You want to be rich. Perhaps you plan to
be very wealthy indeed.
Talking about the pros and cons of being wealthy seems as one-sided as a boxing match
between Warren Buffett and
However IÂ™ve been
giving this some thought inspired by my strange and unfounded fear of winning
Ã‚Â£56 million pounds in the
lottery and there are quite a few bad points.
DonÂ™t get me
wrong itÂ™d be a nice problem to have. If you searched out Â˜the pros and cons
of being wealthyÂ™ as a sanity check before accepting a briefcase of cash, I say
take the money!
Later on you can come back and tell us how hard it is being
rich. But letÂ™s start with the good points.
The pros of
very religious, contrarian, or youÂ™re visiting our planet ahead of the
full-scale invasion from
Mars, youÂ™ll know how great it is to have money.
The esteemed rap poet Nas sums up the general picture as
I buy, Ice that I wear,
Clothes that I try, close your
Picture me rollin, sixes, money
Bitches honies that swollen to
Mr Nas is a bit
weak in rhyming the clothes heÂ™s trying with those that heÂ™s buying, but then
he doesnÂ™t need to try too hard Nas knows weÂ™ve all dreamed of being rich.
He just has to flick the switch.
At the very least, being wealthy gets you:
Ã‚Â§ Holidays anywhere
Ã‚Â§ A great home
Ã‚Â§ Funding for your
pastimes and passions
Ã‚Â§ Good suits
Ã‚Â§ Great health care
Ã‚Â§ A swimming pool full of
girls in bikinis
Ã‚Â§ Gold teeth
Feel free to substitute your own desires. Personally, IÂ™d
like an island.
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.
IÂ™ve met a fair few rich people over the years, mainly
through work, and IÂ™ve also read widely on the subject, and I feel confident in
listing these negatives.
(For clarity, IÂ™m talking about being really rich Ã‚Â£10 million
/ million net worth or more).
doesnÂ™t make you happy
surprisingly low point, more money doesnÂ™t
make you happier. Rich people get depressed, just like the middle
classes. True, thereÂ™s no evidence that money actually makes you unhappy
(although one rich man is giving it all away) but it could distract you from
fixing your real problems.
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 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. ThatÂ™s
why you canÂ™t walk far in Africa without tripping over a philanthropist.
People are very critical of the wealthy, especially here in
the UK. In the US entrepreneurs are celebrated, but newly rich Brits will find
many people waiting for them to fall. IÂ™ve seen it in work a self-made man or
woman leaves the room, and someone says well, he was lucky or heÂ™s out of
ideas or even what an asshole. Not nice, but it happens.
is richer than you
Rich people are
human, too. Your yacht isnÂ™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
Money canÂ™t buy the love of your friends and family. DonÂ™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 canÂ™t afford nursing care. Do you help them all Can you Where
do you draw the line
rich is a big deal
Buy a country
house and you need staff. Invest your millions and you need accountants. They move
your money offshore, and now you donÂ™t understand the taxes. YouÂ™ve no time to
learn, because youÂ™ve three different architects coming over to quote on your
summer home. You think youÂ™d be different So do I. DidnÂ™t they
One reason youÂ™ll
need to all those professionals is because youÂ™ll need help warding off the
crooks attracted to your wealth. Nobody wanted to pretend to be you when you
owed the bank money, but now youÂ™ve millions parked away itÂ™s a different
story. LetÂ™s hope your financial
you (and your money)
The big one. Does she really find you fascinating, or just
your bank balance Is he really won over by your beauty, wit, or experience, or
does he just hope to bleed you dry while banging the French au pair
Money can be
surprising thing about How to Get Rich (US link) by Felix Dennis is when he urges
you to stop with money after you make the first few
million, because beyond that youÂ™re wasting your life.
rich founder of Maxim magazine writes:
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 rapperÂ™s perspective, what I didnÂ™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.
Our bard sums
up his frustrations thus:
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 yÂ™all sayin thatÂ™s a clever
nigga, nuttin to play with
Of course, the
single was a hit and it made Nas even richer, just like DennisÂ™ How
to Get Rich book has
become a bestseller.
Being wealthy has
its rewards, but irony thatÂ™s priceless.