Thoughts on wealth : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

It's an old subject - whether rich people are happier or better off than people who just have "enough". I've never been rich, so I don't have any firsthand experience. I have known a few wealthy people, but none well. I'd like to launch a few thoughts on the subject, but especially, I'd like input from anyone who has ever been rich enough to not need to work or worry about money, or anyone who's been close to someone that rich. Real world information is hard to come by.

The first observation is that money is a magnifier. Add money to someone and their personality projects much larger onto society. What is good in them grows large. What is bad, ugly or petty also casts a bigger shadow. Rich people must get used to this.

One dark side of this magnifier effect is that they have a hard time understanding their true size. Their size tends to zoom in and out like Gulliver among the Liiliputians and Brobdignagdians, as they move from one venue to another.

Another dark side is that the rich start to feel that money is essential to their true selves. They begin to place their faith in it - or rather, misplace it. This starts to put a value and a worth on money that is out of proportion to the value and worth we less wealthy folks place on money. Wealth begins to loom larger and larger in a rich person's life, until it is more valued than any friend or lover. Money is "there for them". It buys loyalty that looks much like friendship.

I also hear (but have never experineced) that the luxury money can buy is very demoralizing, in the sense that one becomes addicted to it like any drug. Consequently, the thought of losing one's money becomes more and more frightening. It seems to give so much, do so much, get so bound up with one's self and worth. This is one reason the wealthy can become very ruthless if they feel their wealth is threatened. History proves they will kill to stay wealthy. Not to eat. Not to have "enough", but to stay wealthy beyond the reach of any possible need.

So, if you are rich or buddies with a rich person, does any of this bear out? Am I blowing smoke? Or is this a reasonable portrait?

-- Brian McLaughlin (, May 12, 2000


Brian, this is too big a subject for a throwaway. Yet, quickly I think of two famous rich people---

Mae West-"I have been rich and I have been poor and rich is better".

Howard Hughs-if he hadn't have been a billionaire he couldn't have afforded to indulge his OCD and might have led a happy life.

Bottom line is they both are now as dead as poor people. I am reminded of Gilda's recent quotation of Soloman--"vanity, all is vanity, a chasing of the wind".

-- Lars (, May 12, 2000.

This portrait of yours sounds reasonable.

I have gone frome rags to riches and back again. Not having money is also a magnifier.

I know a few rich families and individuals, no billionaires though. I can tell you that their personalities varied just as you might expect. How they handle the struggle for money says a great deal.

I think the American consumer society instills confusion between wealth and appearance. I say the sheeple rarely calculate interest, and the American households' predation of resources is breathtaking but not true wealth.

So there's my little glass of whine for the day.

-- Will (, May 12, 2000.

GOT SOME MONEY RECENTLY-people i thought we,re friends have become get,s stuff,but stuff ain,t where it,s is a tool.naked i came into this world--naked i leave.the JOY of money,is the good it can do,if given in love.i know,i know-send me some money al,prove your love[chuckle] i give as GOD,s his anyhow.

-- al-d (, May 12, 2000.

Amway+god! (God, respectfully!)

Soul, not gonna touch it with a 5in. + pole!!!

-- ownership (, May 12, 2000.

My father-in-law was a very wealthy man when he retired as a stock broker. He owned a 40 acre estate with a home, game house, lake, car room with two lamborghini's and a porsche, and serious clout in the community. He was president of the local university quarter-back club, president of the car club, etc....a real mover and shaker. Everybody loved him, respected him, and came to him...he lived for the attention. Then he retired and attempted to develope a realestate project. After five years and many million dollars later, he was broke and back to working as a stock broker again. The people who loved him for his prestige and advice no longer called. His status in the local clubs other words, who is this guy? My point being is that he was at the top of the community because of his money. When he lost it all...all those he put his worth in lost him. It has taken him many years to recover, but through it all, he is still a good father-in-law, grandfather, and friend. I don't always agree with his judgements, but I certainly respect his wisdom. The others...those who have abandoned is their loss. Now, I get to spend more time with him fly-fishing and playing golf. Ain't it great! To the other losers who find comfort in money...f%%k 'em. I am not wealthy, but to quote my father-in-law..inside the front cover of an Og Mandino book, he wrote' " Money is not the most important thing....but the lack of money is very important" Finding the balance is the real key to a successful life.


