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Pros and cons of being wealthy

The pros and cons of being wealthy – a discussion

You want to be rich. Perhaps very wealthy indeed. Who wouldn’t? Debating the pros and cons of being wealthy seems as one-sided as a boxing match between Warren Buffett and Muhammad Ali.

However I’ve given this some thought – inspired by a strange and unfounded fear I’d be the £195 million winner in the EuroMillions – and there are quite a few bad points.

Don’t get me wrong – it’d be a nice problem to have. If you’ve just searched out ‘the pros and cons of being wealthy’ as a sanity check before accepting a briefcase of cash from the Premium Bonds people, take the money!

You can come back later to tell us how hard it is being rich. But let’s begin with the good points.

The pros of being wealthy

Unless you’re very religious, contrarian, or you’re visiting our planet ahead of the full-scale invasion from Mars, you’ll know how great it is to have money.

The esteemed rap poet Nas sums up the general picture as follows:

Clothes that I buy, Ice that I wear,
Clothes that I try, close your eyes
Picture me rollin, sixes, money foldin
Bitches honies that swollen to riches…

Mr Nas is a bit weak in rhyming the clothes he’s trying with those that he’s buying, but then he doesn’t need to try too hard.

He knows we’ve all dreamed of being rich. He just has to flick that switch.

At the very least, being wealthy gets you:

  • Financial freedom
  • Holidays anywhere
  • A great home
  • Funding for your pastimes and passions
  • Good suits
  • Excellent health care
  • A swimming pool full of beautiful people in their skimpies
  • Gold teeth

Feel free to substitute your own desires. (Personally I’d like an island.)

However as Morgan Housel writes in The Psychology of Money:

“Money’s greatest intrinsic value – and this can’t be overstated – is its ability to give you control over your time.”

Self-determination is at the luxury end of the hierachy of needs. And when you’re very wealthy, within reason you can do what you want, where you want, when you want, and a lot of the time with who you want.

But beware! Just like the baddies level up in a video game moments after you get a new weapon upgrade, so your money problems can mutate and come back stronger when you get rich.

The downsides of being wealthy

When I said this article was about the pros and cons of being wealthy, I meant it. Having a lot of money has drawbacks, especially if you get rich overnight.

Just consider the lottery winner’s curse.

Even making your own money won’t necessarily make you happy. I’ve met a fair few rich people over the years, mainly through work, and I’ve also read widely on the subject. And I feel confident in listing these negatives.

(I’m mostly talking about being really rich here – at least £10 million / $15 million net worth.)

Money (probably) won’t make you happy

Once you’re earning a surprisingly modest amount of the stuff, researchers say making more money doesn’t make you happier. Rich people get depressed, just like the middle classes. True, there’s no evidence that money actually makes you unhappy, but it could distract you from fixing your real problems. That said, more recent research suggests earning more money can make you happier – so who knows? And being poor is definitely hard work. So some money is definitely better than none.

The end of your goals and ambitions

You see this with children born into money, as well as people who built a company up for several decades and sold it too late to start another. When you have the money, what next? The trick seems to be to find a substitute to your old goal of achieving financial security. That’s probably why you can’t walk far in Africa without tripping over a philanthropist.

Being judged unfairly

People are critical of the wealthy, especially in the UK. You might give nearly half your money to HMRC, but you’ll still read that you’re a freeloading leech who doesn’t pay their fair share. In the US, entrepreneurs are celebrated, but newly-rich Brits will find many people waiting for them to fall. I saw it a lot in my old career. A self-made man or woman leaves the room, and someone says “well, he was lucky” or “she’s out of ideas” or even “what a dick”. Not nice, but it happens. Then again I’ve also noticed newly-rich people can be terrible for a year or so, before reverting back to their old selves. So if you only got rich six months ago, perhaps you are being a bit of dick.

Someone is richer than you

Rich people are human, too. Your yacht isn’t as big as the one next door, or you had to buy your furniture, unlike your neighbours who had theirs passed down from the 17th Century. Nobody is the richest person in the world on every measure. How many billions would Buffett give to be young again? And anyway, in an increasingly digital world many of the best things can be enjoyed equally as well by normal people as by billionaires.


Money can’t buy the love of your friends and family. “Don’t feel bad about being rich,” they say. But do you believe them? One has a broken boiler, another has a child with special needs. And then there are distant relatives who can’t afford nursing care. Do you help them all? Can you? Should you give all your money away? Where do you draw the line?

Being rich is a big deal

Buy a country house and you need staff. Invest your millions and you need accountants. They might move your money offshore, and now you don’t understand the taxes. Perhaps you’ll go to prison for tax evasion? But you’ve no time to read up, because three different architects are coming over to quote on your summer home. You need to brief the security guy about that. Except he’s getting off with your disinterested wife in the boat shed. You think you’ll be different? So do I. Didn’t they?

Scams and fraudsters

One reason you’ll employ all those professionals is because you’ll need help warding off the crooks attracted to your wealth. Nobody was pretending to be you when you owed the bank money. But now you’ve millions parked away it’s a different story. Let’s hope your financial advisers aren’t swindlers, too.

I love you (and your money)

The big one. Does she really find you fascinating, or is it just your bank balance? Is he really won over by your beauty, wit, and experience, or does he just hope to bleed you dry while banging the French au pair?

Money can be all-consuming

The most surprising thing you’ll read in How To Get Rich by Felix Dennis is when he urges you to stop with money after you make a few million. Beyond that you’re wasting your life.

The incredibly rich founder of Maxim magazine wrote:

“Let me repeat it one more time. Becoming rich does not guarantee happiness. In fact, it is almost certain to impose the opposite condition – if not from the stresses and strains of protecting it, then from the guilt that inevitably accompanies its arrival.”

