Are rich people the most unhappy?
As they chatted about celebrities’ latest love affairs, divorces, D.U.I (drinking under the influence), drug dependencies and criminal convictions I wondered what a life of money and fame would be like.
“Top News” the news presenter proclaimed, “Bill Gates taking back the title of the richest person in the world overtaking Slim with Forbes estimating $70 billion as he continues to win the money race”. $70 billion, now that would solve all my so-called “problems” in life.
As I too strive to ‘win this money race’ where I think I will be happier making more money and being successful at work, to be able to purchase material possessions, buy a luxurious house, raise a family, travel the world and share amazing experiences with my partner and friends. I wonder if I would be truly happy with billions than if I continued to work hard, earn an average stable income, get married and raise a family.
Throughout private school education, university and work I have crossed paths with people who are rich due to inheriting wealth or worked hard for their money. As I witness and hear about the dramas of a life filled with the pressure under scrutiny of the public eye and being rich, I wonder how ‘rich’ their lives truly are. This forced me to ponder if I have met anyone who is a billionaire and truly happy with their life and to be honest, I came to a standstill.
Are rich people happier than anyone else?
Here is what I have found so far:
People who have started from nothing and built incredible wealth
- Most work 7 days a week and are addicted to checking their mobile phones
- They care about attending events that are deemed important, because often that reinforces where they sit in the world or their hierarchy of friends
- They are afraid of losing their wealth- seen in the case of Bill Gates “taking back” his position of number one wealthiest man
- They are tight arses - except when it comes to buying the most expensive house or luxury cars and never want to actually spend a dollar
- They have people who have people
- The women in their lives often spend too much time on material possessions and getting cosmetic surgery - possibly because they too are unhappy with themselves and a lack of attention from their husbands
- They need their ego fed - surrounding themselves with people who hold onto their every word and show casing their wealth to everyone they can
- They would have made different choices in life, perhaps married a different person - but because of money, power and positioning, they would never change their lives but instead live two lives - the one that they want the public to see and the one that they dream to live
- They care about how much they spend on Wine and Champagne, trying to impress someone around them or to remind you of how wealthy they really are
- Often care too much about what people say about them and express their opinion on anyone they possibly can, putting people around them down
- Have constant battles and dramas in life, love affairs, divorces, alcohol dependencies etc
- Have forgotten what is truly important in life- in my opinion, to enjoy life with people you love.
- Often have to live up to family expectations and pressures of the way their family would like them to live their life rather than their own goals
- Feel like they can never live up to the expectation of their fathers, who have previously made the money for them
- Lack power on decision-making, other than with their friends, because someone else still controls their money
- Enjoy the freedom of private jets, big houses and luxury cars, but worry there is always someone else that may have more than them
- Often worry about who they can trust as their real friends
- Have to live up to everyone's expectations, behave a certain way-often throw big expensive parties again to showcase their wealth
- Often if they have a sexual preference that isn't considered metro sexual, they suppress it and do the things that "normal" people do like get married, while having a man or woman on the side - all so they don't embarrass their families or live up to the expectations they believe others have
- They know that they will get more freedom the day their family passes down the wealth through death or otherwise and sometimes secretly long for this
- Have a sense of entitlement
People that are half way there
- Struggle between being happy or achieving significant wealth
- Still believe in being innovative and know that hard work is the only way
- Tend to be more aware of life work balance
- Never feel they are at their full potential and good enough, so always strive to be a better worker and person in every aspect of life
- Want what they don't have; bigger house, more expensive car, luxury holidays etc
- Take risks, bigger than they would like
- Tend to show off more of their wealth or falsify that they are wealthier than they often are - they will buy Crystal in St Tropez for $10,000 a bottle while their much richer friends, will be more content with a Vodka
- Have a chance to take a stock take on their life, to step back and realize what is most important and change their outcomes
While these are all generalizations they were formed by what I have experienced and observed over my life. My dad always brought my sister and I up by reinforcing hard work will lead to success. He maintained money is important in this day and age as the expenses of life continue to increase but he made sure he drilled into our heads that “money isn’t happiness” and we could have all the money in the world yet never be truly happy. It makes me realize my dad was always right. Is money what truly makes you happy? It makes me sad to think this is the fuel to a person’s happiness and if not, is money worth sacrificing your happiness over?
We all have different goals in life but the one thing that is most important to me is spending my life with someone I love and sharing these experiences with my family and friends. While I dream of endless money and luxurious possessions in a life of fame and fortune, will I ever actually be happy.
Love and Family is what drives me through life so how much of that would I be willing to sacrifice to ‘win the money race’? Is the stress of work and money worth it?