NEWS: Many U.S. Millionaires ‘Fear Losing It All’, ‘Feel Compelled to Strive for More’, Says UBS Survey

Enough never seems to be enough. According to a survey by Swiss bank, UBS, it seems that many successful U.S. millionaires suffer from anxiety and insecurity, despite accumulating more wealth than the average person.

The survey — which involved 2,215 U.S. investors with more than $1 million in net worth — revealed that while millionaires recognise their good fortune, they feel compelled to strive for more, spurred on by their own ambition, their desire to protect their families’ lifestyle, and an ever-present fear of losing it all.

As a result, many feel stuck on a treadmill, without a real sense of how much wealth would make them satisfied enough to get off.

Said Paula Polito, Client Strategy Officer, UBS Wealth Management Americas, “The majority of millionaires say they have worked hard to earn their wealth and appreciate the lifestyle it affords them and their families. But enough never seems to be enough—even the wealthiest continue on the treadmill to achieve a better life.”

Becoming a millionaire does not come without a price:  64% of millionaires report that they have had to give up precious family time to achieve their dreams. Most millionaires (68%) admit to having regrets, most commonly around making mistakes in a relationship with their spouse or family and not spending more time with family.

Despite achieving success at a relatively young age, the UBS survey also showed that Millennial millionaires experience more stress, fear and anxiety about their wealth than older generations.

Achieving success at such a young age means that Millennials’ wealth has a longer lifespan and therefore a greater chance of being lost, so they have to be more diligent and put in more effort to maintain their fortune and lifestyle,” said Sameer Aurora, Head of Investor Insights for UBS Wealth Management Americas. “Millennials, more so than any other generation, are also very conscious of how their lives stack up against their peers’, so Millennials tend to put pressure on themselves to earn more and compete for a higher standing in the social hierarchy.

Many people aspire to be successful and to acquire great wealth, thinking that this would bring them a lifetime of happiness and peace. However, the UBS survey showed that this perception is not the reality. Instead, it is contentment that brings joy and peace.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:6-10; NIV)

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Well-educated and Well-paid Singaporeans Mired in Debt — A Personal Story

A relative of mine was recently approached by his cousin for money.

My relative runs his own business, lives in a landed property in Singapore (for the knowledge of readers living outside of Singapore, due to affordability, the majority of the population here live in flats/apartments), and drives a nice car.

I suppose that because of these visible signs of wealth, his cousin assumed that he might be a generous lender.

Judging from external appearances, this cousin might considered as an unlikely candidate for owing a great sum of money.

He has a university education, and the last we heard, was the finance director of a large MNC. Whenever we would meet him during the Chinese new year, he would act proudly, and would try to impress to others that he was holding a very important position within the company, and that his career was going places.

So, it came as a big shock that this person would ask for a loan, and my relative was also taken aback by the size of his original request ($100,000).

He then tried to negotiate for $50,000, but as the two men discussed the matter, some angry words were exchanged, before a final plea for $15,000 was made, but rejected.

My relative does not know why his cousin needed the money, but suspects that it could be due to gambling debts, although this person outwardly was not known to have gambled previously.

It is also not known whether his family is aware of the debt.

According to the Straits Times, it may not be as unusual as it seems for well-educated and well-paid Singaporeans to be mired in debt. Apparently, there are 32,000 people here who share this similar profile.

It seems that the major reason for falling into unsecured debt is overspending on lifestyle wants. Other reasons include a spouse losing a job, making stupid investments, loaning money to friends, and gambling.

The bible says that “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7, NIV), and consequently, I hope that there are no bible-believing Christians among the 32,000 in debt, especially for the reason of overspending on lifestyle wants, for the bible has also made it clear that we are not to “love the world or anything in the world” (1 John 2:15, NIV).

However, if there are indeed Christians who are in debt due to overspending on lifestyle wants, I pray that they learn their lesson. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6, ESV)

Think Twice About Taking on a Bigger Property Loan — My Personal Experience

My wife and I married in year 2000, and since then, we have been living in a 5-room HDB flat in Sembawang.

We bought our flat directly from HDB, and I recall that on the HDB prospectus. the value of our flat was listed as $265,000 (before interest).

We signed up for a 3o-year HDB (government) loan, which was to be paid by monthly withdrawals from our CPF accounts.

I guess with our combined incomes, we could afford buying a condominium, but I guess my wife and I are simple people, and it never crossed our minds to buy a condominium, even though both our parents live in a landed property.

In year 2007, I got retrenched. I had been working in an MNC for about 6 years, and the operations in Singapore was like a regional headquarters, until the big bosses decided to shift this regional headquarter to Beijing.

I (as well as my other colleagues) was offered a similar position in China, but decided not to make the move, because I valued my daughter being able to study in Singapore more.

My company was doing very well, and because our local HR director fought very hard for us, those of us who decided not to move to China, received a very generous severance package.

I decided to use part of my severance package to pay off part of my housing loan. My wife, also decided to do her part, by using money she had saved up in her bank account.

In total, the amount of money we decided to set aside to offset our HDB loan was about $50,000.

So, one Saturday, we visited our HDB branch office, and when it came to our turn to sit down with the HDB officer, we told her our intentions.

I remember both of us writing our cheques, as the HDB officer re-calculated our loan balance and printed it out.

I recall vividly how my eyes widened on seeing how much interest payments we had saved by paying forward our loan, and the substantial shortening of time to pay off our entire loan.

Within a year or so later, we received a letter from HDB to inform us that we have completed the payment of our entire HDB loan. Since then, we have been debt free! (I do not own a car, and I did not have any university tuition debt to pay off, as my Dad paid all my heavily government-subsidised university education.)

I don’t think a lot of young Singapore couples realise how much interest they pay on their property loan.

Because of my personal experience, a few years ago, I tried to talk out a young Christian couple, who were getting married, from buying a million dollar condominium. I was not successful. The brother, who was working in the bank, felt that he could afford it, and I guess being a banker, there was a certain image he had to maintain.

I value being debt-free, and as I mention above, it was a great shock to me as to how much interest I was paying (and to the government, mind you; if we had taken a bank loan, we would have ended up paying a whole lot more interest).

The bible says that “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7, NIV).

The world’s system is designed to enslave people through debt. Interest rates have been at its lowest for years, but are slowly creeping up, causing debtors to have any even higher debt to pay. Indeed, debtors can do absolutely nothing but to cough off the money, which reflects their total slavitude to the system.