Is Your Pursuit of Wealth Unhealthy? – Fatherly

As vital as it is to nurture your kids’ emotional and developmental needs, much of being a parent is providing the basic necessities of life — the roof over their head, the clothes on their backs, the food on the table. And that, of course, requires a staggering amount of cash.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a typical middle-class couple will spend $233,610 raising each child through age 17. It’s little wonder, then, that the typical 40-hour workweek simply isn’t enough for many families today. In fact, the Census Bureau finds that 43% of children live in households where parents work beyond the standard Monday through Friday schedule.

But the quest for wealth isn’t always a matter of sheer need, either. While many parents are working overtime or creating side hustles to give their family a better life, experts say there are those for whom the accumulation of money becomes an end in itself. No amount of investment assets or material possessions seems to be enough.

There’s always a temptation to judge one’s success in dollar signs, especially in more affluent countries. Social media, where friends and family regularly broadcast their latest “wins” — an exotic vacation or a new car, say — seemingly exacerbates that tendency.

When does making money cross the line from responsible parenting to a toxic habit? For Leon Seltzer, a clinical psychologist in Del Mar, California, it’s about reaching a point where your relationships suffer because you’re spending too many extra hours trying to chase a new account at work or trading stocks on your iPhone.

“An unhealthy attachment would be suggested by putting a higher priority on pursuing wealth than more meaningful pursuits like making good friendships, family or achieving goals that would be more spiritually fulfilling,” says Seltzer, who writes the blog “Evolution of the Self” for Psychology Today.

‘Compulsive and harmful’ tendencies

Psychologists often classify the preoccupation with wealth as a “process addiction,” a category that also includes a fixation on gambling, sex, or even exercise (though the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, doesn’t specifically outline a “wealth addiction”).

It’s not a diagnosis triggered by an arbitrary net worth figure or brokerage balance but rather how it affects your emotional well-being and your relationships. “What turns habits into addictions is their compulsive and harmful nature,” says Stanton Peele, a Brooklyn-based psychologist. “For example, if someone is accumulating wealth yet they’re spending all their time apart from their children, we are entering the realm of addiction.”

One of the hallmarks of an unhealthy obsession with financial success is the single-mindedness that accompanies that hunt. “It’s a ‘winning’ that’s ultimately …….