Does affluenza threaten the health and well-being of children raised in Millionaire households? The syndrome – which can include a loss of motivation and inability to delay gratification – is a top concern of ultra-wealthy investors surveyed in a recent Millionaire Corner study, $25 Million Plus Investor 2012.
Parental concerns appear to preoccupy $25 million plus investors, who count issues surrounding their progeny among their biggest personal concerns. More than three-fourths (78 percent) of $25 million plus investors cite the well-being of their children and/or grandchildren as a significant concern, ranking it as their most pressing worry. Second in significance is “raising financially responsible children,” an issue cited by 73 percent of $25 million plus investors.
Two-thirds of $25 million plus investors indicated they were worried about “not allowing my wealth to be detrimental to the work ethic, educational or career plans of my children and/or grandchildren,” according to our research. The latter concern relates to a condition known as affluenza, a term coined by Jessie O’Neill, the granddaughter of Charles E. Wilson, former president of General Motors and Secretary of Defense. A licensed therapist and author of the book, The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence, O’Neill founded The Affluenza Project to “ensure the emotionally healthy” transfer of wealth from one generation to the next. (Our research also finds that 65 percent of $25 million plus investors worry about “the legacy I leave for my children and grandchildren.”)
Affluenza, a word that blends the words “affluence” with “influenza,” can include low self-esteem, depression and a false sense of entitlement, can be successfully treated, according to O’Neill’s website. “With insight, we can begin to create more balanced expectations and employ money in more appropriate ways. The process involves awareness, education and change. With personal insight into the potentially crippling effects that money, or its blind pursuit, can have on every aspect of our lives -- professionally and personally.”
Psychologists have found that children of affluent families can suffer parental deprivation, a condition associated with the very poor. One doctor, Frank S. Pittman III, concluded, “Great wealth has undoubted benefits but it is not good for children.”