Is it worth it ? The downsides of being rich
| Jul 22nd 2014 | 2 min read
Unless you were born rich, at some point in your life you’ve probably dreamed about becoming wealthy. You know, ridiculous wealth, winning-the-lottery kind of money, with visions of lifestyles of the rich and famous, mansions with manicured lawns and massive swimming pools, personal islands, expensive sports cars and private jets. What happens to those lucky few people for whom dream becomes reality?
Carol Philo watched her poverty-stricken parents become millionaires when a printing company they owned and ran out of the family’s spare bedroom took off. With the profit, came an obsession for more and more.
“My mom became addicted to the money ....Nothing was ever enough,” Philo said, and over the years, family relations eventually dissolved. “Having seen the entire gauntlet, I would say that getting comfortable is worth it. Getting rich is not.”
Murat Morrison couldn’t agree more. He made a mint when he sold his trucking company in the late 1990s. One thing he learned will stay with him forever, he said.
“Money buys comfort,” Morrison said. “Comfort is not happiness or satisfaction. I felt as empty as a drum for the next few years. While it is good to be comfortable, it is more satisfying to be happy.”
Wealth also tends to bring out people’s true colours, added Paul Buchheit.
“In general, it makes people more of whatever they already were,” he said. “If you have purpose and meaning in your life that goes beyond chasing the golden carrot, money can give you the freedom to focus on the things that truly matter to you.”
For Stu Sjouwerman, that purpose was continuing to work. “I worked hard for 15 years and sold my software company. Walked out with an eight-figure number, and was retired for a whopping five days,” he said. “I started a new company immediately and felt a whole lot happier.”
The downsides of being rich can outweigh the benefits. Since most people imagine being rich as nirvana, you are no longer allowed to have any human needs or frustrations in the public eye. Yet, you are still a human being, but most people don’t treat you like one.
Other downsides stretch to new parameters with friends and family. Most people now want something out of you, and it can be harder to figure out whether someone is being nice to you because they like you, or they are being nice to you because of your money.
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