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Why the Rich Don't Feel Rich

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Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Wed May 22, 2013 11:09 pm

There’s just about no tolerance left in America for wealthy people griping about their financial woes. But put down the pitchforks for a moment and consider one possible exception we might all learn something from.



The money-news site The Billfold recently ran an interview with an anonymous physician who earns $570,000 a year and says, “I know that technically I am in the 1%, but I don’t feel rich at all.” He went on to explain how he owns a home worth nearly $1 million, three cars, a couple of investment properties, and a chunk of a profitable healthcare company yet still frets that he doesn’t have enough. “I don’t feel secure,” he said. “Before I had a job, the six-figure mark was a goal for everyone. And now I’ve hit the half-million dollar mark. I don’t know if I’d feel rich if I ever met the seven-figure mark.”

Commenters howled, of course, deriding the discontented doc’s self-indulgence and making many predictable observations about materialism run amok. “It’s emblematic of the insane level of lifestyle creep that allows someone who makes $500k+ a year to feel not rich,” wrote one reader, reflecting the sentiment of many others.

The anonymous doc, whom the site dubbed “Jake Smith,” acknowledged his own materialistic impulses. “There is a palpable pressure to keep up with the Joneses,” he said of the social demands in his affluent community, which is in the suburbs of a sizeable eastern city, according to Logan Sachon of The Billfold. Yet he also showed a degree of restraint, making do, for instance, with a 7-year-old Lexus when many of his neighbors drive brand-new Range Rovers. That doesn’t exactly generate sympathy but it shows more self-awareness than the wealthy — or caricatures of the wealthy — are typically known for.

The lengthy Q&A also reveals a few legitimate concerns about money, whether you have a lot or a little. Here are four reasons to cut some slack to wealthy worriers such as the $570,000 man, assuming he actually exists:

They take risks. “Jake Smith” invested in one business that flopped and lost “maybe a few hundred thousand dollars” in bad investments overall early in his career. Those losses wiped out his cash, he said, and left his family living paycheck to paycheck for a while. Yet he learned from those mistakes instead of retreating into a shell, and had the guts to invest in another business. That might sound easy to do when you read about it, but in reality it’s damn hard to risk your own money on an unproven venture — which is why most people never do. People who take risks earn higher returns for good reason.

They’ve been burned. A lot of wealthy people who earn their fortunes (instead of inheriting them) stumble along the way, and it’s often the ability to bounce back rather than some magic knack for making money that leads to their success. Smith describes feeling “scarred” by earlier setbacks, like many people who have survived difficulties. “There were people depending on me and I felt like I was letting them down,” he says. “I know it’s very easy to squander what you have.” Like Depression survivors who grew up to become misers, Smith might never be fully free from worry, even if he ends up with millions in the bank.

The soaring cost of college scares everybody.
College tuition has been rising at 2 to 4 times the rate of inflation, making education a huge financial burden for many families. Smith has three kids, which could add up to $600,000 in college bills, at a rate of $50,000 per student per year for tuition, room and board. And it’s safe to assume a family in his income bracket won’t quality for financial aid.

Taxes on the rich are probably going higher.
To his credit, Smith doesn’t whine about this, but his taxes went up considerably this year, since he’s above the cutoff for some of the “fiscal cliff” tax hikes meant to hit only the wealthy. Beyond that, the kinds of additional revenue-raising measures getting a serious look in Washington — such as eliminating mortgage-interest deductions for second or third homes and ending some investment tax credits — are designed to snare people exactly like Smith, while exempting most working people.

Rather than attacking Smith’s sense of entitlement, it might be worth reconsidering what it means to be rich in the first place. A lot of wannabe millionaires fantasize about a life in which they never have to worry about money at all. But that may be the very thing that leads to the gaudy behavior we find most appalling about the rich. A healthy dose of worry might help the wealthy remember how the other half lives, and even spend their money more like the 99 percent.

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/why-rich-don-t-feel-rich-200600130.html

I occasionally bring up the idea that people making $250K-$1 million a year aren't exactly rich, this is more proof to my argument.
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S.F. Jude Terror

OMCTO

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Thu May 23, 2013 12:03 am

People making $250K a year have plenty of money. No one is saying they're the fucking Monopoly guy, but on $250k a year, you can easily buy a house in the suburbs, comfortably support a family, not want for anything, and save for retirement.

If you make choices that cause your lifestyle to cost more money, that doesn't make you not rich.

