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Wall Street Trader Recognizes "Wealth Addiction"

By 30 years old, Sam Polk had made more than $5 million in bonuses alone during eight years working on Wall Street. As a trader, he was living it up in Manhattan by the age of 25. Polk said, "It was an easy thing to go to a World Series game, which for a lot of people was like a dream. [I had] a tremendous feeling of importance and power especially as a 25-year-old kid."

But at the age of 30, he abruptly quit his job on Wall Street. Despite the money Polk had been making, he was still consumed by envy. He went on to work at a hedge fund, and his obsession with money only got worse. In a New York Times op-ed, he wrote:

Now, working elbow to elbow with billionaires, I was a giant fireball of greed. I'd think about how my colleagues could buy Micronesia if they wanted to, or become the mayor of New York City. They didn't just have money; they had power … Senators came to their offices. They were royalty.

Polk describes getting angry over a $3.6 million bonus because it wasn't big enough. He realized that he had what he know calls "a wealth addiction." Polk explained:

I came to realize I had been using money as this thing that would quell all my fears. So I had this belief that maybe someday I would get enough money that I would no longer be scared … I would feel successful. And one of the things I learned on Wall Street was no matter how much money I made, the money was never going to do it.

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