We hear the term 1% a lot, but what it really means is that there are millions of us who have no idea what it’s really like to be stupid, filthy rich – and we’re never going to…
Which is why people are curious about what it’s like, I think – and why you’re going to love these stories from people who, while not rich, have found themselves rich-adjacent here and there
1. How big the gulf actually is.
Not how much THEY have, but just how LITTLE you have, they put no thought into buying a $1,500 espresso maker that they never use because Starbucks is easier…. But for me Starbucks is an expensive treat, or, hey come check out my new 150” tv in my theater room, and I go home to my studio apt and 19” tv with rabbit ears, because I can’t afford cable… they just don’t understand the disparity…
The owners kids came into the office one day and I over heard one of his girls tell a woman in the office, “you work for my daddy right?” Woman responded in the affirmative. Little girl says, “my daddy owns this company right? Woman responds in the affirmative. Little girl says, “well, since you work for my daddy, and he owns this business, he said we own this business, so that means I own you!”, that little girl didn’t know how close she was to meeting Jesus that day….. or another time….
Same little girl, “my daddy says we have $3 million dollars in the bank.” Walks away…..
2. A lack of consequences.
Mostly I’ve learned they can make moral or ethical stands because there is no consequences. Unhappy at a job and think they are wrong? Just quit. No true repercussions for doing so.
Knew a guy who argued that staying somewhere you felt they were ethically or morally corrupt was a choice and he had walked out of a job because of it. But he could move back home. Just a little ego bruise. He had his wealthy parents. He had access to borrowed money. Like there was no connection between his access to not fail vrs actually failing on his stance (or taking his immediate family down with him). He was never sacrificing his home, his auto, his family, nothing except he put his foot down and might have to hang out with his parents. But he was willing to risk it!. It was really eye opening to me. No fear of repercussions except mom and dad would have to help.
To have that kind of security…
There is a huge disconnect between them understanding they “worked for it” when they come from money. Like understanding the access they are privy too and being in the situational awareness of it is not a comprehension they have. Doesn’t everyone have a choice to just walk away from their income and not face eviction, medical access, vehicle, food access, childcare, etc??? How silly. You just have no conviction to stand by your morals.
It honestly made me a little sick.
And please understand – I don’t think these are bad people. I respect the people I do know who are wealthy quite deeply. But this a flaw in reasoning that was (and still is) a bit flabergasting to me personally.
3. It’s a boost to success.
Going to a top-tier design school made me fully realize how a lot of “hard work to success” is really about having money.
I needed to start from scratch at 18, with no parental support, and despite how obsessively I [over]worked, it took me 8 years to save a sufficient amount of money, so I could go to school without taking student loans. Even though, I still needed to work full time in order to support myself through it.
I quickly realized the school’s schedule made it impossible to work much. Classes start at 10:00, end at 17:00 [so you can’t work evening shifts in most places], 5 times a week, with lots of nonsense assignments given with the sole purpose of making you work nonstop [one professor openly admitted half their assignments served no purpose other than creating pressure]. I was determined and desperate, so I took jobs with flexible schedules, night shifts followed by full days in class, marathoning weekend shifts…
Because I was working, and my schedule had the error range of 5 minutes per day [Not a hyperbole – that was literally how I managed my time] I also needed to pick my projects very carefully. I couldn’t take anything risky, because I do not have time to do it over in case of failure. I couldn’t take anything with expensive materials or production, because that would require me to cram extra work to make up for it, and there are literally not enough hours in the day to do that. I couldn’t invest a whole lot of time into projects, because my schedule was extremely limited. I couldn’t take any projects that I couldn’t do during breaks, during dead hours at work, or in the limited hours I had at my place. Obviously, that stifled my ability to get a lot of interesting work done, and effected my grades. Most of the time, I had to settle for “Good enough”, because this is what I could afford.
Most of my classmates were wealthy white kids. Some were upper-middle class [“Oh, I took a year off after high school to volunteer teaching western art in Africa!”], some were downright celebrities’ kids. Many of them didn’t work at all throughout the 4-years program. Those who did, could afford working 1-2 shifts a week, or occasional freelance, because they did not depend on having a steady income. They could afford doing insane, elaborate projects that cost 1000$ to produce on a semi-weekly basis, or experimental works that take months and may or may not work, taking risks and then doing it over, or failing classes and taking them again.
It’s not like these kids didn’t work hard – they definitely did. But they only could work hard because they had money to afford putting in the work in the first place.
