Pity the People Who Pity The Rich Kids of Instagram: Is Poverty the Pathway to Happiness?

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Even for “C” grade students like myself, it is easy to extrapolate that the hyper growth of the Super Rich naturally leads to an increase in the population Super Rich spouses and kids who are growing up in Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) households.

Tanya Gold, a U.K.-based writer doesn’t like what she sees. “I am surrounded by affluent rage,” she writes for one of her media outlets, continuing, “Although I have moved from the kitchen with the fourposter bed in Hampstead, because I could no longer live in a part of London full of bankers pretending they live in a rural village, I have failed to escape it.”

She continues, “I moved away from the farm re-enactment people, the cold-eyed workaholics and the actresses with small dogs. But I made a terrible error, because I am now living opposite a private school and, twice a day, I have to listen to affluent screaming and the affluent squeaking of stiletto boots. The posh mums are advancing.”

Speaking about the type of cars UHNW moms drive, Gold opines, “My theory is they need the cars, because they do not work. This makes them feel powerless and the fact that their superhero investment banker husbands may not be faithful only adds to the groaning sense of terror.”

So here is Gold’s take: “My theory is this. Humans are just beasts – not in the Enid Blyton sense, but in the Charles Darwin sense. Survival of the fittest means the acquisition mania never stops – therefore, wealth does not make you happy. Actually, it makes you more unhappy than ever, because you have achieved wealth and it’s not as good as you’d hoped. You are still you, he is still him and you can’t find your car keys, because your car is bigger than Finsbury Park.”

Not to stop, in a separate column in The Sunday Times, Gold took issue with the “Rich Kids of Instagram.”

She wrote about the UHNW scions (according to Money Week; as a non-subscriber I didn’t have access to the entire Times’ piece), “I do not think a person who preens on a private aeroplane, or wears multiple Rolexes on one arm… can be happy. Rather it is the desperation of the unhappy to appear happy by shouting at the world – look at my stuff! Don’t you wish you had my stuff?”

According to Money Week, Gold suggests that “rampant materialism” only makes people more unhappy, “because it is so isolating, and, in the end, never enough, which is why there is such a glut of expensive junk on sale. All you need is love and there isn’t much of that on Instagram, which is more about boasting.”

I guess my question is, what point is Gold actually trying to make?

There are more bratty rich kids than middle class kids. The percentage of UHNWs who are unhappy is higher than those who are scraping to get by. Materialism is only represented at the Super Rich level. Being rich should buy you happiness, but it doesn’t. Materialism and ‘look at me’ selfies are more prevalent with the very rich than other income groups.

Being controversial is a good media strategy to standout and drive page views, and I suppose Gold qualifies, although she is in good company taking potshots at the Super Rich.

Over the years I have come in contact with the kids of some very, very rich people. My experience in terms of their behavior is it run the gamut just like my non-rich friends. Like all children, some will grow up to do great things, others will live their lives under the radar and some will make the headlines for unsavory endeavors.

However, where Gold misses the mark, is the behavior she detests has been around forever and exists at all economic demographics. My guess is columns on “the driving habits of middle class parents” and “the bad manners of poor kids” wouldn’t attract the readership she is looking for.

About Doug Gollan

I am Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons and DG Amazing Experiences, and a Contributor to Forbes.com.
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