And he should know.

To conclude with the rapper’s perspective, what I didn’t tell you earlier is that the lyrics were from a song called Hate Me Now, in which Nas laments the ill-feeling his wealth inspires out on the streets.

The bard sums up his frustrations thus:

You wanna hate me then hate me; what can I do
but keep gettin money, funny I was just like you
I had to hustle hard never give up, until I made it
Now y’all sayin that’s a clever nigga, nuttin to play with

Of course, the single was a hit and it made Nas even richer. Just like Dennis’ How to Get Rich book is a bestseller.

Being wealthy has its rewards, but irony – that’s priceless.

Do you think the pros and cons of being wealthy are in balance? Would you rather be rich or just comfortable? Share your thoughts below.

{ 62 comments… add one }
  • 1 Money Reasons February 17, 2010, 7:32 pm

    Well written article… And yet, I’ll take the problems of being legitimately rich any day. (Unlegitimately rich would be like Bernie Maddoff, that I don’t want).

    Money Reasons on: 10 Millionaire Lifestyle Secrets

  • 2 The Investor February 17, 2010, 7:50 pm

    @Money Reasons – Thanks, we seem to be on the same posting wavelength today! Some cool facts you’ve found there. For the avoidance of doubt, I’d take the money too!

  • 3 swebb February 17, 2010, 8:17 pm

    ha! ha! Brilliant article…. well written, funny, and educational.P.S. I’d take the money too. 🙂

  • 4 RetirementInvestingToday February 17, 2010, 9:49 pm

    I’d take the financial independence anyday. My motto is slightly different to yours with ‘Money doesn’t make you happy but it sure helps’.

    The problems faced by the rich and poor are very different but I still think the ones you listed are preferrable to what some people are facing today:
    – If only I had some money I could go private and get it sorted quickly rather than waiting for the NHS.
    – The debt collectors are at the door again.
    – Darling should we eat tonight or heat the house?
    .-= RetirementInvestingToday on: UK Inflation – February 2010 Update =-.

  • 5 The Investor February 18, 2010, 1:56 am

    @RIT – Yes indeed, I think we’re all agree it’d be swell to be mildly rich. But I do think there’s a case for saying truly rich isn’t a bed of roses? I felt the Dennis book was quite candid in this regard, though there’s no doubt he’s inherently quite a melancholy type.

    @Money Reasons – Cheers. Interesting you bring up Bernie Madoff. He’s a classic example of what I mean about how the rich can get taken in – most of his investors were in this bracket.

    @swebb – Thank you kindly!

  • 6 Ryan @ Planting Dollars February 18, 2010, 4:55 am

    I’ve seen this firsthand with my parents… They worked their asses off for 20 years to get where they are today and their families are now jealous and treat them differently… being successful has literally driven a wedge between them and their brothers and sisters and thus between me and my extended family as well. Super annoying and I hope that never happens with my sister and I (assuming only one of us gets wealthy).

    Insightful look since a lot of people don’t think of the downside.
    .-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars on: Hiking Diamond Head and Snorkeling In Waikiki =-.

  • 7 Financial Samurai February 18, 2010, 9:14 am

    The secret Monevator, is to be wealthy and have nobody know how much you make or have!

    Nobody will EVER know what I make or have. They may guess, but they will never know which is exactly the way I like it. In fact, it’s better to be perceived as poor and have bank for some of the reasons you mention above.

    The only thing I reveal on my site is my “Freedom Fund” barometer. It’s a measure of one savings account, but more importantly, I need it to be included in Kyle’s wealth tracker list! lol
    .-= Financial Samurai on: The Most Important Tip For Job Hoppers: Join People, Not Firms =-.

  • 8 The Investor February 18, 2010, 11:04 am

    @Ryan – It’s so sad when success backfires like that – I hope your family finds someway back. (Let’s hope your sister doesn’t start blogging? 😉 )

    @Sam – Yes, this is pretty much my outlook, offline and online. My favourite house I ever lived in – in a very rough part of town – looked like a crack den from outside. (It had broken glass cemented into the top of the walls!) But behind was by London standards a little oasis. I often think of it when thinking about how to present my financial profile to the world. (Admittedly I was a student and I did have no money then, but you take the point).

    It is tempting to be like Flexo from Consumerism Commentary and reveal all my finances on Monevator, in semi-anonymity, as I think it could be useful for readers to see the ups and downs, but once you go public you can’t take it back. What I may do is set up a demo real-money portfolio or two, a bit like your cash freedom fund, and track that here.

  • 9 LeanLifeCoach February 18, 2010, 12:13 pm

    I know what its like to not be rich so if you are willing to force it upon me I’ll take my chances with money! 🙂

    Frankly, if suddenly I had it, my life would change little. I have no need for a bigger house or a new car. As long as my family is healthy I have everything I already need with the exception of money in the bank to sustain my current lifestyle through retirement.
    .-= LeanLifeCoach on: Combat The Closing Techniques – The Puppy Dog Close =-.

  • 10 The Investor February 18, 2010, 1:01 pm

    @LeanLifeCoach – Mine neither, with the possible exception of buying a property irrespective of what I see as the overvaluation. I’ve often thought I’d try to hide a small lottery win (say £1m/$1.5m) completely from my friends, and just invest the lot. (That said, I’d give some money to my parents and tell them “I had some luck on the stock market I wanted to share” or similar! And maybe the same for sibling down payments on property.)

