The lives of the rich and sad
Ever wonder what it might be like to be really rich? Not going to happen? Well, have a look at the most recent issue of The Atlantic and you may feel a bit better.
“The Secret Fears of the Super Rich” delves into the results of revealing study of the very rich (in this instance, folks with a net worth of more than $25 million) from Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy.
Paul Schervish, a sociology professor and the college's director, has been studying the lives and philanthropic habits of the super-wealthy for some time now.
And, guess what, they’re just like that nervous guy next door, exhibiting a surprising litany of anxieties including their sense of isolation, their worries about work and love, and most of all, their fears for their children.
At its core, the survey underlines the fact that while money may ease some worries, others always remain. Most of the uber-rich still don’t consider themselves financially secure, for instance. For that, they say, they would require on average one-quarter more wealth than they currently possess.
Well, who wouldn’t?
But too many dollars, can create problems maybe every bit as psychologically unsettling as too few, the results suggest. One example: Many super rich don’t look forward to holidays, because they’re “always expected to give really good presents.”
Taken together, “the survey responses make a compelling case that being fantastically wealthy — especially when the wealth is inherited rather than earned — is not a great deal more fulfilling than being merely prosperous. Among other woes, the respondents report feeling that they have lost the right to complain about anything, for fear of sounding — or being — ungrateful….”
Can you identify at all? Even if you're merely affluent, do you worry this way? Or is this all simply a nice problem to have?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.
Posted by: carl | May 16, 2021 10:29:33 AM
Gimme a break will ya! Rich propaganda! 25 million and up. Maybe they should invest in a good shrink! There's always something being said about the rich, poor souls, well this just explains all the ruthless things they do to gain their fortunes. I feel a lot better, don't you. Who even bothers ot take the time to study this crap well other things are a lot more important.
Posted by: binder dundat | May 16, 2021 12:16:03 PM
The only anxiety the rich have is greed and more greed, its an emotion that get embeded in them and money has to be made at all costs.
Posted by: how dare you imply that the rich have problems | May 16, 2021 12:18:25 PM
they are to be pitied, what an awful thing, should i take the hummer, the rolls royce, the mercedes or the ferrari, or should i slum it and take the ford expidition. what will i eat, caviar, filet mignon, fois gras, or lobster. where will my kids go to university, harvard, yale, princeton, or oxford. what will my kids be when they grow up, captains of industry, lawyers, or doctors. where will i spend my winter, italy, spain, france, the mediterranean, or the tropics.
the rest of us have different problems, such as: what can i afford for supper, will i get another year out of my car. can i afford to send my kids to school and will they have a good job. will i be able to afford to stay warm this winter.
the poor have different choices than the rich do: do i eat or do i stay warm. do i pay the oil bill or the power bill this month. which kids turn is it to get clothes. do i try to squeeze another month or two out of my tires.
if there is a rich person who wants to trade place with me, let me know. their problems are trivial next to mine, even when they get sick they have a better chance to heal than i do.
the only thing that i have in common with the rich is that i was born and i will die, and i eat, sh!t, and sleep.
Posted by: John | May 16, 2021 12:36:10 PM
Rich having to worry about stuff, I don't think so.
They say they have problems that stress them out, how about the 200 staff members you laid off citing company streamlining while posting a profit increase for your investors and shareholders.
If I was in their positions and was making say 5 million a year clear after taxes I would take the max I would need to live on say $200,000 a year max and probally less and then I would go to different areas and GIVE the rest away free and clear no declaring it against my taxes no reimbursement other then a thank you from the people who receive it.
Family of 4, ok here's $200,000 in an account for your kids college fund and here's a house paid for enjoy then go somewhere else and do it again, and not just families but everyone from retired folks (free medical care that goes further then our government healthcare goes), and your young and single here's a new car and your rent is paid for the next 10 years.
Yea I know it's a pipedream but hey those can work if people try.
Posted by: Barbara | May 16, 2021 12:56:48 PM
Maybe if everyone paid 10% of their income instead of sheltering it to get out of paying taxes we would not be in this mess. It seems to me that the haves continue having as you have to have money to save money...minimum wage earners will never be able to save
Posted by: Trixie | May 16, 2021 1:51:21 PM
This article is directly aimed at picking on the wealthy. Yes, they are human and have worries, just like everyone else. Duh! They will probably never have money worries, but that's just fine. I am not jealous, I am happy for them.
Barbara you are absolutely right. You will not be able to save as a minimum wage earner. Save some of that money from every paycheck you get, and send yourself to college. That will pick up your wage. However, don't blame the people who work hard and make a good buck and want to "shelter" their money or those that inherit money. Some of them worked hard for it. Some of them were born into it. That's the fault of the system, NOT the fault of the individual.
