Devil's Advocate 

I Don’t Want To Be Rich

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This is a Devil's Advocate post.

Wow, did he just write that? A personal finance blogger doesn’t want to be rich? Is he insane? Should we even be reading a blog about money from a guy who doesn’t even want to be rich? Yes I just wrote that. Yes I don’t want to be rich. No I’m not insane and yes you should be reading and I’ll explain what I mean. Oh, and when I mean rich, I mean like lottery rich. The reason I don’t want to be rich (even though I will strive for it, just like everyone else chasing the American Dream) is because it comes with a lot more problems than it solves and the problems that it can’t solve are the ones that are especially difficult because they can’t be solved with money. Oh, and if the big red sign and the over the top talk didn’t give it away, this is a Devil’s Advocate post. 🙂

100% Of Lottery Winners End Up Dead
Winning the lottery actually kind of sucks. If you can get past the obvious play on words (100% of people end up dead… eventually) and think about the stories of the past lottery winners, very few end up in a solid financial situation a few years after winning. The reason is because all sorts of people come out of the woodwork and ask for a hand because you’re suddenly rich. Not only that, but those people feel as though you’re obligated to help them because you have so much money and if you don’t there will be hell to pay. Another reason? All sorts of crazies come out of the woodwork because they want a piece, legally or illegally, and they will stop at nothing to get it. Lastly, you can’t protect yourself against yourself. Lots of lottery winners quit their jobs, lose direction, start spending money like wild to entertain themselves… and end up coked up and dead in a ditch somewhere because a robbery went wrong. Don’t think this is true? Follow the sad tale of the last Powerball winner.

Lots of Rich Kids Are Spoiled
Why do people work? To provide for themselves and provide for their families. Working 8+ hours a day does wonders for keeping someone out of trouble, so what happens when you don’t have to work? You get yourself into trouble! See, if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, a few million in a trust fund, you can likely live the rest of your life very comfortably without working. If that is the case, what incentive is there for you to study hard, work hard, or do anything except play hard? None! It’s very difficult to teach someone to work hard if there is no incentive to do so, kids hardly want to do homework as it is, certainly don’t make it harder by letting them know they don’t ever really need to work. Sure, the “rich kids are spoiled” idea is an unfair generalization but, like all generalizations, it’s rooted in part in truth. Check out Paris Hilton, she’s about to go to jail and she’s lighting up a joint.

Poor People Less Likely To Be Robbed
Who is more likely to be robbed, me or someone rolling in a Mercedez Benz, wearing a Rolex, and sporting diamond studded earrings? If you would rather rob me, you’re a freaking fool. Rob the dude rolling in a Benz on his way home to his mountain villa because the return on investment will be much much higher and the chances of something going wrong is much lower. It’s lower because money is less important to Mr. Rolex, so he has a couple grand on him and you stick him up, he’s going to give it to you because a couple grand ain’t crap to him. You stick me up and I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep my twenty bucks and my Quizno’s frequent sandwich buyer card… and that damned card is expired anyway.

So, the moral of the story is that you don’t want to be filthy stinking rich.

{ 13 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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13 Responses to “I Don’t Want To Be Rich”

  1. I don’t want to be rich, I want to be comfortable

  2. Posco says:

    I’ll play Devil’s Devil’s Advocate.

    What do you mean “I mean like lottery rich”? That’s ambiguous. You mean undeserved windfalls? Lots of people get undeserved windfalls just by owning stellar-performing stocks. But they have goals and discipline to manage their profits.

    On lottery winners: The lottery is not the only way to become “lottery rich”, whatever that means. You can work a well-paying job and become a millionaire several times over. In fact, your CHANCES of becoming rich by being trained and becoming a skilled worker are much HIGHER than by playing the lottery. You should WANT to become rich as a reward for your diligent labor. BTW, I’m of the school of thought that state-sponsored lotteries are a horrible way to fund things like public schools, since such sudden riches promised and received by players ruins so many members of the public that schools are trying to educate. What a contradiction!

    On rich kids being spoiled: Over-generalization. I cite myself as an example. My father was likely a millionaire, although he hardly let anyone in on it. Our family lived by the principles of good education, hard work, and fair compensation. We tithed. We refrained from excessive worldly entertainment. We treasured family relationships. I use my inheritance to fund my frugal living while I work on an advanced degree. What happens when money is managed to take care of your basic needs? You’re freed to pursue loftier goals.

    On poor people being robbed: Poor people can be robbed, not by a bank robber. By the used-car salesman. By your employer. By the state lottery games and casinos. By sellers of all kinds of insurance. By credit card companies. By their own refusal to be educated.

    I want to be filthy stinkin’ rich, and I want nobody else to know about it. That’s why I’ll never play the lottery or gamble in a casino.

  3. Hazzard says:

    It would be interesting to see crime statistics on how often poor people are robbed, compared to rich people. As a former cop, I can tell you I think that poor people get robbed far more often than wealthy people do.

    Poor people are exposed to far more “person to person” crime than rich people are, but of course, I don’t have any statistics to back up that statement. If you were to look at regional crime maps, I think you’d find that there is far more crime in impoverished areas than there is in wealthier areas.

    But generally, I do agree with the post. Money can bring a whole set of problems with it. I think that most PF bloggers and their audiences would be the most likely to handle the money in an intelligent way.