  • 11 Davy Jones February 18, 2010, 6:22 pm

    Was it Earl Nightingale that said ” You’ve got to BECOME a millionaire on the inside before you can be one on the outside ”

    I found that a pertinent point , even with all the risks attatched im guessing most would still take it

    Keeping it a secret .. that’d make you feel like Clark Kent right .. you’d have all these super powers of wealth & you’d have to be very elusive in how you displayed it to help others , it’d be one hell of a feel good kick ! .. helping others yet being humble enough to not let them know it was you

    The Investor , think i read you saying you are overweight on equities right now with inflation looming , i’ve just sold out all my holdings today , it is going to be painful keeping it in cash at near 0 % .. , if you squeeze another 10 % or so out good on you man , im just going to grit my teeth & sit tight for now , atleast i got most of my losses back yay 😉

  • 12 The Investor February 18, 2010, 10:08 pm

    @Davy – Thanks for the comments. (I deleted the Kipling poem after initially approving it, because it just seemed to break up the discussion here).

    Clark Kent – yes, that’s exactly how I’d like to be wealthy. I’m already a bit like that as a blogger, with most of my family and friends having no idea about Monevator.

    Re: Stocks, if I was only looking for 10% from the market I’d not be so overweight… I am looking for 50-100% over the next 5-10 years or so, before dividends. Possibly much more. I would love to be more diversified though, not least because I think asset allocation is woefully overlooked by private investors and I’m being a hypocrite. I’m watching Gilts like a hawk, and will start buying 10-year gilts at 5% most likely.

  • 13 Financial Samurai February 19, 2010, 6:44 am

    Yeah, worth picking one fund of yours and just tracking it. Pick a savings cash account, or equity investment account or whatever. It’s fun!
    .-= Financial Samurai on: Marketing Or Manipulation? =-.

  • 14 Investor Junkie February 19, 2010, 3:17 pm

    I’ve decided not to discuss specifics of my money for another reason not mentioned. The tax man! Not that I’m behind in taxes, but because the government has used blogs and Facebook postings against people. No BS on this.
    .-= Investor Junkie on: Are You Saving Too Much? =-.

  • 15 The Investor February 19, 2010, 5:25 pm

    @Sam – I’ve actually set up an account ready to track a small £10K equity trading portfolio, really just to have some nice way of grouping my share write ups together. The trouble is it sends the wrong messages in some ways (passive is actually better for most, and £10K isn’t barely enough for efficient trading of 10+ holdings). So I hesitate.

    @Investor Junkie – Wow, do you have any links? I’m such a goodie two-shoes I wouldn’t be worried about the tax man calling from a financial point of view, but could do without the paperwork and time etc.

  • 16 Davy Jones February 19, 2010, 5:34 pm

    The Investor , agreed .. there’s alot of good honest advice out there about correct asset allocation & it does make common sense , as you never know which asset class will be declining or advancing at a particular time , there was an interesting article i read on it not so long back showing how it can effect the deviation , not sure what you’ll make of it


    With the 10 % , i just meant that the markets are looking overdue for a correction , that’s why im taking a breather from them , there may be some gains left on the table who knows , im looking to buy in at lower levels .. im after similar gains to you in the long term , never bought gilts as of yet , would consider it though

  • 17 Financial Samurai February 19, 2010, 5:42 pm

    $10K? Don’t feel bad. I’m just tracking $1.8 billion in The Samurai Fund.
    .-= Financial Samurai on: Marketing Or Manipulation? =-.

  • 18 Moneymonk February 19, 2010, 10:42 pm

    “The end of your goals and ambitions”

    This is so true. Once you traveled to all the places you wanted to go and eat at the finest restaurants, you do become bored. People are looking forward to visiting Argentina and you already been there. Your neighbor is excitied and when you already had a safari, you almost wish you didn’t b/c of the excitement of looking forward to it. You run out of fun and ambition. trust me, I know
    .-= Moneymonk on: Friday Quote =-.

  • 19 UKValueInvestor February 20, 2010, 12:48 am

    About a million quid should do it. Much more than that seems excessive. Even with just a 5% real income from that you’d have 50K. 50K on top of any salary is a lot of money in my opinion, not to mention the million sitting there to dipped into on the odd occasion.

    If I won the 56 million I’d be very tempted to give 55 million to somebody who needs it more than a millionaire.

  • 20 Ken February 20, 2010, 4:51 am

    I could imagine there being a tough side to being wealthy..knowing that I would still like to give it a try myself. Good points.
    .-= Ken on: Weekend Linkage – Olympic Edition =-.

  • 21 DJ@ProductivePinoy February 22, 2010, 6:28 am

    Pros. I get to travel all around the world with my family. Can I also buy an island?

    Cons. Where do I go next after visiting all the places/countries I like?
    .-= DJ@ProductivePinoy on: Avoid Low Price Strategy =-.

  • 22 Christina February 24, 2010, 5:03 am

    Even if you’re not really rich, you encounter this problems…but then rich people encounter a lot of problems than the middle class people, yes they have all the resources but there are things that money can’t buy, love, friendship, peace of mind and loyalty. Very well said, though admittedly we all want to get rich.
    .-= Christina on: The Dollar & Gold – What’s Next? =-.

  • 23 ETS December 8, 2010, 5:51 am

    I think you raise a lot of valid issues, wealth provides a person with freedom and options, nothing more. Wealth can also be a burden, you need to really be in touch with yourself to manage it well. Most wealthy people I know appreciate the freedom but can also find it stressful.

  • 24 fella July 14, 2011, 10:16 pm

    to live in your home that is paid for and you know that you aint got sign on and be harassed and made homeless by government policy has to be better than being skint…..the rest is bonus

  • 25 Hyrum August 22, 2011, 7:03 pm

    Being wealthy begins with a mindset. I remember when I was as broke as a joke and blaming everything else but myself. I had some of the best business opportunites out there, some of the best partners, but I always seemed to mess things up. After years of living in this broke state of mind, I realized that I was the one who was at cause of all my “broke-ness” and no one else. Being wealthy has to be a mindset and has to come from within, BEFORE it ever manifests in its psychical form.

