Why Being Rich Won’t Solve All Your Problems

Why Being Rich Won’t Solve All Your ProblemsHave you ever caught yourself thinking, “If only I could win a $5,000,000 lottery jackpot, all my problems will melt away and I will be happy forever and ever”?

If we’re being honest, we all have had similar thoughts. Winning the lottery is a harmless fantasy to escape to on dreary Monday mornings, or when you spot your dream car on someone else’s driveway. 

It doesn’t help that TV shows and movies tend to portray the life of the rich and famous as one that’s filled with Louboutin pumps, Fabergé eggs, and trips to the Maldives, but completely free of worries and stress. 

But in reality, things don’t quite work out that way.

While wealth does let you do more of what you want to do and less of what you don’t want to do, it does not guarantee you a perpetual spot in nirvana.

Here’s why:

Some Problems Cannot Be Solved With Money

Money is good at eliminating garden variety life troubles and grants you the ability to afford whatever expensive curveball the universe throws at you.

But as you know, life is more nuanced than paying your mortgage on time and replacing broken windshield wipers.

Money is utterly useless in the face of certain problems: 

  1. Money cannot turn back time.
  2. Money cannot fix broken relationships.
  3. Money cannot buy love.
  4. Money cannot buy genuine respect and approval (though not everyone believes that).
  5. Money cannot erase your most embarrassing moments from history.
  6. Money cannot bring someone back to life.
  7. Money cannot directly cure diseases (though having money does give you access to better health services and the resources to lead a healthier and less stressful lifestyle).
  8. Money cannot directly cure mental health problems (same caveat as above).
  9. Money cannot stop others from judging you, cyber bullying you, or generally being rude to you. Haters are gonna hate.
  10. Money cannot buy talent.
  11. Money cannot directly give your life more meaning.
  12. Money cannot help you mature or grow as a person.
  13. Money cannot overpower fear.
  14. Money cannot buy you a clean conscience.
  15. Money cannot buy happiness.

As you can see, most of the things we treasure in life – health, love, relationships, respect, talent, inner peace, and self-realization – cannot be obtained by making it rain.

Being Rich Comes With Problems of Its Own

What you may not realize is that wealth itself brings forth a new set of problems.

1. Rich people have more money to lose

When the stock market nosedives, when the housing market takes a dramatic downturn, when bitcoin loses 35% of its value in a week, those who have a significant amount of money invested are most directly impacted. (Yes, they also have the most to gain when the market does happy dances, so they’re not the real victims in either scenario.)

Just like everybody else, the possibility of an investment gone very very wrong keeps the rich awake at night, especially if they’re over-leveraged and under-diversified.

And if one of their investments does go belly up, even if it doesn’t cripple them financially, the added stress, anxiety and ego bruise are still no fun.

2. Rich people have a harder time finding real connections

People with deep pockets know that the people who approach them, more often than not, do so with an ulterior motive:

  • they want to learn the “magical formula” of becoming a millionaire 
  • they want to be introduced to people higher up in the corporate ladder
  • they want to pitch a new business idea
  • they want a sugar mama (or daddy)

If someone is only in your life because you’re loaded, what will happen the minute your double-comma club membership gets revoked? They’ll be the first ones to leave you on read.

Everyone wants to be liked and respected for who they are, not the number of digits in their stock portfolio.

Since wealthy folks attract opportunists and gold diggers like Elon Musk to bitcoin, it’s easy to imagine why they’d have a tough time trusting people outside their existing social circle and developing genuine friendships based on compatible personalities and mutual interests.

3. Rich people are more scared of being poor

When you struggle financially, you develop coping mechanisms to be “meh” about it. Clipping coupons, expense tracking, and foregoing vacations are no big deals.

But can you imagine a billionaire doing all that? Neither can they! And that’s why they’re more scared of being poor than you and I are.

Once you get accustomed to a lavish lifestyle, it’s nearly impossible to revert back to a more “mundane” one – you lose the ability to endure the hardships that come with a life in abject poverty. 

It’s not just the loss of financial privileges that make them sweat. The shame, the shatter of confidence and the erosion of social capital (see point #3) are equally, if not more, unbearable consequences of losing wealth.

4. Rich people get bored more easily

When it comes to material possessions, adults behave just like toddlers. We want what we can’t have. 

What if you can have anything you want, at the precise moment when you want them? Life becomes less exciting.

There’s no chase. There’s no reward. Just instant gratification, all the freaking time. It might sound amazing at first but believe me, it gets old fast.

