“I’m in the process of having my condo built to my specifications,” said a silver-spooned, snob of an acquaintance I run into occasionally. “I took the top floor. I don’t want people’s annoying children running around making noise. And I insisted that they use only the best marble for my counter-tops. Once it’s all done I’ll invite you over for drinks. Martinis, of course.”
I plastered a fake smile on my face as I listened to her drone on. Her only saving grace, or the only thing that made me feel good, was that as rich as she was, she was always envious of other people. If you were wearing something she liked, she would spend the rest of the night staring at it like a vulture ogles a carcass. She eyed my sunglasses, the only expensive thing I have (they are worth more than my last car). “Where did you get those? What brand are they? Did you get them in Italy? Are there any more left?”
“I got them as a gift,” I said in as snobby a voice I could muster. “I don’t think you’ll find them anywhere,” I pouted, “they’re custom made.”
Is money really the root of all evil? Do all rich people have a selfish ego? Maybe not, at least according to a study we conducted.
Having money may not necessarily imply that a person has an ego. Actor Will Smith, with a supposed net worth of 200 million, couldn’t have said it better when he spoke these insightful and candid words, “Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” So does having money make a person more egoistic or altruistic? According to data we collected on Queendom with our Egoism/Altruism Test, there isn’t a great deal of difference between classes when it comes to altruistic (and some not so altruistic) intentions:
Regularly do favors for others without being asked:
- People of low socioeconomic status: 61%
- Middle: 59%
- People of high socioeconomic status: 58%
Believe that favors they do for others should be returned:
- Low socioeconomic status: 15%
- Middle: 14%
- High socioeconomic status: 16%
Will only do something nice for others for personal gain:
- Low socioeconomic status: 9%
- Middle: 8%
- High socioeconomic status: 10%
Find it easy to put themselves in someone else’s shoes:
- Low socioeconomic status: 67%
- Middle: 70%
- High socioeconomic status: 69%
Feel sympathy when they see someone in pain:
- Low socioeconomic status: 81%
- Middle: 80%
- High socioeconomic status: 78%
Feel bad when they see someone less fortunate:
- Low socioeconomic status: 67%
- Middle: 66%
- High socioeconomic status: 65%
Readily make themselves available when someone needs help:
- Low socioeconomic status: 69%
- Middle: 66%
- High socioeconomic status: 67%
Genuinely enjoy helping people:
- Low socioeconomic status: 83%
- Middle: 83%
- High socioeconomic status: 82%
Have helped someone in order to get on the person’s good side:
- Low socioeconomic status: 33%
- Middle: 31%
- High socioeconomic status: 38%
Donate to charities on a regular basis:
- Low socioeconomic status: 14%
- Middle: 20%
- High socioeconomic status: 29%
If they found a wallet on the street (containing money and credit cards):
- Low socioeconomic status: 6% would keep the money and throw the wallet out.
- Middle: 4% would keep the money and throw the wallet out.
- High socioeconomic status: 5% would keep the money and throw the wallet out.
So how does personality relate to wealth? Personality impacts every aspect of our life – the choices we make, the people we surround ourselves with, the career we pursue, and the way we respond to life experiences. I grew up believing that all rich people were selfish, and had probably scammed someone to get their money. I was also told that money is hard to come by, and even then, there would never be enough to buy what I want. And guess what? I fight for every penny I have, and still feel like I’m on the bottom of the mountain looking up.
When we hear stories of people who have won the lottery and then lost it all, it’s not a result of poor money management; rather, it’s a by-product of their personality. Perhaps they have an inherent, core belief that they are worthless and don’t deserve money. So guess what happens? They lose it.
The point is, there are selfish rich people, and selfish people who are not rich. There are rich people with big hearts who give as much as they can, and poor people who will give the clothes off their back to help someone in need. How an individual conducts themselves when they have money has everything to do with who they are as a person. Money doesn’t make a person more or less selfish. If you are a genuinely kind and giving person, you’ll continue to be that way no matter how many zeros are on your paycheck.