  • 26 Stan October 5, 2011, 9:47 am

    One thing I have come to understand is that when you are too poor, your life is all about money or more precisely, the sheer lack of it. If you become too rich, then your life becomes all about money or more precisely having an excess amount of it. There is a comfortable middle where your life is no longer about money, and if you have been poor and broke that is probably where you need to be. Living in a moderate way and secretly having a lot of wealth is probably the best way to go.

  • 27 Marlowann November 6, 2011, 8:54 am

    Your main problems aren’t really with money, but rather with faulty human psychology.

    That money doesn’t bring you happiness isn’t a problem with money; it’s a problem with building up unrealistic and inaccurate expectations.

    If being rich means the end of your goals and ambitions, then you are a very shallow person. Try pursuing wisdom and truth, and fulfillment of the mind; not only can you do that while trying to get rich at the same time, but once you’re rich, you can still keep on with those higher pursuits.

    And nobody cares about being judged unfairly. Surround yourself with as many wise and good people as you can and this will never be any more than an occasional and minor nuisance. Besides that, if people get aggressively envious, you can afford jiu-jitsu lessons and a gun license.

    Someone being richer than you is, again, not a problem with money, but with a lack of gratitude. If I have $20 million, I won’d give a damn if the next guy has $25 million; because I have more than enough for what I need materially already.

    As for guilt, be honestly charitable and have good use (for yourself to save or spend, or for others) for every single dollar you have, and you will never feel guilt. I don’t see the point in even bringing this up.

    Hiring others to handle your wealth isn’t a problem with being wealthy but rather with how you use your wealth, along with how much you know about the use to which you put it. Keep things as simple as you can and plan things out ahead of time and it won’t be complicated enough to justify a complaint.

    Scams and fraudsters are preventable by means of research and credibility. If you can’t keep things simple enough to avoid great problems with how you organize and protect your money, you may as well give most of it away to charity and manage the rest by yourself.

    Your last point has far more to do with recognizing female psychology than with being rich; most people who are good with women rarely come across this problem. There are signs you can look out for and subtle tests you can give to weed out the gold diggers.

  • 28 Cato January 10, 2012, 4:14 am

    Thanks for the article. I’d sometimes wondered whether it was worth becoming rich, and for which reasons. It’s hard to discuss since a lot of people say “yes” automatically, and don’t understand that there’s some effort involved, and this may or may not be worth pursuing depending on one’s talent, and whether the time needed justifies the change in one’s life due to the money (e.g. working constantly until one is 75, and ending quite rich but without having lived, is hardly worth it. I would not trade bodies and finances with Warren Buffett!). There are other related questions such as in the process of getting rich whether you get to create new cool technologies or music, or just something boring like filing tax documents.

    I make a great salary working as a scientist at tech companies. And I also do investing and created some early stage startup at this point. But I could pursue startups more or go more into business if I cared about money that much. I realized already making 6 figures that more money doesn’t really matter for my lifestyle. Like Warren Buffett said the only real difference at the high end is transportation: private jets. I suppose one could get a bigger house but at some point it’s just wasteful and tacky, and the trappings of wealth become more and more gross and superficial at some point. I’d like a nice house, or a vacation home also, but after that I’d rather spend money on curing diseases or helping people. The other points made in this article are of some minor importance, but as Marlowann commented, they’re really problems with insecurities inside people, that people need to address anyway, they’re not pros or cons of having money.

    I feel like the biggest advantage of being rich is being able to work on whatever you’re most passionate about. Since when you’re hired by someone often you’re told what to do, and that might not be the best task on which you should spend your very limited time on Earth. I feel lucky to have a career in science and technology where there is a lot of flexibility in what I can work on. Nevertheless having more money would give me more potential positive impact on the world.

    Some of the other perks such as having houses in multiple countries, can actually be had by people with less income if they just shop for a good deal and rent out the house when they’re gone. Beautiful women can be had by anyone who works out, has a decent career, has good social skills, and practices dating. If you want to be superficial, even luxury cars can be obtained on the cheap by shopping for a used car. I don’t care about luxury cars and I enjoy a pretty woman but it’s more important she has a good soul.

    So on the whole I mostly view wealth as something utilitarian to let me work on fun problems, since I already have enough money to live a nice lifestyle. I mostly do investing for the theoretical reasons that it helps correctly allocate capital to growing businesses thus creating jobs, prevents loss of principal due to the central bank, and benefits capitalism and creates new technologies. Similar reasons for my startup. That is, the drive to make money is because of the theory of making the world better, and not the practical benefit of spending it. The practical benefits don’t actually seem that big since I know rich and non-rich technologists and we all live nearly identical lives anyway, it’s just we get to do more or less exciting work and have more or less ability to change the world. Getting that extra $100k, or even $1m in funds will modify only a little bit of my day, where maybe I take a helicopter home instead of car, but on the whole I’ll be happy either way and just do fun and challenging activities.

    Probably the money is most appealing to people who are so superficial that they interpret having a helicopter instead of a car as evidence of them being a better person. This superficiality is a non-sequitur although greatly encouraged by my society (America). It doesn’t really change their lives much, and almost surely worsens their character, personality, relationships, and friendships. However even if these people are only motivated by the superficial desire to flaunt their ego and as a result they create businesses, jobs, services, goods, then this is still a good thing, which is probably why this is held out as a carrot, motivating people to be rich. But the motivation is backwards so it would probably be better if people were directly motivated by the desire to create businesses and improve society than being driven solely by money, that way they wouldn’t be driven by negative emotions such as jealousy, or feel their motivation is gone if they become rich.