  4. FH says:

    Wow! That was kind of depressing. However, there is a lot of truth to it. Here is a dilemma, money helps to solve a lot of problems but like anything else, if it’s put in the “wrong hands” it creates a lot of problems, too.

    I will be honest I do want to be rich and given time I likely will be. However, I am dreading the idea of handing my money over to my kids if or when they are not ready for it.

    I would much rather have a “family bank” that they can go to and borrow with the idea that they need to manage it smart after the loan is granted and be able to repay it after they have given the money some proper growth. Money can do good for them is they earn the right to have it and if they use it creatively.

    I will also teach them about charity when they are a little older. As a matter of fact, my wife and I are already teaching our 5 year old about giving.

    Paris Hilton is a big disgrace to anything decent in this world, I agree. However, I do not believe that this is simply because of the Hilton family fortune. It is all about the upbringing. Something must have gone wrong there. To illustrate the point though, there is also a lot of lazy, arrogant bums out there who live off of wellfare, spending your and my tax dollars and breeding like there is no tomorrow. Therefore, I tend to think that being RICH is not a pre-requisit for being SHAMELESS.

    Thank you.


  5. Dustin says:

    Quite hilarious indeed.

  6. Minimum Wage says:

    Actually, I suspect that poor people are more likely than rich people to be robbed. Rich people are generally able to exercise living, working, and recreational options which afford them minimal contact with the types of people more likely to try to rob them. Not too many muggers living in rich neighborhoods. (Yes I know about the Millionaire Next Door who lives modestly, but even they are able to generally avoid muggers, and of course they blend into the neighborhood and never call attention to themselves.)

  7. Thom Thrift says:

    I agree that we should all strive to better our financial situtation but I too think there are circumstances when the best decision may not be a decision that increases our wealth. From my blog:

    “…Usually making financial decisions that increase our wealth also increase our freedom. When we have more, we can give more and the number of choices we have in how we use our money exponentially grows. But sometimes making a financial decision means having to choose either greater wealth or greater freedom. It is clear that our priority should be freedom….”

  8. Ana says:

    I don’t want to be rich either, but my reasons are quite different. It’s not to avoid harder problems, nor greedy people. That is a reality, problems exist for us all, and are often worse for the poor, like Hazzard points out.
    I believe that if we share the wealth in a world where everybody is reasonable and only spend what they really need, we would be a civilisation of generous people living in happiness and armony. Instead, being rich tends to turn the person into someone who loses their trust, their generosity, their innocence and creates distress, since that is not a natural state for a human being.
    I don’t want to be rich, but I am responsible to cover my expenses, whichever these are, in relation with my ambitions. So I work hard and take responsibility of my career. I remain a pleasant, trustworthy and generous happy person.
    If you can manage to make me see things differently, maybe I’ll owe you a favor?
    Good luck to all!

  9. plonkee says:

    I think I’m with you on this. And if you had a truly stupendous fortune, one that you couldn’t possibly spend, then what could you do with it all except give it away.

  10. KMC says:

    I’m just working toward ‘enough.’ You get to decide what that means. That’s the beauty of it. And you can strive for ‘enough’ in lots of different parts of life.

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  12. Jeanne B. says:

    I DO want to be rich, and I WILL be.

    When I was a little girl, and first became aware that there was such a thing as a lottery, I knew right then and there that I would win someday. In my young mind, “someday” was around the age range of 40-45. Well, I’m 44 now, and I’ve been preparing myself mentally and emotionally as well as financially to be ready to handle the responsibility of a sudden multi-million-dollar windfall. I’m not careless with money, nor am I a skinflint. I respect it for what it is—a vehicle by which to manifest all that I desire in life.

    This is me winning the lottery:

    My tastes and lifestyle haven’t changed all that much, because “bling” and pricey cars are not things that interest me. I’ve merely “upgraded” to the next level—moreso mentally than any other way. I’m more comfortable paying for things and more relaxed about my future knowing that by being savvy with my money, I’ll always have that cushion.

    I’m not attracted to drugs, so that’s not a worry. As for what to do when I get bored? There isn’t enough time in this life to do all the things I like to do, so boredom isn’t the problem. Money affords me the free time to actually do those things. I pay people to do the most undesirable chores, which benefits me because I don’t have to do them, and it benefits the people I’ve hired because they have a job.

    I have a short list of material things I’ve acquired, and the rest goes into investments, savings, and donations. I’d been liberated from the workforce for five years prior to winning (that much is true, the liberation part), and I have not “gotten into trouble” because of it (also true). Rather, not having to be strapped to a job eight hours a day has allowed me to pursue my creative interests more profoundly and passionately than ever before.

    I don’t worry about being robbed because it is not in my nature to call attention to my financial status. One just has to be smart about it. I don’t flaunt it in places where it might be dangerous to do so. I am smart, savvy, and avoid complacency. I realize that money does come with a responsibility to it and behave accordingly.

    I am so looking forward to being rich. Dirty, rotten, filthy, stinking rich. Or should I say beautifully, abundantly, wonderfully rich. BRING IT ON.

  13. Colleen says:

    Forget what anyone thinks being rich is better than being poor! I think the mid six digits is the best 500,000 you are still grouded and nobody knows you have money.

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