Adam Chapman

How Much Is Too Much?

The other day I treated myself to a new pair of trainers as my previous pair were ripped. I’d saved for a few weeks and yet still upon purchasing said shoes I was still hit with that bottom of the stomach guilt about spending money. 

I’m sure we’ve all had moments like this during our lives. Most common is probably the morning after the night before, waking up in the throws of a hangover, checking your wallet only to realise it’s as baron as the Sahara. At least when buying a physical object you actually have something to show for your expenditure rather than a pounding headache and ever growing sense of embarrassment.

It’s at times like this that I often find my mind drifting to fantasies of what my life would be like if I won the lottery or wrote a best selling novel that subsequently became a film landing millions into my bank account.

Then I remember the classic saying “Money can’t buy happiness” and I agree, but I’d rather be rich and depressed than poor and depressed, either way I’m still probably going to complain about something.

The other day I said to a friend of mine that I wished I was able to purchase a sofa from DFS without thinking about the impact it would have on my financial situation for the next few weeks/months. That’s my idea of comfortably well off…Buying a sofa from a place that is locked into an ever ongoing sale. My dreams aren’t that big.  No doubt if I was in that financial situation though my mind would move onto something else.

It’s true though isn’t it, no matter how much money someone has, there is always the desire to get more, it’s rare that you find someone completely content with the amount they earn or have inherited. 

Take everyone’s favourite Brexiteers. Rumours circulate about Jacob Rees-Mogg in particular about the amount he’s set to earn if the pound plummets and the country goes into chaos. I’m inclined to believe said rumours about his motivations for pushing what is evidently the most obvious display of a country shooting itself in the foot that I’ve ever witnessed. That might just be because I don’t trust a single word that comes out of his Wallace and Gromit looking face. 

Now, JRM reportedly has a net worth of between 100-150 millions pounds. That is a hell of a lot of cheddar. Scenes of Donald Duck diving into a pile of gold coins springs to mind when I hear of such obscene wealth. I have to ask, with that many digits in their available funds, how much is too much? 

I doubt JRM has ever had the aforementioned feeling of guilt when spending money. The basic needs of his life like food, shelter, bills etc cover merely a drop in his pond of wealth. Thus making more money is merely a pursuit of his wants rather than his needs. What does more money bring to a man who could buy pretty much anything he could ever want? My theory is power. 

Love it or hate it, money does create power. The way our society is set up means that money comes with status. If someone is rich then many people might respect them. I mean Donald Trump, a man with no political background is president of the United States for god sake. Many of the soundbites I heard from his supporters is that he’s a business man, he’s rich so he knows how to run a country…apparently. If Donald Trump wasn’t rich, he would be nowhere near having this sort of power. 

There is a darker side to how our society perceives wealth. It’s no surprise that many of the richest in society can get away with a lot more than those on the breadline. Celebrities commit a crime and it’s rare that they feel the full force of the law. This could be due to being able to hire the best lawyers, have the best connections or possibly something a bit more sinister. 

Is this what drives the super rich to want to create more wealth by any means? Tax avoidance, manipulating the public, paying their staff barely enough to survive on while their bank accounts swell. This can’t just be because they want to purchase another new car or bigger house, there has to be a underlying drive. 

Maybe if TBP takes off and I myself one day experience the life of the super rich I’ll understand what drives this desire for obscene amounts of wealth. Until that happens I guess I’ll just go on a walk in my new trainers, seeing as I’ve already overspent this week.