  • 29 René De Beaumarchais June 30, 2012, 8:29 pm

    I’d be happy with even just 3000$ per month.

    I think everybody wants enough money to pay the ever-stacking piles of bills and mortgages and still have a good chunk left to spoil themselves.

    I never forgot this quote:

    “The good life is expensive. There’s another way to live that doesn’t cost as much but is much less pleasant”

  • 30 anon December 2, 2012, 7:59 am

    lol, such a creative article. i really enjoyed it, thank you.

    I myself have always wondered what it would be like to grow up with money passed down by extremely wealthy ancestors. Or becoming rich through hard work, or even winning the lottery. I’m sure everyone has at one point or another in their lives. I still want to work hard and try to become rich, and I’m getting older so I need to start making plans and taking action too. But what hit me most was the reference you made to the Maxim Magazine founder about only making your first few million and calling it quits. At best, I can only hope to make a few million I suppose, since I doubt many middle class citizens end up becoming extremely wealthy. But that keeps my spirit up, maybe a couple million is really all i need. Ok, now the hard part, gotta start making some money. See you guys in a decade when i have a few million, lol.

  • 31 Macro Allen January 23, 2013, 5:18 pm

    I would prefer the downsides of being rich, over the downsides or being poor anyday.

    Yeah being upset because your neighbor has a bigger Yacht than you, sounds a lot better than being hungry for a day because you want to save your last 5 dollars to eat the next day. Or being depressed because someone is living their life lavish, while you slave 5 days a week doing the same boring dead end hustle for just enough money to pay bills and eat (scarcely, might I add).

    I’m sure it sucks knowing you have accomplished all of your goals, and there is not really anymore goals to pursue, but that’s a lot better than going everyday wondering what you’re gonna do if your million dollar idea fails, and you have to start back from square one. Or if your million dollar idea you spent so much time working on does fail, and you are stuck back at a dead end hustle to make ends meet.

    That’s why those that went from being poor to being rich don’t really complain about as much as those who were born into money, because the ones who became rich from poor know what it’s like to be on the other side. Yeah, everyone has their cons for everything, but rich people need to understand that hundreds of millions of people would kill to be in their shoes (some actually do).

    People tell me that I am lucky to have what I have everyday, and that someone somewhere would love to be in my shoes, and I’m working at a dead end job, no car, living with my father, very few friends, barely any spending money, and barely any luxuries (Electronics, Clothes, Etc..). So if you are reading this and you are rich, the minute you start feeling down because being rich is not as fun. Just think of how extremely, ridiculously fortunate you are.

  • 32 B. Kay March 11, 2013, 9:14 am

    I know how to be happy, yet I am poor. I know how to shop and I do think money does buy some happiness but it depends on the individual how much. I would love to be able to make certain that all of my loved ones have enough to keep them from being vulnerable. No matter what, it’s better to be rich and miserable than poor and miserable. Lol.

    What fun it would be to see the local shelters have fresh fish and vegetables to serve for dinner. What fun to be the one who makes certain the elderly couple next door have enough cardiac meds and diabetic supplies without having to wonder if they will die soon because they don’t have their medications. What fun to see to it that, for the first time in her life, the single mom has a reliable car. What fun to see to it that the local nursing home is completely sanitary and fully staffed.

    Money can buy happiness if one knows where to shop.

  • 33 Muna Musa March 16, 2013, 2:18 pm

    Very good and fun read. Money helps alot…. but i have learned that happiness is an inside job! 🙂

  • 34 Jaja March 29, 2013, 6:06 pm

    I would rather be comfortable! I dont think that being filthy rich is nessasary. But I do believe that having the means to make things move (pay bills) is a stress reliever.

  • 35 Devastation August 2, 2013, 1:14 pm

    If you have managed to earn your millions and to make your way to the higher class, you shouldn’t be so dumb
    a. to be fooled by fraudsters and scams.
    b. to run out of goals. goals can be about personal growth, excitement, fun, and other things in life which does not necessarily have something to do about getting rich. Writing a book(Challenge your creativity), traveling to different places, etc..
    c. To let words bring you down. You don’t have to please everyone in the society, a lot of garbage and fckd-up people comprises the society anyway. Unless you have a weak personality or you’re gullible, immature, this shouldn’t be a problem.
    d. to think that love is only a concern and/or a big problem of the rich. Even the poor of the poorest and the middle class encounter, problems related to love, friendship, and other intangible things which humans find valuable so much but in reality, nothing more than chemical reactions. If people will only love someone because of materialistic reason, at least if you’re rich, you can experience love, even if it’s not so genuine as you wanted it to be, unlike the poor, they don’t even get a taste of it and the middle class will most likely won’t have enough of it. It is the issue of the person who love someone because of money, it’s not because you’re rich. Anyway if you have the money, you control that kind of person.

    To sum things up,
    If you just know how to use your wealth, those cons are nothing.

  • 36 Bach November 28, 2013, 6:05 pm

    I first read this a couple of years ago, when I started making some real money and my wife told me that being wealthy would bring new problems. I didn’t understand what she meant and didn’t understand some of the ways my life would change.

    Now I’m well beyond what any lottery winner could achieve etc and I have to say that with the benefit of hindsight she was spot on. Distant relatives I’ve never spoken to have appeared, and I seem to have a lot of new friends for some reason. But all these people who have appeared in the last couple of years, eventually there’s a sob story and a pressing need to borrow money. Like your article says can I help them all? No, I’m not wealthy enough to save the planet. No-one is. So where do you draw the line? That question leaves you in a situation where people are demanding that you explain why you helped someone else but not them. It’s uncomfortable to say the least.

