Our society prizes wealth but judges the wealthy. Due to the stigma, many high-income earners feel unable to talk about their finances, even with their financial advisors, who need to be sensitive to their reluctance to reveal their resources.
Rachel Sherman, author of Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of the Affluent, found that most wealthy people stray from using self-describing adjectives such as “affluent” or “rich,” instead opting to say that they are “comfortable.” Some did not specify to their advisors how much money they have or lowballed estimates of the size of their estates. The author found this a common thread among the wealthy, perhaps due to the very real stigma that society has attached to the 1%, with stereotypes reinforced by media that rich people spoil their children, are greedy or exploitative, or are morally unworthy.
Sherman found that 47% of her respondents (with a net worth of $20 million or more) generally fear being outed as a member of the one percent. 44% feared being targeted by predators or scams and 42% feared being judged solely by their wealth. Many of the respondents thought of their wealth as relative - citing others who had many times their wealth, such as pointing to a neighbor with a private jet.
Furthermore, despite their wealth, these folks are still concerned about money insecurity. 21% of respondents expressed fear at losing their money. Often, rich people carry financial insecurity and perceive that they lack a safety net. Some feel they do not have enough money; others feel conflicted about spending money. There is a general despair among the rich that they don’t have enough economic self-discipline.
In fact, many of the richest respondents had little financial education, which Sherman found even truer for women. She found that much of this financial illiteracy stemmed from society’s basic discomfort about having conversations about money.
Finding an empathetic financial advisor can help you combat these financial insecurities or illiteracy. TABER Asset Management has offered compassionate financial services tailored to their clients’ needs since 1998. We are a registered investment advisory (fiduciary) firm based in Des Moines, IA that offers financial planning and investment services to high net worth individuals across the United States.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 515-557-1860 to see how we may help you gain financial confidence today.