sudden loss of wealth syndrome
n. Stress and anxiety caused by an abrupt loss of wealth.
Joan Indursky-DiFuria, co-founder of the Money, Meaning and Choices Institute in San Francisco — the folks who put the phrase 'Sudden Wealth Syndrome' into the lexicon — said many of her clients are now dealing with 'Sudden Loss of Wealth Syndrome.'
—Abby Ellin, “Therapy for Dot-Com Survivors,” The New York Times, March 18, 2001
2000 (earliest)
Dr. Stephen Goldbart, a Bay Area clinical psychologist, … [is] also seeing clients afflicted with sudden loss of wealth syndrome, people whose six- or seven-figure bank accounts are in decline.
—Elaine Korry, “Stockholders in Internet companies losing their money since a downturn in the market in March,” National Public Radio, July 18, 2000
During the late 1990s when the dot-com fad had become a full-fledged frenzy, it seemed as though the entire population of the Western world was rich. If your net worth didn't have two commas in it, then, well, there must have been something wrong with you, no? What was wrong, actually, was that the majority of these nouveaux riche were riche only on paper. They may have been worth millions, but those millions existed as stocks or stock options. When the bubble went kablooey, that wealth disappeared like so much sunscreen at a nudist colony. Hence today's rapid reformulation of sudden wealth syndrome. Predictably, the earliest citation is post-crash.
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