#63 – The Psychology of Affluence


Jessie O’Neill, M.A.is the author of the book, The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence. Jessie was born to wealth. She is the granddaughter of Charles Erwin Wilson, past president of General Motors and secretary of defense under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was Wilson who immortalized the equating of financial and patriotic success with the now famous, comment: “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country, and vice versa.” Today, Jessie O’Neill is founder and director of The Affluenza Project, president of The Affluenza Healing and Education Foundation, Inc., and a licensed therapist. As a therapist, O’Neill specializes in the psychology of money/wealth and how it affects both our personal and professional “bottom line” or productivity, and the treatment of affluenza through a myriad of educational and therapeutic services. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later earned a Master’s degree in psychology and counseling. She is an entrepreneur, watercolor artist and mother of two daughters.

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. suz
    Posted November 21, 2007 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    i tried to visit her affluenza website and send an email of appreciation and my email didn’t go through. please submit my appreciation to Ms. O’Neill. Here is a section of the email in case Ms. O’Neill reads this:

    I listened to your podcast with interest, as I love the book “the seven stages of money maturity…” by G. Kinder and your book quite interesting to me.

    Money is a very interesting, “loaded”, and sensitive thing. oh geez, I just saw a pun in the word “loaded” … what I meant was “symbolic of many things to different people”

    1. upon listening to the podcast, I went to affluenzaproject, which seems to be your core site? there are some confusing links to affluenza.com … I wasn’t sure what was going on?

    2. you’d mentioned a non-published work (money dearest) – have you published any of that work in smaller pieces anyplace? e.g., you also mentioned an Esalen workshop … “how much is enough” sounded useful and transformative. was it so?

  2. Chad Schlesinger
    Posted January 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Ms. Oniell was not talking about being the child of wealth, she was talking about being the child of bad parents. I think her self-loathing was so powerfull that she projected it onto her entire class. Whenever we listen to highly motivated person we must always ask ourselves why they are so passionate. In my opinion her theories were developed in order to exhonerate her parents. Look at the way she speaks about her own daughter as an exemplar of wholesomeness, her doughter is the child of wealth also. What is the difference? Good parenting! The problems of poverty will always outweigh the problems of wealth.

  3. Posted December 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I read your book several years ago and was so impressed by it. I live in South Florida now year round. So glad I was reminded of you and your book again recently. And thank you for doing this podcast. Now more than ever we need to hear from an authentic voice like yours. How can America get out of the deep ditch that we are in? People are hurting and everyone has a cause. Why have our political leaders let us down? I started a small business after working for the Tribune Co for many years. Not much to show for it yet. Defending your right to charge was a brilliant thought. If only I was as creative with what I charge is what my family tells me, as I am very creative. They say I would actually be making my own living without their help. Why do I feel so devalued.

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