Sunday, 30 May 2010

Spending Is a Hard Habit to Break for the Rich

The recent tabloid sting involving the Duchess of York has elicited plenty of schadenfreude in the British press.

Associated Press
Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson

The Duchess, it appears, is by her own admission virtually penniless after her divorce from the Duke of York left her with only 15,000 pounds a year. That’s a modest income for anyone, but especially so for someone who confesses to an “overspending disease” and penchant for private jets and luxury goods.

In an article on the BBC News Magazine, U.K. psychotherapist Benjamin Fry, who co-presents BBC Three’s Spendaholics program, says giving up the bling can be traumatic.

“It’s the change in circumstances that’s difficult… She could have accepted she was poor but wouldn’t know who she was. The alternative was to do something I’m sure she didn’t really want to do.”

He says wealth can become an addictive drug, needed most by the insecure.

“People do overspend because they’ve got a low sense of self worth. If you feel very small on the inside and present yourself as very big on the outside, it’s compensation.”

“The way to cope is to try really hard to invest in non-material sources of wealth — family, relationships, community or self care.”

Easier said perhaps than done. After all, spending habits die hard — especially among the wealthy.

Do you think there are rich (or formerly rich) people in the U.S. being forced to cut back dramatically on spending?

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