What I (Would Probably) Hate About Being Filthy Rich
I need to start off with the disclaimer that I am not actually filthy rich. I don’t even think that I would want to be.
Sure, rolling around in giant piles of dollar bills would be fun at first. Buying caviar and Wagyu beef might give me a kick for a while as well. However, I think I would eventually end up hating being so rich that I could bathe in the finest champagne and buy my own islands.
The Guilt Factor
Wouldn’t you just feel a little bit guilty about having so much money when a quarter of the world’s population lives below or around the poverty line? In fact, 40% of the people who live on this planet only receive 5% of its total income. I remember being amazed when I walked around the streets of Rio on a trip to Brazil. The gulf in finances between the inhabitants of the city is staggering. You can see houses that look as though they have been flown in straight from Hollywood very close to the most miserable shacks you’ll ever see. The thing is; I never felt any jealousy towards the people with the fancy houses. Instead, I felt bad about having so much more than the rest of the inhabitants. I can’t imagine being happy knowing that I have way more money than I need and more than the vast majority of humans who have ever lived.
The Obsession with Money
I have only known a couple of guys who were genuinely fantastically rich. I worked in a bank in Spain for a while and two of my customers had sold businesses in their home countries and bought amazing mansions out there as holiday homes. At first they seemed like nice guys but after meeting them a couple of times I realized that they were absolutely obsessed with their cash. They would complain more bitterly about a small bank charge than my customers who had far less money in their accounts. I think that it is probably a good idea to have enough money to be comfortable and to be able to forget about financial worries. However, I think that there is a worry that if you get too much of the folding stuff you could end up becoming even more driven and becoming obsessed about getting more and more of it.
The Bad Attitude
Those two rich bank customers I mentioned earlier were pretty arrogant and unlikeable. They clearly thought that they were better than everyone else and I can remember one of them being very condescending about poor people when speaking to me once. I am sure that you can easily think of a few rich celebrities who seem like they also have a really bad attitude. Yet, before I label all rich dudes as selfish morons I need to consider the astonishing philanthropy of people like Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, Warren Buffett and Ted Turner. So why does having so much money have such different effects on people? One theory is that once you are rich you feel freer to do and say whatever you please. This means that your existing personality traits are magnified. If you are a generous person and are free from the shackles of your loans and your mortgage then maybe you will decide that starting a charity is a good idea. Alternatively, maybe you are a bit vain and selfish and will get so wrapped up in your own self-importance that you become an utter moron. For me, the risk of it going the wrong way just seems too high to take.
I would love to try being amazingly rich for a week or so but don’t really want to have so much money for the rest of my life. If you ever win a massive lottery prize or make a billion on the stock market then let me know how it works out, though.