-- sheepherder (, May 12, 2000.

I will tell you what my idea of monetary wealth is: No debt, a decent income, some money in the bank and enough money to have someone clean my house once a week. Also, I dress like a slob now that I am retired. I have a tee shirt that says, "I am retired and this is as dressed up as I get". When I was young I drove a Porche and paid a large percentage of my salary each month for the ego fulfiller. Now that I could go out and pay cash, I drive a 1989 Ford Taurus. One DOES grow up and mature...thank goodness! Taz

-- Taz (, May 12, 2000.

Brian: "Rich people are poor people with lots of money", it's said, and how true that is of those with monetary "wealth". I have worked with multi-millionaires (my offshore real estate clients) for some 25 years, and all but one behaved quite frequently like dictators, even though most of their money was just borrowed in the form of mortgages on real estate they "owned". Makes me mad just thinking about them, or rather, thinking about how long I put up with some of them. But to hell with this money-wealth illusion. The fact of the matter is that most of us, save and except those who cannot think and/or act for themselves, are fabulously wealthy. We have unlimited brain capacity to store information and knowledge, we have the ability to make use of this info/knowledge (without using it it's useless), and there's opportunities EVERYWHERE ANYTIME to freely make use of all that wealth, to the benefit of anything and anyone you connect with it. Being poor or wealthy is a state of mind which we choose, and as with so many things in life, abuse of either one will lead to misery. And one more thing: if you are healthy, you are wealthy. First of all comes our health; good health produces happiness; true happiness means love, and love means success. In anything we are, or do. Our "havingness" will look after itself if we look after our beingness, and our doingness.

-- mahkel (, May 12, 2000.

I'm not rich and I'm unhappy

but is it because I'm not rich or for other reasons

I suspect if I were rich I'd still be unhappy

its easy to waste luxury money I suspect, wish I knew

-- richard (, May 12, 2000.


{I wish you had used the word 'fortune' or something rather thatn 'wealth', it would've made it an easier question to answer}.

First, I'd like to say there is usually a tremendous difference in behavior between those with 'old money' vs. the 'noveau riche'. I've got friends & relations on both sides of that fence {- of course I have issues with the term 'wealth' so barely have two nickels to rub together to be concerned about}.

Many of the folks with 'old money' are extremely leery of the effects it can have on interpersonal relationships. For instance, you should see the kind of 'bomb' cars these folks will drive. In one of Steinbeck's books {maye "Travels With Charlie"?} he and a wokman are running an errand, when his workman says something to effect of 'man, you've got to be pretty rich to dress as poor as you do'.

The folks that I've known with 'new money' tend to be more 'in your face', which is seen as very coarse behavior by the other camp.

Now even within those generalities there can be stark contrasts. I'm going to use the example of a couple of fortunes created by the tech revolution. One power couple I know is driven by the wife's insatiable urge for acqusition. To those around them, the thought 'when is enough ENOUGH?' has a field day. I think it probably relates to early childhood trauma & loss, but what the heck would I know?!

David Packard did some interesting things with his money, his foundation is going strong and affecting change in the direction of the future as he envisioned it. {Though it is strange to watch some entities who are used to receiving government grants have to come to terms with showing productivity, or at least accountability}.

The lucky rich are perhaps those who are blessed with a vision, and can afford to make a change for the better for those things in a less fortunate position.

-- flora (***@__._), May 12, 2000.

I've been desperately poor and luxuriously rich, but most times, as now, I'm somewhere in the middle. Luckily, like Taz, I got over the love of things quite early. And it's true that health is the best thing anyone can have.

-- gilda (, May 12, 2000. the debt-collectors are furious,it was a LANDMARK-CASE. and to all'who insulted & belittled my wife,she say,s to tell you'thr new house & ranch are nice.[if GOD is for you,who?can be against you] read it & weep,shagnasty filthy mouth flamers.

-- al-d (, May 11, 2000 Answers

-- speaks4self (, May 12, 2000.

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