4. They know a guy.
even the moderately wealthy, like barely upper middle class, have “a guy” for everything. somehow. and not just a sketchy guy, but a tailored professional. maybe they bump into each other at country clubs and form reciprocal agreements, IDK. but it results in suitably wealthy people getting the highest quality service on everything for a family and friends discount. you have money = you save money = you get more money. this isn’t a positive or a negative
a related note, is that nothing seems too small to get the expensive treatment. this can foster both awful people who insist on others making massive adjustments to make that happen, and lovely people who will put in their money/time/effort to do a good job for poorer friends just because they value something done to good standards and like to see it.
what the people are like is very individual.
5. Rich is better.
I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. Rich is better. On the whole, wealthy people are not any different; they just have less money related stress and can pay for services to free up their time.
This frees up energy to focus on other things. Like learning or paying people to turn their money into more money.
As you rub shoulders and make personal connections, opportunities will sometimes present themselves for investments, like real estate before it’s listed or investing in new ventures/businesses.
The key is to maximize earnings, create multiple revenue streams, and live way below your means. You need the money to take advantage of investments.
6. Arrogance abounds.
I grew up in a wealthy area (my parents were definitely very well off, but we were never anything close to being part of the 1%) and in my experience, the wealthy are very polarized. There are those who genuinely want to do good things and use their money and influence to help people. On the flip side, there are those who’re incredibly selfish and self-serving.
Both sides can be very arrogant, however. This arrogance is usually for different reasons, but it still comes through nonetheless.
The worst, however, aren’t the wealthy adults, but the kids of said wealthy adults. These asshats are unbelievably egotistical and think they can do anything and say anything they want because their parents are “rich.”
Like said, I grew up in a wealthy area and because of that, I went to a wealthy high school, so I was forced to endure these shitheads for years.
Maybe you think I’m exaggerating a bit? Okay, here’s an example: their parents bought these kids luxury or sports cars for their first car. Seriously, I saw 16 year-olds driving Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc.
I also said my parents were well off, and because it was my first car, they felt I didn’t need something overly powerful or flashy. They got me a Honda Civic. I was ridiculed constantly for driving a “poor loser’s car.”
The fact that my parents bought me a car at all was pretty damn good, but I guess these kids felt they deserved whatever their parents got them.
The funny thing is I mentioned this to my dad years later and he was actually apologetic. I told him he didn’t need to be. I was a brand new driver and the last thing I needed was a high-end, powerful vehicle that I could get myself into real trouble with.
Another story (also relating to cars) was a kid who wrote an editorial in the school newspaper, where he did nothing but bitch and moan about how “put out” he was because had to be seen in a rented Chevy Geo because his real car was in the shop. What made this particular article even more tone deaf was that the teachers in the school all had less expensive cars than the students, including the vehicle this student was complaining about.
7. Their kids have issues.
Money does not equal happiness.
I went to a private high-school with insanely rich students & they were mostly miserable.
A huge percentage of kids had eating disorders, drug issues, alcohol issues and no concept of the real world.
8. Out of touch.
I cater in Orange County Southern California .the ones who made their own money are usually very very generous. the ones who inherited it or married into it are greedy needy and whiney.
And are out of touch With the real world.
9. Two types.
There are two types of rich people. Extremely generous who are happy to pay for things that afford them time to do what they enjoy, and the really stingy who take advantage of others for their personal gain.
I worked in a lowly job and offered to get my boss a soda. There a was rich dude in his office who said he’d take one too. I assumed he’d pay me when I got back, but he didn’t. Guy is, was and forever will be a jerk in my book.
10. They get stuff done.
They ain’t that smart but they get stuff done regardless of how stupid and unprofessional they look.
Being in a wealthy environment and making acquaintances will expand your horizons. There are people out there that are making bank, just as there are PHD students, neurosurgeons, junkies, etc.
I interned at a luxury car dealership in 2015/2016 and me, a non native speaker, was proof reading their emails (god were they bad), doing basic Excel for invoicing, no SEO, they even had the wrong name on their Google Business page.
I went in there thinking I was interviewing at Wiessman, I was not. In the 90s they were making close to 100 Mil in revenue per annum, in 2009 they went bankrupt and a couple of years later they reincorporated. The managing director at one point held the record for most Bugattis sold, 7 BTW, and they held some record for most Rolls-Royces sold as well.
Word to the ones that want to get rich: Get started now! Exude confidence. Learn on the job and don’t be afraid of making mistakes or of how stupid you may look.
11. A rule of thumb.
People who act wealthy generally aren’t and the few truly wealthy people I know dont act or look like it.