Posted by: elle AKA ....2 cents worth | May 16, 2021 3:38:15 PM
I think the problem stems from a lifestyle we, as normal everyday people, have created and accepted. Most people these days feel a need to live in bigger homes, have the latest in technology, handbags to runway shoes, brand new luxury cars. A hidden desire to outdo the neighbor or college. We are so heavy into debt but nobody wants to talk about that or at least admit it. I'd like to know 'if' when this article talks about the 'wealthy'.... is it asset wealth or true 'NET' worth? Somehow I feel, if that is their true net worth, then they certainly would know how to manage that type of 'hard earned' cash
Posted by: Chazztbay | May 16, 2021 5:04:20 PM
While I do not fit in this category, as I make just under $300,000 a year I can understand some of the problems they face as I have a few. When you have money you never know if someone likes you, or your money. Even family. Many of them expect that because you have more that you are obligated to share or support them. (Just like most of society at large). It can be stressful on relationships because if your friends don't belong in the same income class you either have to pay their way for many things, or find new friends. I haven't gone on vacation with any of my friends for almost 10 years as they simply cannot afford to go with me. If I go golfing with them, everyone assumes we are taking my Escalade, and if we go out of town that I am paying for the suite. I have been engaged twice, and both times it ended over money issues. Our children get ridiculed by the children of people like you because you teach them to hate us, and by association our children. Then you wonder why we send them to private schools and live in gated neighbourhoods.
I know this to be true, because we were poor growing up and my mother ALWAYS had negative things to say about those who better off. I worked my ass off to get where I am and now she wants me to support her as well.
Much of the behaviour of the upper class reflects the attitude the rest of you towards us, which is very evidently on display here. Because we have what you do not, we are greedy, heartless ect according to you. Well, I have news for you. Most of you are jealous, petty, crybabies. Perhaps if you spent the same effort at working as you do at playing woe is me, some of you might join us. FYI for Barbara who complained about everyone paying 10% tax...I paid almost $125,000 last year (and I don't even have a family) so don't tell me I don't pay my share and then some. I am sure that is more than most of you even earned.
Posted by: jus'thinkin' | May 17, 2021 3:34:36 AM
I agree Chazztbay. Something as simple as a kids birthday party can be a nightmare. If you send your child with a regular gift, befitting the birthday kid, you're cheap. If you send an expensive gift, you're showing off and a bad influence on your child. Your child already has it figured out and would rather not go even if he wants to spend the time with friends. If he doesn't go, he's stuckup because his parents have bucks. The kid doesn't have a winning option.
Posted by: John Gaul | May 17, 2021 9:12:02 AM
Well l have an answer. Make them less rich. Introduce a tax at the 80 % level for those who have incomes over $ 1 000 000 and even higher for those above that. Have a 100% tax for those who have an income over 5 million. This would be a disincentive to become mega rich. That money could be used to undo the damage many of these greed driven people do to the rest of us. They could also see their incomes as an investment in their country.
They would feel better we would feel better. The world would be a fairer more equitable place. Real needs would be met rather than the needs of the wealthy.
Posted by: Laura Strachan | May 17, 2021 9:33:51 AM
Chazztbay- Ya you definitely have the rich person's ego. bragging that you paid more in taxes than most of us make...Say's a lot about your character don't you think?.....
jus' thinkin- You must be joking right? What about those that can't afford to buy birthday presents? If you are so concerned about a child's reaction to your either expensive or inexpensive gift, you have bigger problems than too much money!
Posted by: Tenacious Otter | May 17, 2021 11:09:08 AM
Regardless of rich or poor. The psychological problems associated with the monetary market system will continue. Funny thing is, all of it doesn't really mean anything. With any luck at all, we will figure this out, hopefully before we consume the planet.
Posted by: xxx | May 17, 2021 1:08:56 PM
Sounds more like people complaining about what they make and envious of those who make more. It's your own life choices that determined what you make, so get over it or do something about it.
Posted by: Chazztbay | May 17, 2021 8:46:46 PM
Laura, I wasn't bragging. My point was that I already pay more than my fair share and yet people like John Gaul think I should be paying even more.
Disincentive to get rich only causes people to leave to set up shop elsewhere. If I cannot run a successful business here then I will go the US or Europe or somewhere else. And for those who say good, go...remember those of us in the top 5% of the income bracket already pay over 60% of ALL the tax paid. We already DO pay the lions share. Also, all those businesses and their related jobs and taxes would go elsewhere.
In addition, again you people seem to confuse WEALTH with INCOME. I could be a Billionaire and have no income. I could borrow money to pay for my living expenses against my assets and actually have a negative income if I wanted. In that case I would pay no taxes so raising the rate is moot. But then I suppose you whiners would want a tax on my Wealth. Oh but you would also want an arbitrary minimum exclusion like 500,000 or so I assume so that you don't have to pay it on your own house or savings. Once again you only want those who have more than you pay.
CPP just announced that it is putting a bid in with some of the banks for the TSX. That means if successful they will own the exchange. I think what we ought to do in that case is have the CPP of every single person who receives it reduced by $100 a month because the big bad CPP is making too much money and screwing the little guy. Oh right, you don't count that because you might get something out of it. I forgot. It only counts if it affects you negatively, and should only be punished then.