If you’ve already achieved most of what you want in life, what else is there to look forward to?

5. Rich people are prime targets for blackmailers and kidnappers

There’s a reason kidnapping insurance exists, and it has nothing to do with overprotective parents.

If you’re a multimillionaire, or a famous celebrity, or a top executive at a Fortune 500 company, your chance of being blackmailed and kidnapped (or have a loved one kidnapped) is way higher than the average Joe.

Rich or not, nobody should be targeted and harmed this way.

6. Rich people tend to be defined by their wealth

You might have a beautiful singing voice.

You might have built a 5-star island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

You might possess the world’s largest collection of Baby Yoda (I still refuse to call him “Grogu”) memorabilia.

You might be able to discern the difference between seltzer water and tonic water, blindfolded.

Or you might just be one hell of a cat sweater knitter. 

None of that matters when you’re known as “A Rich Person”.

Your wealth overshadows all your other interesting qualities, as far as most people would care.

Every person you meet has already made up their mind about you before you even have a chance to ask them what they do for a living. 

When you’re a multifaceted person with many layers of personality and depth, being reduced to a two-dimensional dollar sign is kind of a bummer.

7. Rich people are viewed negatively

When you think of the decamillionaire class, what qualities often come to mind? Greedy, immoral, unempathetic, entitled, self-important, arrogant, annoying, condescending, egotistical, snobbish…  

Pretty much a cornucopia of undesirable traits.

The underlying assumption is that most rich people obtained their wealth either by trampling over rules and regulations, by being born into the right family, by marrying the right last name, or through sheer luck.

To be completely fair, generational wealth and luck do play a huge role, and it’s tough to climb to the top without causing some collateral damage, so this stereotype of an unethical rich person isn’t completely unfounded. 

But exceptions do exist. 

Philanthropic billionaires and multimillionaires exist in great numbers. 

Nevertheless, the rich are stuck with these negative labels by default, and the onus is on them to clear their image by actively engaging in charitable activities, or, you know, by tweeting a lot of funny non sequiturs (I’m looking at you, Elon).

8. Rich people receive more hate

Because of the reasons mentioned above and many many others (some justified, others not as much), the rich aren’t very much liked by the general public.

Hating the rich is one of the few stances you can take that don’t get you flamed on social media, even in the notoriously divisive comments section of YouTube.

The richer you are, the more closely your words and actions are monitored, scrutinized and criticized by people outside of your inner circle. 

I mean, even billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett, who pledged to give away most of his fortune to charity, isn’t immune to smear campaigns. And don’t even get me started on George Soros.

9. The realization that money is not everything 

If you set money as your primary goal in life, and you eventually achieve said goal… then what?

Snagging even more money? Probably not. Chasing more and more money for the sake of adding another digit to your wealth is a meaningless and never-ending pursuit if you’re already well-off.

An extra million dollars would not change your life in any significant way if you’re already worth $17,000,000. It would be like giving you a free year of Amazon Prime Video when you’ve already subscribed to Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max. 

Money only matters when you don’t have it. 

When you can legitimately describe yourself as rich, you would (hopefully) realize that money isn’t the be-all and end-all, that money is nothing but fuel that boosts up everything else you want to do, whether that’s amassing a collection of Inuyasha action figures, publishing a collection of short stories about futuristic pirates, or taking a selfie in front of every wonder of the world. 

For some, this realization might be eye-opening, liberating and empowering. For others, it could be a depressing one.

And that’s why you should…

Pursue Wealth For the Right Reasons

Can wealth remove some obstacles in life and make life easier and more pleasant? For sure!

Will money magically fix everything that makes you unhappy? Nope. 

Don’t get me wrong. The purpose of this article is not to dissuade you from pursuing wealth. Far from it. This is a personal finance site after all.

I just want everyone who ever aspires to become rich to always remember two things:

  1. It’s not the fast cars with scissor doors and Instagrammable vacation rentals that’ll make you happy over the long run. 
  2. The most important and beautiful parts of life ― health, wellness, relationships, passion, experiences, and a sense of purpose ― are in a lot of ways enabled by more wealth, but not created by wealth.

So pursue wealth with all you’ve got, as long as the money itself isn’t your only end goal in sight. 

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Article by: Flora Pang

Flora Pang aspires to become someone who plants trees in their spare time, writes thank-you notes to strangers, and serves in UN peacekeeping operations around the world. But to date, blogging about personal finance remains her only contribution to society. You can catch her rambling about money on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and (to a lesser extent) Pinterest.