“It’s very likely that Bezos isn’t even the richest man on Earth. He’s most likely just the richest one we know exists. There are probably people who are even more unfathomably wealthy than he is. Having that many resources makes it far easier to hide your true wealth and the simple truth is that they probably don’t want us to know how much of this earth they really own, lest we come after them instead.”
And yknow… I wouldn’t be surprised if it was right.
12. Funny how that works,
That a lot of successful people have rich parents.
Honestly, even beyond that, I was shocked about how informed wealthy kids were about their options. I felt like from day one in college I just knew less about what career paths were out there. People were aiming to be product managers and I didn’t even know there were jobs outside of software development jobs in tech.
If someone’s parents is successful they’re more likely to be exposed to their parents friends. Who are typically also in high paying careers. Even being exposed to high income jobs helps a lot more than people are willing to admits typically.
13. A delicate balance.
A lot of people who appear wealthy are actually in massive debt. The people who are often super well off or can retire early are that wealthy because they are frugal. Where as a lot of the very overtly wealthy people you meet (unless we are talking clearly from old money or famous) are sustaining that lifestyle through not saving and using credit.
A lot of wealthy people are also just so uninterested in helping anyone. When I was down and out, the people who helped me were almost entirely working class or lower middle class. The people I knew who actually had the resources to help suddenly disappeared.
14. Or substance, for that matter.
Money doesn’t necessarily buy style.
15. A case study.
I’m the 6th of 7 kids. There’s almost a directly inverse correlation to the amount of money we make to the happiness levels we have. We all grew up poor.
Katie (40, oldest sibling) has tens of millions of dollars and still makes millions a year. She’s extremely stressed all the time. Has a terrible marriage. Physically and mentally unhealthy. And super concerned about democrats being out to get her & steal her money to give to “lazy people.”
Aaron (34) and his wife together make just under $150k/yearly in our small hometown where the median salary is under $30k/yr. They’re drowning in debt and terrible at finances, something that a constant stress for them.
Davey, Nathan, and Luke all make middle class wages and live good middle class lives.
Micah (31) and I (27) both quit our jobs to pursue the arts (he music and myself photography). We’re easily the two happiest, stress free brothers. And by far we make the least amount of money.
16. Luck does play a role.
The few real folks among them will tell you how lucky / fortunate they are to be wealthy.
They realize that many folks have brilliant ideas, many folks work hard … and aren’t.
Survivorship bias, “I worked real hard, and now I’m wealthy. You must be lazy.” Hard work + opportunity + luck is what makes most people successful. Most people only have one of those three things.
17. Makes you more.
I’ve worked with the very wealthy and the very poor.
I learned that money makes you MORE of whatever you are.
People who are kind and generous are kind and generous on a larger scale.
People who are jerks become jerks on a bigger scale.
18. They run the gamut.
I’ve met all sorts of rich dudes from chill to narcissistic as f**k. The two biggest standouts were: Mr B who was by far the richest I’ve personally known (over $250M). He lived in a home you’d expect a a doctor to own, he drove a Lexus car that was 8 years old, he spent most of his time with his family. Mr B was very kind and very humble about how he made his fortune.
Mr K. Worked at McDonalds, but he also owned a lot of them. Mr K worked 5 days a week rotating through his McDonalds, and I mean worked, toilets, trash, register, drive thru, everything. He loved people and wanted everyone to have a good experience at his stores. He was a master at communicating. If you met him you’d have no idea he was incredibly wealthy. He was great at making his entire focus you when he was interacting with you. Very kind hearted man.
Both Mr B and Mr K have passed away. Neither left massive fortunes for their kids. Both left trusts that paid for education but that’s it. The rest they donated to charities.
19. A different take.
Spend money to save time versus spending time to save money.
I’ve met people before that consider parking tickets not to be a penalty, but to just mean “It costs $50 to park there.”
So if you make $200 per hour doing whatever it is you do, it makes no sense to clean your house and mow your lawn (unless you enjoy mowing) when you can pay someone else to do it and go make $200 for the same time spent.
20. They have money because they save money.
Old book but read “The Millionaire Next Door”. People think they can spot the rich guy based on stereotypes.
I know very rich people who drive old cars, shop at thrift shops, donate regularly ( anonymously). They don’t flaunt their wealth. They run in different circles—business people and high finance plus those much further down the financial ladder.
The best lesson I’ve learned (from those I respect) is to treat everyone with respect no matter their background.
21. That part is true.
I went to a private school with the offspring of millionaires and billionaires.