If we are going to punish the rich and tell them what they can and cannot have then lets go the opposite way also. If you make under $30,000 a year lets make it illegal to smoke or drink alcohol or gamble because you are wasting your money that could otherwise be used for food, shelter ect. I bet none of you would accept that, but that is what you are asking us to accept. Why do I have to pay extra tax to support you when you could support yourself if you didn't do those things ? Oh right...because you are all jealous hypocrites.
Lastly, I support a lot of charities. I gave the Food Bank over $5000 last year because we used it growing up and I know how important it is. If I want to support some thing then it should be at my discretion, not forced to support things because someone made stupid choices.
Posted by: jus'thinkin' | May 17, 2021 11:38:07 PM
Some people don't realize that our tax system is the reason for our success as a nation. If you want everyone to be equal, go to a communist country. You'll love it. They do it your way. As history dictates, that way isn't so great. When a government strives for equality on a monutary basis, everyone becomes equally poor. Communist countries can't even seem to grow enough food to feed themselves. If that's the lifestyle you want, go get it. There are no walls or fences keeping you here. You are free to leave anytime you like.
Food for thought.
Posted by: Western Guy | May 18, 2021 2:06:34 PM
A fair number of pretty unfair comments above.
For full dislcosure I'm not wealthy but I am heading in that direction. My wife and I are in our late twenties and our combined earnings will be between 270-370K this year. 7 years ago we had a combined 50K in income. I expect this growth to continue as things keep getting better.
That said my wife and I don't do it for the money. We enjoy the challenges of our work and feel rewarded for the jobs we do. The money that comes along with it is nice but it isn't something we worry over. We are people that are happy with their jobs which just happen to also pay very well.
A lot of less fortunate people I know seem to almost fixate on money. They often appear to lose objectivity around it and try to turn any monetary transaction with them to their benefit regardless of a true or right outcome. They then assume that rich people do the same but are simply more "greedy" about it. In actuality most of my friends in the same financial situation as I worry very little about money or keeping up with the Jone's.
Long story short is I make money by not worrying about making money.
Posted by: Dr. J. S. | May 18, 2021 9:06:14 PM
@ Chazztbay, I read your first post. Excellent! You have expressed my situation exactly. I too came from a poor background, and through extremely hard work and many, many sacrifices, I have attained wealth beyond my expectations. I am now have a same problems you have related.
@ Barbara, how dare you! I pay more in income tax in one year than most families pay in 2 or 3 years in gross income, and that is after sheltering. I am tired of you "have nots" belly aching. You make me sick. I know many people who are much less wealthy than I am and are quite happy. Those of you who complain, get off you lazy asses and work! Like I said, I came from a very poor family. I worked my ass off to get where I am today, and now enjoy life to the fullest.
Posted by: smallshark | May 18, 2021 10:23:18 PM
The problem is that in the current economy you can work your @ss off and still either starve or freeze. I did all the right things, got a decent education, worked very hard, and never made more than $20 an hour with a Ph.D., doing cancer research. Then, to add insult to injury my career was deep-sixed by a vengeful boss after she gave me a direct order to fabricate data and I refused.The lesson: you can't get rich by honest work. You can earn a decent income, over $100 000 - but to make it into the circle of the truly wealthy who rake in millions every year you either need to be born into it, participate at the top of a pyramid scheme, or exploit cheap labor.
To see what it is really like at the top, read the book "Den of Thieves". Then you will see how the upper class really lives.
Posted by: KNOCK KNOCK, WHO'S THERE, REALITY | May 19, 2021 3:12:17 PM
@Chazztbay - let the hate out, my friend. That bitterness is eating you up.
@Dr. J. S.- Wow, the arrogance...I find the difference between Smallshark, who is also a doctor, and yourself to be quite interesting. Smallshark seems to be a well-spoken, level-headed individual. You, on the other hand, are quite the opposite. And just for future reference, "How dare you" should be followed by a question mark, "?", as it is a question and not an exclamatory statement. But I'm sure you knew that, right big man?
That said, I don’t really believe that either Chazztbay or Dr. J.S. are true ‘rags to riches’ stories. Generally people that come from nothing to be something are more sympathetic and empathetic to the plight of the working class: continually referring to the masses as ‘jealous hypocrites’ and insinuating laziness as the sole reason for lack of wealth doesn’t really scream “Been there…I know it’s tough”. But I guess we can all be whatever we want to be in digital land, isn’t that true, gents? (Notice the question mark, Dr.? Hey, there it is again…)
Posted by: PattyP | May 20, 2021 4:26:23 PM
very interesting... i come from both sides.. rich relatives, poor relatives.. i guess you could say i'm in the middle (maybe more poor).. they both have there vices.. my rich relatives are so worry people are using them,(and they can be overly cheap!) my poor ones thinks the world owes them a living. Very few "rich people " are born rich....