This story begins with a rancher from south Texas, much like you or I. He had a family, a small ranch, two dogs, and a tractor or two that needed some work. Barely five years ago, this family man’s main worries consisted of weather changes, veterinary bills, livestock prices and the general well-being of the family business. The discovery of the Eagle Ford shale changed everything.
Advances in technology have skyrocketed the last few decades. Each industry is becoming more and more efficient with opportunities to grow and create more efficient ways of using our resources. Included in this technological advancement is horizontal fracking for oil and natural gas. When the Eagle Ford shale was discovered in south Texas, the subsequent fracking drastically changed thousands of lives nearly overnight. These south Texas farmers and ranchers now have completely different worries and problems with the onset of “sudden wealth.” The dream of acquired wealth and comfortable living soon showed its true disposition. Stress, greed, family problems, spiritual issues and charitable issues are a few of the life changing problems that go hand-in-hand with new found or sudden wealth. This phenomenon, called “Sudden Wealth Syndrome” or “SWS,” creates new challenges and obstacles for families that are almost always unprepared for these occurrences.
SOURCES OF STRESS
There are many sources of stress that come from the onset sudden wealth of the Eagle Ford shale. All of this newly gained wealth is soon scrutinized and nearly half of the royalties from the Eagle Ford shale are being claimed by the government. The family land that once provided sustenance in the form of a pasture or a crop has now been mangled and ravaged by the constant drilling. The dozens of family members who need financial help can begin to cause feelings of guilt or isolation. The new responsibilities that come with having wealth, the expectations, the sleepless nights, trying to decide how and where to help others, deciding how the children will be affected, all of these anxieties eventually come to a head. These are things that a working class farmer or rancher is thrust into very quickly and very unprepared.
Many people are still inclined to the disillusionment that all problems can be treated with more wealth. These Eagle Ford families, though grateful and blessed, have seen that lasting peace and success does not come with wealth, but can only come with God’s will carried out in one’s life. This Sudden Wealth Syndrome is a byproduct of God’s blessing that must be handled with grace and wisdom.
Christian Financial Association believes that wealth is a gift that God bestows. The managing of new found wealth should be carried out with discernment, wisdom, and care. At CFAA we believe that God’s word contains complete instructions and answers for this very situation. We are here to help families gain an understanding of all these Wealth Management issues using Biblical principles.