The “rich people” demographic is just as varied as any demographic (I spent most of my time growing up in working class/middle class areas). And there are plenty of great kids in those schools.
I always find it weird how people act like they know everything about ‘rich people’.
The most accurate sweeping statement I’ve ever seen on reddit about ‘rich people do/don’t do this…’ is the people who have said that rich people don’t have a drawer in their kitchen full of all of the leftover sauce sachets from fast food.
Ok, that is true.
22. We all have problems.
Everybody has their own set of problems. In my experience when money isnt a problem some other typically foolish thing fills its place.
23. Definitely do it.
If you can afford 20 grand for a shower/sauna combo with like 4 different types of shower heads lights amd a radio in it, buy it. Best shower of my life.
Spent like an hour in that thing.
And the person’s who shower I was in was my boss at the time from the place I worked at who’s kid I babysat. The shower was just the tip of the amazing things rich people have iceberg that I got to use regularly. She also had a bed in the same bedroom the shower was in that was fucking made of like down goose feathers that was the comfest bed I’ve ever slept in.
A coffee/espresso maker built into her kitchen wall that could make lates/coffee/espresso drinks at the push of a button, a couple of different porsches I got to drive, and her whole house had a stero/radio sytem thing going on to play music throughout the whole house. Like her whole house was amazing and full of shit I wish I had.
Knowing wealthy people has only made me realize want to be wealthy amd I understand why the wealthy buy all sorts of unnecessary stuff. It’s so worth it and fun amd makes life fun. I wish I was wealthy
24. It’s comfortable.
Just how comfortable an existence life with financial security is. While many poor people are grinding every day knowing any little mistake or piece of dumb luck can completely ruin their finances, rich people go to bed easy every night knowing how secure they are.
That’s why I want to get wealthy in my lifetime. Not to have an extravagant lifestyle or run with the high rollers, but to just go to bed every night not worrying about losing any one source of my income.
25. No time or interest in enjoying it.
I’m working with a guy that owns an extraordinary number of houses/land and a coupla mansions. I soon realised he has everything, and no time to enjoy it.
I’ve worked for a few insanely rich people and they aren’t just pursuing a lifestyle, more than anything they enjoy making money and would literally die of boredom if they stopped.
26. And they give to them, too.
Some of them really love the arts and humanities on a levels that is on equal footing with the artists and the humans themselves.
27. They’re all different.
Some can be down to earth, but I’ve seen more that are out of touch with reality or straight up rude. There’s a guy that owns half the town where I live, super down to earth and funds and sponsors a lot of stuff for the local school district. He is cheap at times when it comes to the bowling alley he owns, but he’s a decent person.
Former family friend who is a realtor (mutli-millionaire) completely ghosted my family when he learned we weren’t as rich as he thought we were. When my parents revealed that the house we had was being foreclosed on, due to some shitty life stuff, he basically disappeared. Came by twice when we were selling what we could and wanted to buy the air hockey table we had.
$5, that’s all it was being sold for since we couldn’t take it with us with where we were moving to. He told us that was too much money to spend on it and left. Came back the next day with his daughter and grandson and saw we marked it free and took it whole acting like he was doing us a favor.
28. Just like people.
Some of them are the chillest, nicest people you will ever meet.
And some are the meanest, cruelest a$$holes you will ever meet.
29. It’s worth it.
That spending $15,000 on a first-class ticket to Europe so your legs don’t get sore exists.
I’ve been in first class once. It was an upgrade after the airline messed up a previous flight for us. It was pretty damn awesome. Just the leg room alone was great and I’m not a particularly tall guy. I couldn’t imagine sitting in economy if I were tall.
30. They’re all individuals.
Grew up in a working class neighborhood, section 8 housing, none of my friends parents had college degrees, including my own. Never really exposed to even upper middle class people growing up
Went to college, Married someone several rings up the latter from me, most of her family are millionaires. Now live in a neighborhood with a lot of rich people.
My conclusion: you should really judge the individual and not lump large groups of people together with some sweeping broad characterization of an entire class
Some rich people are assholes, some are really cool. Some are generous, some are not. Some have crazy political views, while other don’t. Some worked really hard while others haven’t worked a day in their life. Some are super entitled and others realize how super fortunate they are
And you know what, you could apply all that to poor people
31. Just on paper.
That you can be cashflow rich and balance sheet poor. That becoming wealthy isn’t as much about massive income as it is about consistent saving and investing over time.
That acting rich generally means you’re poor or soon to be.
I don’t think I’m really that surprised, are you?
If you’ve got something to add, drop it in the comments!