WORLD - Rich, But Not Satisfied

Arno Froese

Imagine having a six-figure income, owning at least one home and sitting on a spare $1 million in investable assets. Surely a sign that you’ve “made it” and are, by global standards, incredibly rich?

Apparently not.

So, if millionaires don’t consider themselves wealthy, where does that leave the rest of us? If we’re unlikely to “feel” rich, no matter how much we earn, is it really worth aspiring to get there at all?

The New York Times reported in February about a boom in bespoke therapy for billionaires suffering personal struggles.

“As people get wealthier, they are more satisfied to start, but at some stage there is no additional increase in satisfaction,” explains Jolanda Jetten, a professor in social psychology at the University of Queensland in Australia and co-author of The Wealth Paradox.

“The more money you make, the more you also have a need for more money—it’s like an addiction,” she says.

It’s a pattern that’s all too familiar with life and career coaches like Pia Webb, who focuses on guiding top-tier managers in Europe. Even in her home country, Sweden, a social democracy famed for work-life balance rather than excess, she says many still fall victim to benchmarking themselves against those in higher income brackets.

Jetten’s research suggests people living in poverty are already accustomed to finding ways to boost their life satisfaction and well-being, that go beyond money and material possessions. They are more likely to spend time with family and volunteer in the community, for instance.

“Well-being is related quite strongly to the extent to which there is social capital in a country or society and the extent to which people feel connected to others around them,” she explains.

“Freedom and democracy make people happy, but they matter less when these goods are less common. People can adapt to tremendous adversity and retain their natural cheerfulness, while they can also have virtually everything… and be miserable.”

There are even signs that even high-earning young professionals who could choose to invest in stocks or property are instead becoming increasingly focused on making memories instead of money. In the US, since 1987, the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events relative to total consumer expenditure has risen by 70%, according to figures from the US Department of Commerce., 5 May 2017

Arno's commentary

Technology combined with globalism has made the world rich as never before. Bill Gates, for example, stated that during the last few decades, world hunger has been reduced by 50%. Commerce is at an all-time high. Billions of tons of consumer goods and industrial equipment are being moved from one continent to another unceasingly. Statistics show that globally during 2014, there was an average of 102,465 commercial flights a day. Doubtless, that has increased; millions upon millions of people are traveling to and fro, just as Daniel the prophet wrote: “…many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4b).

Where will it all lead? We are only concerned with the Church, and here the words regarding the Laodicea church are revealing: “…I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing…” (Revelation 3:17a). In the midst of global prosperity, increased security, longer life expectancy, and innumerable other advantages science has opened up for humanity, the end result is still the same. Hebrews 9:27 says, “…It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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