    So do you decide to help no-one? Or just the people you knew before you became wealthy? Once again that’s difficult. Money poisons friendships like nothing else.

    I’ve decided to go down the path of being supportive and understanding and leaving the chequebook in the desk drawer. I donate 20% to charity every year partly so that I can feel like I’m doing something, but to be honest most of the reason for my charity work is so that I can point at it when pressed for money by friends and family. It’s become an excuse and that’s a sad state to be in.

    Do I wish I’d continued being Mr Average Joe? I can’t say. My life has taken me where it’s taken me and you have to just adapt to that. But the presence of money has created additional problems which in my opinion exceed the problems resolved by having money. To be honest, the problem of paying the bills and providing food is simple compared to the issues involved when people you are close to need help, and because of complications you cannot provide it.

  • 37 Perico December 13, 2014, 2:58 pm

    My business has recently gone off and i’m making more money than I’ve ever earned before. And it’s in something that many of my friends and family were sceptical (why are you giving up your job for that etc?).

    And just a few months ago my mother passed away from which I’ll inherit about 1/2 million dollars.

    So I’m thinking I won’t even tell my friends how much money I’m making when we buy a new house and car because everyone will assume its all the inheritance. I think I prefer that. No-one will resent my moderate wealth if it’s an inheritance, but will if it’s self-earned. Crazy, heh?

  • 38 Goldy May 14, 2015, 7:10 am

    Money DOES make you happy. It buys choices, enables fulfilling your dreams, and
    makes living on earth a better experience than poverty does.

  • 39 Sam June 25, 2016, 12:47 am

    I have an apartment, running water, a 15 year old minivan that runs, live paycheck to paycheck, eat very healthy and exercise regularly. Once in awhile I have enough to take my family to dinner or a movie, I love giving money to the homeless and I couldn’t be happier. If I came into massive wealth I’d buy a small home in the country and dedicate my life to enjoying nature, being a blessing to my family and to others.

  • 40 TP January 15, 2017, 7:44 am

    Honestly I don’t have any money but I seem to be able to afford things my peers can’t afford, like a nice home, car and top of the range etc. I find that anything I say sounds offensive or bougie. A friend could be talking state benefit and I wanna talk about property market and maybe getting another house… it’s quite awkward.
    You visit your friends and the fridge is empty and you used to 100% juice and they offering you squash, and you like no thanks, and they begin to see you as Alien…
    So many hurdles to having high standards.
    I also find friends who are poor, spend their time thinking sex with anyone and ways to make a baby for council house, state benefits and stuff, when I find it absurd, it’s like I’m not with the times..

    Overall money is everything and can give you everything and I wish I had money.
    But I realised with the little I have, you get a lot of judgements, being yourself is offensive, because your goals aren’t the norm and so is your conversation… too far from reality, so the less ambitious think of you…

    I’d rather be surrounded by money and luxury life, than be poor and happy…
    No happiness without money, too much stress not knowing where your next meal is coming from or having to argue with your partner over taxi fare or having to live In shared accommodation of six tenants (fridge, microwave, bed, in one room, that’s clutter)

  • 41 Sage Mage April 2, 2017, 1:57 am

    Poverty is NOT some state of mind and being that is ‘good’.
    No, no, and no.
    Everyone should aspire only to be abundant and go for it.
    Forget poverty !

  • 42 Jeremy July 9, 2017, 8:19 pm

    There is a lot of hate towards the wealthy. I believe they deserve happiness as much as anyone else. I like the fact that I can go to McDonalds and nobody cares. I don’t have cameras in my face, I’m allowed privacy. Money sounds nice, but I kinda like being a nobody. I’ve never been rich monetarily, so I have no basis for comparison, but I feel no ill towards those that know how to make it.

  • 43 dennis July 28, 2017, 2:51 am

    I rather be rich any day money does buy you happiness / rich is everthing

  • 44 Jim McG August 25, 2022, 12:01 pm

    I always chuckle when I remember Robbie Williams doing the National Lottery draw one Saturday evening. He was just about to “release the balls” when he looked straight into the camera and with a dead-pan face, stated, “It won’t make you happy”. Nice one.

  • 45 hal August 25, 2022, 12:37 pm

    I’m not sure this article has aged well (I know recently it’s edited) The references to bonking and banging …and gender… The world has changed, and attitudes have changed. I’d like to read a fresh take on this subject. But I’ll accept that having too much money is a problem that most people can only ever dream of having.

  • 46 The Investor August 25, 2022, 12:59 pm

    @hal — I changed a couple of things in light of updated social mores (for instance the swimming pool / skimpies reference went gender neutral, although to be fair to me the female focus previously was a callback to the rap theme) but I left in others deliberately. The au pair bit was always addressed to both genders.

    And women talk about sex (including ‘banging’) just as much as men. Quite possibly more, if my friends are to believed.

    Perhaps the Nas lyrics are a bit harder to digest in 2022 though?

  • 47 G August 25, 2022, 1:17 pm

    Could have been worse, it could have been lyrics by R Kelly…

    Dennis’ book is an excellent read – and I agree, stop when you have enough. For me, that was reaching FI. I don’t need a big car (or even any car), a yacht, swimming pool etc. Health is a really good investment, perhaps the best once your basic needs are taken care of. But even here, you can 80/20 much of it for relatively little money. Good food and exercise don’t cost very much.

  • 48 Jim McG August 25, 2022, 1:22 pm

    I’d give another vote for the Felix Dennis book, very entertaining with a different perspective on money. And if you don’t like Nas, try Felix’s poetry which, in the end, was all he wanted to do and it cost him nothing.

