burden of wealth


If you ask most people their top 5 wishes I am almost certain that 99% of people would have “I want to win the lottery” or something similar in there, something that would have them end up extremely wealthy.

Having read around the subject of what makes us happy and also the many car crash stories of people who’ve won the lottery, I’m pretty certain that I’d never want to become so extremely wealthy overnight. On top of that, there seems to be many issues with people who inherit wealth.

So maybe the link here is receiving money, for whatever reason, that we didn’t really “earn”?

So, if I work my way up and earn my extreme wealth, things will be rosy will they? I’m not so sure. There are also plenty of stories of people who have (on a technical level at least) “earned” their wealth, and it has messed things up royally for them as well.

OK, you say, they are the sort of people who would have messed things up anyway and the money just helped them get there faster. You’d be a different story, right? I’m sure most of us on the FI scene

Either way, here are some examples of how your extreme wealth might be more of a burden you than a blessing.

Keeping up the family estate

A while ago I watched a short series about the estate at Longleat (that’s the picture, above), where they also have a safari park. It seems like a very stressful job keeping all of that inherited property and other wealth in check! To help stop haemorrhaging money, they’ve had to open up their private living quarters to guided tours so they don’t have to pay tax on the expensive antiques contained within. Even just the size of the estate means it is a general ballache to keep on top of everything, and they have to employ hundreds of staff just to keep on top of things. Fair enough you might not have to run a safari park with your inheritance but there would no doubt be some sort of expected upkeep of the family estate along with all the complexities and stresses involved.

In a way I admire Lord Bath’s son for trying to honour the family tradition and preserve the history there, and certainly for keeping the safari park going (which is definitely worth a visit if you are ever down that way!), but surely you can’t call this the good life facilitated by wealth, which is what most of us on here are chasing? No sir, I am very glad I wasn’t born into that kind of wealth.


Being a spoilt rich kid

In many ways Lord Bath Jr is quite lucky, as your life as a “rich kid” could get FUBAR before you even get anywhere near the inheritance stage.

You don’t have to search far on the internet to hear about super rich kids acting very dysfunctional. It seems it is very easy for rich kids to grow up with no connection with the real value of money, and become, let’s be honest, undeserving little shitehawks and generally horrible, horrible human beings. Check out this instagram feed for some awesome examples of top class wankers in action showing off how much better they are than the rest of us cos of their awesome stuff they totally didn’t earn 1.

The flip side of this is they become clinically depressed:

They show disturbingly high rates of substance use, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, cheating, and stealing

The Problem With Rich Kids

There are many obvious issues with why rich kids might go delinquent or get depressed but the obvious one is living in the shadow of their uber successful parents must actually be quite a burden. Maybe some of them actually feel undeserving of their untapped wealth? You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

Finally, reading the hilarious yet excruciatingly annoying examples of spoilt kids here and you quickly realise that some of these aren’t even from what I’d call the super rich, they are probably just moderately wealthy parents who have not learnt the word “No” when it comes to little Tarquin or Tamara.

In sum… Be careful what you wish for your kids, folks.


Losing all your normal friends

It is very likely that if you become extremely wealthy and your friends do not then you will gradually lose touch with them. They will either resent you, try to extract money from you, or you will try to give them money and things will get awkward.


Having to hang out with people who are richer than you

Once your normal friends desert you, you are going to need some new ones to hang out with. Guess what… they will likely also be super rich, and some of them considerably richer than you are! Take this comment from SexHealthMoneyDeath:

Jim McG: “My friend, a fund manager, said he was so sick of going out with guys worth (say) four hundred million and all they would obsess about was the absolute idiot they knew who was worth four hundred and fifty million. Either that, or they were so scared of losing their four hundred million they were making themselves ill.”

Plus there is the fact that the large majority of other rich people are dicks 2


Or you end up with no friends at all

Another cautionary tale of someone who won the lottery and ended up more lonely than ever.

Not only did the ladies husband resent her and they ended up divorcing, but friends:

“may not want to adapt to some of the changes created by sudden wealth”, and will push away, adding to the loneliness.

This is probably my biggest fear of becoming wealthy overnight or even over the years whilst chasing FI if the information leaked out. Would people treat me differently if they knew I had £500,000 in the bank (for example)? I hope not but you never know who your real friends are until it happens, and even then you might be wrong. Which brings us onto…


Fighting off the leaches

There will be plenty of people being nice to you with your new found moolah, wanting a slice of the action. How can you be sure which ones are being genuine? I’d say the majority of them will not be! The worst thing is you could end up cutting off people who are genuine friends, you could get it all wrong. Arghhh! This is sending me under just thinking about it! Burn that lottery ticket now! 🙂


Becoming a selfish prick

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that when people become financially untouchable they start to think that they owe the world nothing. They quickly forget, even if they are “self made”, that they are already standing on the shoulders of giants. Not only of all of the people in the world that have build up civilisation up to this point, all of our social organisations, governments, and physical infrastructure, but on top of the environment itself, of mother nature who has provided the materials to make the widgets or create the thing that they have made their money out of.

The reason behind this is the self-inflated opinion of themselves combined with the fact that they can buy their way out of any trouble now they are rich. They don’t have to rely on anyone else and so not only are their close social ties far more shallow, but they see other people in general as a bunch of undeserving scumbags.

“Why is that African village starving and why do they want my money? Can’t they do what I did and work their way out of trouble?” – Is what they might say. Probably. Pricks!


You lose your edge

I found a great post on The Motley Fool which suggests that being too comfortable means it is very easy to lose focus. Maybe you will just end up spending your days in your mansion’s man-cave, playing pool and arcade games and drinking beer? While this sounds fun for a while it is certainly not going to provide long term life happiness. As the article says, putting yourself deliberately into a tight spot and giving yourself some stress will force you to fire on all cylinders. The obvious thing to do here if you are extremely wealthy is start up some new and risky business ventures, which is great if you are the next Elon Musk, but most of us are certainly not 🙂


Having to attend posh/snooty venues

I can’t stand going to posh places, they make me feel awkward. Either the staff are ridiculously over the top which is obviously nice in itself, but I’m certain I’ve got to the age of 35 and managed to hang my own coat up, and tuck my own chair in at the dinner table. Likewise washing my hands in the toilets without assistance. Awwww-kwwwward.

Alternative you will find the staff or other customers looking down their beak at you, probably thinking that you are not as wealthy as them and therefore do not deserve to be there. Obviously they were spot on with their assessment with my current experiences up till now, but if I’d won the lottery I’m sure the same thing would happen, because, well how would they know?


Having to buy loads of shit to fill up your massive mansion

I don’t really enjoy the process of shopping and acquiring stuff all that much and having to fill a mansion or even large house would be tedious (although I’m sure Mrs T would give it a good go 😉 )

The thought of all that junk just sitting there not even being used for 99% of it’s existence would make me sad!

Also having to insure all the crap you’d end up buying would probably cost an arm and a leg and give me a heart attack (I hate paying for insurance!)



Final thoughts

Of course maybe none of this would happen to you or me if we won the lottery. I always think I wouldn’t change at all and would invest a lot, give loads away to charity, and start up some exciting business ventures to improve the world, but until it happens we just don’t know how it would affect us, and we certainly can’t control how other people in our lives react to our new found wealth.

Spike Milligan famously said “All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.” but in terms of getting rich overnight, I’m almost certain I’d not actually want that chance.
What about you, dear reader? I am almost certain most people are going to disagree with me on this but really interested to find out what you think!?


P.s. Further reading from the brilliant as always Monevator


  1. Hey, I’m not bitter, honest 🙂
  2. Massive sweeping statement alert 🙂