Is “too much” money the root of all evil?

I had a very odd conversation with my partner last night while watching the Human League at Windsor racecourse – hooray! The Human League are nothing to do with this blog though I now discover they suffered from having too much money from the success of DARE.


Phil Oakey- nothing to do with the argument of this blog – but wonderful last night- xx Phil!


But back to the track of this blog…

My partner is sad because she does not know what to do with all her possessions, in particular a large house in Eton and its chattels. There is no sentimental attachment to the place, the chattels are expensive but bring us no joy, I say rent it- sell it – for heaven’s sake don’t worry about it. She worries about it.

For the amount she pays in council tax, service charge, mortgage and repairs , we could stay in five star hotels around Eton – for all the time we live at the place.

Even writing about it is probably a security risk (to those thinking of trying a little burglary, break into this place and you are on the top 10 British most wanted list).

Windsor from Eton

House with a view

So I have proved, without any doubt, that owning property does not bring happiness, nor does it bring rent if- like my partner – you consider the depreciation of the asset outweighs the income stream (anal I know). to someone who considers the sharing of the asset the only use of the asset ( Lady Lucy), this is odd. But this is another symptom of the price of things getting in the way of the value of things.

The boatyard where Lady Lucy is moored, is full of trophy boats that get driven maybe once a year if that. The idea of owning a boat seemed a good idea a few years ago but then the skittish imagination of the super-rich playboy moved on and the boat sits forlorn on its mooring.

So I have proved without any doubt, that the gf is not alone in not being able to use her money for general utility (enjoyment?) and makes herself unhappy thinking about the options she has and why none of them is without risk.

The very fine fellow who runs Hermes, Sacker Nusseibeh, has this to say about how rich people are (over) paid.

Executive pay is “out of kilter” and has gone “well beyond” reasonable levels according to a top City chief who believes astronomical bonuses “haven’t worked” because they have not made bosses perform better.




The Telegraph articleThe Telegraph articleThe Telegraph article from which the above is taken goes on to explain Sacker’s view

“The Anglo-Saxon model of giving lots of shares and a high degree of bonuses hasn’t worked and people have lost faith in business leadership,”

“Pay for top management has gone way beyond what it was before in relation to everyone else. Over the last 20 years the way people who run big businesses see their rewards has changed. It used to be a bit like mainland Europe where part of the reward is a prestigious position in society.”

Sacker goes on to argue that Hermes, when it pays bonuses – pays them for being nice. He claims this is not facetious, he just likes people to be decent, honest and behave properly towards each other.


This really brings us back to Philip Green and the problems with BHS, are at root the problem Philip Green has with all his money. The money is currently tied up in super yachts and an extravagant lifestyle. This is making Green worried , just as my gf is worried, because the property is causing him more trouble than it is worth.

Green’s standing in society is as a pariah. No one likes him and he cares. He aspires to the prestigious position in society that he thought could be bought with the dividends that otherwise would have been used to shore up his business and his pension scheme.

A number of people who I like, respect and would go out drinking earn around £5m a year, take Phil Loney and Nigel Wilson, bosses of Royal Mutual and L&G respectively.

Does the extra 90% of their pay packet that is paid into frippery , make them happy? I very much doubt it. One of the reasons I like them is that they seem to be getting on with life and doing the right thing (rather than swanning it in Monaco). They seem to cope with having too much money.


I know that both read this blog and I’d be interested to hear their views on whether the money they are being paid would be better used ensuring they have a prestigious position in society. Do they think they can have both? Or are they- like my gf and most of the people I know with too much money- is a surfeit of money the root of all evil?


money evil


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to Is “too much” money the root of all evil?

  1. George Kirrin says:

    Some of the richer people I know tithe at least 10% (and not just 10% of basic salary). But they don’t seek publicity for it (giving is its own reward) and it doesn’t have to go to a church or to support a particular priest.

    But the former chancellor had other ideas about charitable giving, the scale of which he seemed to view as tax avoidance.

    The new PM may hold different views?

  2. Con Keating says:

    I would recommend that you read John Moore’s first Clarendon lecture in the series on money and liquidity ( joint work with Nobi Kyotaki ) – the title of that is “Evil is the root of all money”

    • George Kirrin says:

      I tracked down the 27-page lecture plus its 13 pages of slides, Con. Are you suggesting Henry’s partner is akin to a Scottish laird with her Eton property?

      yours aye, George

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