  • 49 BerkshirePat August 25, 2022, 1:37 pm

    “Invest your millions and you need accountants”
    “One reason you’ll employ all those professionals is because you’ll need help warding off the crooks attracted to your wealth”
    Ah, but ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’ as popular rapper Juvenal put it..
    I can think of several cases where very rich people have been defrauded or otherwise impoverished by their accountants and financial advisors.
    I guess they give up control of their money and don’t ask the right questions of the right people, as it’s no longer important to them

  • 50 trufflehunt August 25, 2022, 2:02 pm

    I once sat in a Christian night refuge for homeless people. A television set at one end of the room. Seated, 12 pairs of eyes watching the National Lottery.
    Standing above and behind the seated persons, a warden. His voice intoned … “Money will never make you happy…”. And an anonymous reply drifted towards him… “‘I’m not very happy now..”.

    I read Felix Dennis’s book many years ago. As I recall, there were some really interesting insights into the publishing industry. A ruthless concentration on his own interests when making deals, and, well, lots of drugs seemed to be involved. And of course, his comment…. “If it flys, floats, or fornicates…, then rent it..”.

  • 51 Mr Optimistic August 25, 2022, 3:22 pm

    Well I didn’t think myself to be rich and now, with your definition, you have proved it to me. Thanks for that.
    Think when we imagine these things, the first is not to confuse the imagined pleasures of being rich with the relief of not being poor. They are two different things.
    Also, by virtue of having lived our lives in particular circumstances and within constraints and boundaries ( which we adapted to and accomodated), we have become established to boundaries. If circumstances mean that these boundaries can now be broken it doesn’t mean that we have the imagination to comfortably do that.
    I have always driven economy cars, currently a fiesta. I could go out and buy a Bentley ( with the concomitant benefit of reducing future IHT). There is no way I would do that, or in fact could do that.
    If I came into a fortune, where values became meaningless, no idea what would happen then but suspect it wouldn’t improve my life expectancy .

  • 52 Dave August 25, 2022, 3:24 pm

    To a point it makes you happy but as many say only up to so much. Nice to have enough to get by without stressing but how much is enough?
    1m these days is not that much when you add up your house, car(s), pensions etc. but continually striving for more especially when getting older (say 50’s) is pointless as time becomes more important with the time/money trade off.

    As they say “each day lived is one more nearer to death” so once you are comfortable and reached a certain age why kill yourself faster stressing & working no-stop to have more. Where and when does it end – being the richest man in the graveyard? Your health is more important as I know too well. I’ve had many friends & family become ill and die before their time some in 40’s and 50’s (and also lately father died of covid and mother 6 months earlier with cancer.) Ask any of those diagnosed with a serious/terminal medical conditions if stressing over acquiring more and more money is sensible and I’ll tell you what their answer is – it’s shallow/superficial/stupid/waste of time – just enjoy your life doing stuff that makes you truly happy whilst you still have a life as it doesn’t last long – it’s gone in a blink.

    A lot of what is enjoyable in life doesn’t have to be expensive and you can get by on less than you think – it’s just about spending on what’s important and really is enjoyable to you. Totally agree with The Investor that even Warren Buffet would likely trade much of his fortune now for more time on this planet – it’s obvious – wouldn’t we all when it comes to ill health/death as your health is really THE most important.

    I think buying an expensive yacht/boat is more about trying to impress others/showing off wealth/having a bigger one than the next multi-millionaire than actually sailing in it (and a lot of hassle with employing crew/maintenance/admin incl. port fees/taxes/paperwork etc.) Majority seem to be holed up around Monaco/South of France/Marbella most of the time anyway- not sailing at sea very much – just in port hanging around telling everybody how wealthy they are. Personally wouldn’t ever want a boat – find time at sea (including cruise holidays) excruciatingly boring – if you want to be in Cannes – why not just take a holiday there?

    I have lived fairly frugally and would never take on loans (except mortgage as that is usually unavoidable or credit cards but paid off in full every month) and when you have lived that mindset for most of your life it is very hard to break away from even if you do become more well off later. I am not rich nor poor and can afford some luxury if I want it but really begrudge the feeling that I have been ripped off when buying something – whether that’s a bigger purchase like a car (second hand for me as wouldn’t waste my money on driving a new one out of showroom only for it to depreciate 25 – 30% straight away for the privilege) or even a meal out. Don’t really go for the fancy overpriced restaurants with a meal artistically arranged to within an inch of its life but sized to satisfy the appetite of a gnat with anorexia and priced just to satisfy the egos of the wealthy – would rather just go down the road for a good down to earth pub meal with value for money.

    I also in past had friends/acquaintances with big houses – in fact one was very wealthy (from a large claims business he sold out) and had many properties as investments as well. He bought a mansion for his family but then had to employ a whole army of people for the upkeep – he had an estate manager/groundsmen & gardeners/cleaners – among others and then had to run payroll/admin for all these and used to moan to me about it. Why have it then? It just seemed a complete stress/headache you don’t need. Also had to have loads of tech/security systems/cctv to protect it and always going wrong and somebody having to be called out to it – more cost and workmen around the house to ogle at his valuable household stuff and many cars including a Ferrari (makes them an ideal candidate for a criminal hit job I reckon!) He also got to be very boring as well – you know those wealthy types who just talk about money all the day and show off all the time but he was talking to the wrong person because it’s not that I am at all interested/bothered/impressed as I’m totally not – they bore me and that’s why I don’t bother with them anymore. Some of them seem to go from decent, hard working/focussed businessman to very shallow superficial narcissistic beings with a few showy boys toys and seem to like to shout about it. However a lot of the wealthy/business people are like this and are said to have more psychopathic traits than others in the general population- seems to hang true for many of them – a certain D. J. Trump and others spring to mind.

