So, you want to be rich?
I guess we all do. Just the thought of all the things you could buy, the places you could go. Not to mention not having to care about paying your bills anymore. Or the way others would admire your luck, work, and thoughts. Being rich isn’t just about money, it’s about success, it’s about freedom, it’s about respect, it’s about feeling safe.
You want that right?
The dream of the good life. Most of us share that dream.
ABBA even made a song about it.
So, what’s wrong with that?
Nothing really. Only, it’s a dream. Let’s just for a moment stop dreaming about how it could be to be very rich and try to think about how it would be instead. Sometimes dreams don’t mix that well with reality. You know the feeling?
So, humor me for a second and think along with me. Let’s say you won the lottery big time, or your grandmother’s uncle’s wife’s mother died, leaving you to inherit more money than you could ever spend, or you got very rich in some other unlikely way. I, for one, seem to dream about selling ten million books, but really, how you get the money isn’t that important. You get the point, right? A ton of money comes your way.
Your life would never be the same.
You know the dream. A part of you may already be wandering off, trying to decide what Ferrari to choose, or what castle to buy, or when to visit the Maldives. Stop that, you can have your Ferrari and your castle and as many trips to the Maldives as you want. You can even have five Ferraris or ten. It doesn’t really matter.
Your friends might love your new wealth, at least in the beginning. You know, while it’s still fun and you throw some big parties and maybe buy your friends some of the things they have been dreaming about. But then what?
Something has changed. You are not equal anymore. Your old friends can’t keep up with you. When you spend your vacation in Monaco or on some private Caribbean island, they still go low budget to Greece, and suddenly they don’t really feel that great about you and your luxury five star hotels. It’s not that they’re jealous people; it’s just hard to feel good about buying a used, but economic Hyundai when you show up in that flashy new Lamborghini, telling them you got tired of the Ferrari. Suddenly, you don’t see your old friends as often as you used to. You might even start to feel like they only invite you over to show off to their other friends, and that doesn’t feel that good as you might have dreamt it would. Because they all have that weird look in their eyes, like the moment you leave they’ll have something to talk about, and it might not be bad things they have to say about you. Still, you’re no longer part of the talking, you’re the subject of the talking.
And then, you start avoiding them. Just a little. Not in their face, get-out-of-my-life-ish, but you do have a lot of things to do elsewhere, spending all that cash. After some time, it’s like you only see your old friends when they need money, and then you realize things have changed for good.
Your family could be the same story, but most likely, you’d choose to take care of them. After all, they are your family. Buy them new houses, new cars, nice vacations. They don’t have to work anymore, you are rich now, you’ll take care of them. You love them. You might even choose to do the same to some of your friends. Maybe all your friends. No need to worry. There’s enough dough to go around. What’s all that money good for, if you don’t share it with the ones you love?
It’s going to feel great to do so. In the beginning. Then you start to feel lonely and burdened. It’s not that you are left alone. It’s just they all depend on you. You are paying for everything. They are depended upon you. They will listen to your worries, they will be there for you, and they will have fun spending your money. However, things have changed. Your relationships have changed. You are not just YOU anymore, you are The Provider, and slowly they start to behave a little like spoiled teenagers, acting like they have the rights to all kinds of luxury they never even knew before. And you have to pay. It’s lonely at the top, you know.
Then you start to worry. For what happens if you lose the money? If someday, it’s all gone? It’s easy to get used to spending more, it’s not that easy to get used to being broke again. Not for you, and not for all the people depending on you to provide their wealth. Will they turn against you, the moment the money’s gone? No, of course not, they say. Now. But then, we’ve all seen it happen, haven’t we? Divorces aren’t that rare among bankrupt people. You could end up poor and very alone.
So, you start to worry about money. Let’s face it. You can never be wealthy enough. It doesn’t matter how big a bank account you’ve got, how many private jets you own, how many original Picasso painting you get, it will never feel like enough. That’s the human spirit. Getting rich will never make you stop worrying about money.
In fact, rich people tend to care and worry more about money than poor people do. That’s why they always want to lower the taxes. The math’s are, the more money you get, the more you’ll worry about money. It’s never about having enough to pay your bills. The bills will grow fast enough, and you’ll need more money. Or at least, you’ll need to secure the money you have. Because, you can always lose it, maybe the next big crisis is just around the corner, and you, my friend, know very little about how to secure your wealth. You can pay someone to that for you, sure enough, and maybe they’ll make you even richer, but maybe they won’t, maybe they’ll blow it all, and you’ll be one going down, while they move on to secure the wealth of the next fool.
You will have to get used to thoughts like that. Before your new castle with private beach and tennis court is even fully decorated, you’ll take pills to be able to sleep.
You have to get used to that, because now you are living in a different neighborhood, and the people you meet are like that themselves. Reading those stupid magazines at the hairdresser didn’t give you an honest offer of what those famous and rich people are like. You could try to fit in, but you wouldn’t. You’re not like them. Sure, it would be fun to party with movie stars and rock stars and dine with oil sheikhs and bankers for a while, but for how long? What would you have to talk to about with that kind of people? Be honest now.
The thing is after a few years, a new Lamborghini doesn’t make you any happier than a new bicycle used to, it’s just harder to park downtown. Your king size bed in your emperor size castle doesn’t feel as good as the old bunk you used to sleep on when you were twenty years old and in love. The luxury of Dubai doesn’t bring the same excitement as the places you used to visit when you had to save money for years to go anywhere.
You start to get bored. Having too much time on your hands, and feeling lonely as well, you start to care about your health, your looks, your aging, in ways you never would have figured possible before. You’ll be using what used to be your annual income on doctors and plastic surgeries and still you can’t stop aging, you can’t stop yourself from dying or being bored or feeling lonely and used.
Still you smile, because you think you have to look like a winner to be one, and everyone around hates losers, who are too lazy to make their own money, even if most of them inherited their money in some way, you have to be like them to fit in. You can’t go around arguing all day. That won’t make you happy. It’ll just make you feel more alone.
Another thing about being rich you didn’t expect, was the way you suddenly find yourself feeling unsafe. Someone might try to kidnap your children, break into your house, or steal your car.
You are a lonely, worried, bored insomniac feeling so unsafe you’ll need bodyguards were ever you go. That’s it. Being rich proves to be a little different from what you’ll expect. You don’t feel like a true success, you don’t feel that free, you’re not respected—your money is, you don’t feel safe at all.
The only true comfort is that it’s still better than being poor.
So, you want to rich, right?