be eminently qualified to address the subject. She has written a number of books on money and mindsets, including ‘Broke Millennial’, ‘Broke Millennial Takes On Investing’ and ‘Broke Millennial Talks Money: Stories, Scripts and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations’.

And, as she recounts in her piece (paywall), she earned her way up the financial ladder, from $25,000 to $80,000 within a decade, only to then be “fixated on getting to $150,000”. Increases in salary or net worth would produce a “dopamine hit”, but it would “quickly diminish after seeing other people’s income and net worth posts on social media and personal finance blogs. The comparison trap is a death knell for feeling wealthy”.

In other words, the support yacht conundrum.

Everything’s relative.