    I’m not saying I’d want to live in poverty or on a council estate (it’s more the rough troublesome people I’ve seen there that put me off though – you can do up and get used to a lot of housing really if you have to and if it is large enough to accommodate you) but like this blog states being very wealthy brings with it many problems of security of your family/possessions and money and all the time/admin in handling it.

    I don’t particularly like investing (such as The Investor and many on here do) I prefer just to put money in and forget it pretty much – just think it’s only a means to an end so that your savings gain some return and inflation doesn’t rob you of your hard earned. Would rather spend my life doing more interesting things (or even just chilling) than looking at broker screens full of red or black and then celebrating/crying/debating every week over the results – but no problem with anybody who does loves it sort of as a hobby – each to their own – just doesn’t appeal to me as my favourite pastime!

  • 53 mr_jetlag August 26, 2022, 1:10 am

    I started practicing stoicism after a difficult pandemic year and came to terms with (v modest) wealth that way. Seneca had this to say:

    “…the wise man does not consider himself unworthy of any gifts from Fortune’s hands: he does not love wealth but he would rather have it; he does not admit into his heart but into his home; and what wealth is his he does not reject but keeps, wishing it to supply greater scope for him to practice his virtue.”

    Virtue = living according to the natural law, making the most of your limited time here. Money certainly helps in that regard.

  • 54 Billie August 26, 2022, 6:20 am

    I believe that excess in anything (shopping, eating, not eating, drinking, working) is a reflection of a dis-ease in the individual. Money means nothing in itself. It is just another medium by which our fears and hopes are expressed. Lack of money is a real stress, yes. But once you have enough for your basic needs ( pay bills, roof over head, wardrobe for a week) then most other dreams can be realised with little money (library, museum, secondhand, free cycle, clubs). What is important is to not kill creative development. In England you have your tax free allowance, something I wish the rest of Europe would adopt. But the lack of financial transparency in most countries, and government corruption (or misuse of taxes) means I (maybe we) want to hold on to our money more then should be required for fear of destitution and a desire to have a safety net and provide for ourself. I think our attitude towards money would be a lot more healthier if there was true financial transparency in every aspect of society and if the highest paid employee didn’t make more then 3x the lowest paid employee.
    My desire for excess money is based on fear (look at the pension scandals, corruption; selling of the NHS) I want to have a safety net. The reality is that if I trusted the government and institutions, then what I have today is sufficient.
    More money won’t make my fears go away. Corrupt institutions use the ‘law’ to suddenly turn you into a criminal. (I have lived in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia). That’s my 2 cents….

  • 55 Whettam August 26, 2022, 11:33 am

    Interesting @TI and some off the follow up comments. I’m pretty satisfied with my “lot”. I have worked hard and have been lucky and am in a pretty good position, my version of FIRE will be “fatter” than some, I’m basically aiming to maintain my current lifestyle. The idea of being super wealthy e.g. that £10million + lottery win, does not appeal at all, I think it would just make life too complicated.

  • 56 mattwb August 26, 2022, 3:16 pm

    Just in case you still would like an island @TI Pladda just off the Isle of Arran is up for sale for 350K+. I’ve camped over the water on Arran and it is a lovely spot.
    But you’ll have quite a bit of renovation to do, and although the flyover is impressive, the sale does not include the lighthouse nor the solar panels.
    It’s good to dream though.

  • 57 Gradragstoriches August 26, 2022, 5:58 pm

    I often think about the wedding toast “wishing you health, wealth, and happiness” and if you could only choose one, which would I go for?
    I usually go for happiness on the basis that if you are happy, you are probably healthy enough to enjoy life and have enough wealth not to have to worry about money!

  • 58 trufflehunt August 27, 2022, 10:59 am


    Yes, it looks lovely round there. When I was a kid, our family lived in Stranraer. This was only a few years after the Princess Victoria foundered in the Irish Sea, so whenever the ferry was delayed arriving at Stanraer, the news would spread quickly roud the town. In winter storms it was not unusual for the ship to be unable to berth at Stranraer. On those occasions, it would drop anchor in the loch ( Loch Ryan ). Sometimes, this was not enough, and the ship would drag its anchor. It was then necessary to raise anchor, leave the loch, and seek shelter off Arran, in Whiting Bay, the lee side of the island, just round the ‘corner’ from Pladda Isle.

    Pladda Isle is not on the lee side. I’ll bet it’s ffffffffffreezing, and utterly windswept there in the winter.

  • 59 JohnG August 27, 2022, 9:41 pm

    I can’t help but see 90% of the claim being Rich is its own curse as nonsense, for no better reason than it is entirely within the power of the person claiming that to unburden themselves of that wealth. If Nas actually thought he’d be happier with less money he could have decided to work for free or he could give away his earnings/savings.

  • 60 Valiant August 29, 2022, 2:16 am

    2 thoughts:

    1. The noted philosopher Graham Norton said that although money can’t make you happy, there are few problems in life that are made worse by having money.

    2. I saw a Dilbert cartoon once where the boss-guy stops a passing stranger, points to a puddle, tells the stranger “I’ll give you $10,000 if you roll around in that puddle”. Final scene he says: “I don’t understand how rich people can ever get bored”.

  • 61 Been There, Done That September 5, 2022, 1:43 pm

    One addition to the list: “Decision Exhaustion.”

    Every decision we each make costs us a bit of energy. When you have a few million, essentially anything that 99% of people want to buy…but can’t…you can. When anything is possible, which path or product do you go with? The what-ifs will wear you out. (Not that you can’t afford a nap.)

  • 62 E June 9, 2023, 11:59 pm

    Thank you i think this fixed my life crisis lol

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