In Discussions, Money, Wealth

Being rich doesn’t insulate you from having to live

The biggest misconception people have about money is that it will solve all your problems, and if you win something big, let’s say a lottery, or manage to sell all the stocks you bought at $2 for $200, you are immediately immune and inoculated from the problems of life.

Being rich just means one thing — you’re rich.

It doesn’t mean that your kids will love you more, but it may mean that they could change their attitudes towards you to make it seem like they love you more.

I thought about this when I reflected upon the life of my millionaire uncle.

His three kids are all paragons of dutiful, filial virtue.

 

(Yeah and they TOTALLY look like those 3 statues above. 😛 )

Here are a few things they do:

They give him $1000 a month (each) as a token of respect (not that he needs the money, he has triple the net worth that they have combined).

They fly back every year for a big family get-together where they have formal portraits taken.


They constantly “treat” them to dinners, and buy them whatever they want, having each given him an unlimited credit card for personal use.

Honestly speaking, only one cousin out of the three, is actually self-made and rich by his own hard work. He is generous, kind, and absolutely doing everything he does for the people around him because he wants to.

I remember visiting him and he had just come back from a long business trip. He took the time out of his weekend to be with me, and even remembered to bring a gift that I would like because we hadn’t gotten together in so long.

He does all of this not because he thinks he can get money out of me (he is far richer than I am even without his father’s money) – he does it because that is just the kind of man he is.

The other two cousins of mine do it because they don’t want to be cut out of the will.

They got married young, popped out kids as soon as possible (grandchildren in the spitting image of their rich father would be ideal), and do all the things they can to show how respectful they are of him and how loved he is.

But is it real?

I wonder if my uncle really feels like his kids love him.

Seeing their behaviour on the outside, it LOOKS like they love him, but I think it is a love out of fear rather than a genuine one. I’m fairly sure if they were not concerned about being cut out of the will, they would be a lot more lax in their gift-giving and lavish displays of “love” in the form of money.

The thing that everyone forgets about being filthy rich is that it doesn’t insulate you from having to live your life that includes all the bad things we don’t want to feel or have.

Like in my example above, being rich doesn’t mean you’ll never feel pain, anger, frustration, heartbreak or any emotional trauma or problems that other poorer individuals feel.

You can sure buy a heck of a lot of toys, but you can’t buy what might really matter.

Take for instance being on a train, or even a plane — sure you’re traveling in first-class with fantastic service while the peons in the back are huddled together like sardines, but if the plane is delayed, or if it goes through rocky weather, you are going to feel as plane-sick and as frustrated as the rest of us.

Or if you stand in line and aren’t served immediately to your satisfaction — is your money going to make that cashier work faster and treat you differently?

No. Unless you pay her and bribe her to be nice to you, of course, but that’s going to get mighty expensive.

Being rich doesn’t insulate you from these things, and that’s something with remembering the next time you look around and envy someone else’s life.

They might be suffering through deeper problems than you are, even though on the outside their life looks perfect.

I also heard and read somewhere that rich people are more likely to be angry, frustrated and disappointed. Why? Because they think their money insulates them from feeling pain.

Have you ever felt like this? Standing in line, thinking: MY MONEY MATTERS!…. well imagine that times a thousand for rich folks.


Apparently as they expect the best out of everything, and if their 5-star hotel room is not utterly, 100% perfect… they lose it.

They don’t think: Oh well the towels weren’t folded 90-degrees and I didn’t have a hot towel when I walked in the lobby.

They think: WHAT THE HELL? I have tons of money, spending a boatload of money on this hotel room and I didn’t get a single goddamn hot towel!?

Okay, so I’m being glib here, but you see my point.

With more money, comes higher expectations, and when those are sky-high, real life which is not perfect, starts to anger you when imperfections flare up.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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7 Comments

  1. G
    Gen Y

    Reading this post, I’m reminded of a moment in the documentary Born Rich when Ivanka Trump said someone asked her once what it is like to feel no pain because she was rich. Isn’t it amazing that someone could honestly think that?

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Gen Y: Oh yeah! That’s right. I’d agree with this. Money doesn’t buy you true life.

      I also remember in the documentary the rich kids wondering if “life” was really at the middle-class level, and not where they were.

      Reply
    2. j
      james

      @Gen Y: The man was asking how it felt to have instant access to any healthcare, travel opportunities, health, beauty, a kinder treatment than most others get, access to the best education, and even a job of her choice than is gonna pay well. Honestly most people get that he is not talking about have no literal emotional or physical pain. How either of you or Ivanka for that matter missed the point entirely is somewhat baffling to me.

      Reply
  2. Michelle

    I feel like money is a mask sometimes. It covers fakeness in people and make them seem genuine… if you know what I mean… It also brings out the worse in people. Greed is one of the big 7 sins. :/

    What would you do if you suddenly won a large sum of money (like lottery)? How would you handle it? I was thinking about it after you post your last post… and I think I would live about the same life that I plan to live… just with a more secure retirement plan. 😛

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Michelle: Ditto.

      I don’t think it’d really change my life. I may just end up moving to a warmer country earlier, and live just as I do now.

      Reply
  3. Morgaine

    I can’t agree more with the points in this post. Greed absolutely brings out the worst in people.

    I also dealt with a lot of people with money when I worked at parking lots in University and they used to bitch so much about having to pay $1.25 an hour (1999) for parking. Meanwhile they’re driving Mercedes and BMWs. And of course, they looked down on me while I was working there. I really angered someone by offering to pay for thier parking by saying “here, I’ll pay for it, it’ll cost me about 1/2 hour of my wage but I’m sure you make less than me, right?” She practically threw the $2.50 at me! Fun times 😉

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Morgaine: OOOOO!!!!!

      That is a GOOD answer. Shaming people who have have lost touch with reality is a special sport of mine as well.

      Reply

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