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New money blues – Tech millionaires seek advice

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SAN FRANCISCO – Newly minted millionaires — the ones who hit in the stock market — are so troubled by their sudden wealth that they’re seeking help to cope with their new lives.

“It’s an early identity crisis,” Joan DiFuria, a Bay area psychologist, told the San Francisco Chronicle.. “There’s a sense of denial. There’s a sense of shock. There’s a sense of  ‘I-don’t-deserve-this.’”

DiFuria and fellow psychologist Stephen Goldbart say the condition is so prevalent that they’ve given it a name, “Sudden Wealth Syndrome,” and founded the Money, Meaning & Choices Institute.

And financial powerhouses like Charles Schwab and Merrill Lunch have held seminars on the topic.

The experts say the bottom line is that few new millionaires are ready for the changes, ranging from the way friends view them to raising children in newly affluent households.

DiFuria and Goldbart, like many wealth specialists, advocate philanthropy as a key to peace of mind. But they told the Chronicle that these new millionaires even are wary about giving away money: How much should they give? Who should they give to? How should they do it?

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