Escaping Gatsby . . . Fitzgerald’s Never-ending Relevance to the Subject of Wealth

Baz Luhrman is doing all of us a service with the release of the slick and modernized Gatsby.  Many of us are familiar with the cautionary tale of unrequited love, misspent youth (and effort) – not to mention the inescapable direction of fate.  However, it also confirms what I see every day in private wealth management:  money can’t fix or acquire everything –especially happiness.

For people who grew up around wealth and therefore lacked any real context of financial responsibility or struggle, money is frequently a poorly understood proxy for comfort and self-worth.  Financial well being, and the lifestyle it supports, often leaves such individuals with insufficient emotional underpinning to function effectively.  For those who generated the wealth, their viewpoint , while very different, is also not entirely healthy: they view their earnings as having  created an unbridled diversity of options and opportunity – albeit often at the direct expense of valid goals like familial harmony or inner satisfaction.

So as we all watch the glory and the glitz of Gatsby – and I am really looking forward to it, take a moment to see where you fit in:  are you Nick Carraway, the rising upstart, Gatsby, the aloof pretender, or established Daisy, or the landed Tom Buchanan?  Almost every emotional wealth problem flows from these characters . . . . More to come when I see the movie!



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