On the other hand, a lot of people don't have that choice at all. They live paycheck to paycheck, are swamped with debt, some people are starving, homeless. So no one wants to hear how tough it is to live on $600k a year.

The problem with this country is that wages have stagnated, inflation is ridiculous, rent is high, gas is high, and debt is out of control, and there are hardly any jobs.

I don't think the doc here is a bad guy and I don't begrudge him the money has, but he's not the issue, and his money isn't the issue. The issue is how shitty the country is becoming, and how there are fewer and fewer people in the upper middle class like him, and the rest of the middle class has pretty much fallen into poverty or near poverty. And the corporations and super rich (not this guy) control the government and all the power, so it's only going to get worse.
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xaraan

Staff Writer

Postby xaraan » Thu May 23, 2013 12:30 am

How is some rich guy whining that he doesn't have enough money support for your idea?

I don't begrudge anyone being rich, we all would love to be there, but it's the class warfare that creates the issue, not just having someone have more money than you.

It takes a certain amount of money to live (depending on your area it varies) and anything above that is a choice, meaning you have extra money and if you want to spend it on extra cars, investments, houses, bigger tv's, etc. that is your right. But it is a choice you are making, not a necessity of living.

But consider this guy Nac, he probably grew up in a decent family in a decent area and at the very least was taken care of until he went off to college. May have taken some college loans if he didn't have parents that could pay for it or didn't get a scholarship) then rolled into a few exciting years as he entered the field and then started making decent money. Sure he worked his way up to the 570K mark, but the guy probably has no idea what he is saying when he talks about risks, money loss, being burned and bills. He doesn't know what the people picking the produce he eats and cleaning his three cars for him go through to take care of their kids while working their asses off. Talk about risks, try living with no healthcare and put your life at risk, not 10% of your portfolio. Talk about being burned, worry about a fridge dying that has half your families food in it that you can't get replaced right now, or your car breaking down that keeps you from getting your next paycheck. It's arguments like what this guy is making that actually hurt the position.

Nobody working paycheck to paycheck, worrying about getting kicked out of their home or losing a car if they miss a payment wants to hear about how hard it is to lose a hundred grand on a business startup (while still being rich after the loss). I could go on, but the point is made I think.

But the bigger issue is the growing gap between the wealthy and the not so wealthy. It's been expanding at huge rate over the last couple decades. CEO's making millions of dollars just in bonuses (even while failing) while bitching about how it will hurt business to have the minimum wage go up.
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guitarsmashley

Regular-Sized Poster

Postby guitarsmashley » Thu May 23, 2013 7:50 am

Poor rich people aren't rich enough to make payments on their lexus or afford to eat sushi three times a week. What shall we do as a nation? What shall we do?
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outsider

Outhouse Drafter

Postby outsider » Thu May 23, 2013 8:05 am

Yeah, shut the fuck up with this whiny bullshit.

If somebody earning $570,000 a year chooses to live on 401k Inflation Way, Crackertown, Georgia, that's on them. Just because they can't buy two more jet skis or have to send their kids to the second-most-expensive private school, they'll somehow manage to have a decent life nonetheless.

Image
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achilles

PЦИKЧ ВЯЁ&#106

Postby achilles » Thu May 23, 2013 8:12 am

I'd love to have that guy's "problems". I think I could deal... :lol:

Though I understand about the "risks" they take. And ex-doctor of mine is now serving a year in the federal slam for Medical fraud in an effort to get even richer... :evil:
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Herald

Regular-Sized Poster

Postby Herald » Thu May 23, 2013 9:04 am

Sorry, Nac, but you simply can't drum up sympathy for a man driving a Lexus, even a 7-year-old one, when there are people driving a 20-year-old, beat-up Camry, that they have to pray will continue to get them to work every day because they can't even afford to replace it with a rental.

As for the risks, on top of what others have already said, the fact that this guy CAN take a risk is in itself a privilege. What about all the poor people who would love to try investing in the stock market, but can't?? What about the people who would like to risk starting a business, but can't possibly expect a bank to loan them the money, because the bank expects you to already have enough financial value in order to take that risk on you?? (Or, as I've heard it phrased, "In order to get a loan from a bank, you must first prove you don't need it." Catch-22s don't come much lovelier than that...)

And if this guy really needs to "keep up with the Joneses", let him leave the rich "Joneses", and relocate to where some middle-class ones live. Maybe then, he'll "feel rich"...
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Jack Burton

biny little tird

Postby Jack Burton » Thu May 23, 2013 9:30 am

The guy has multiple cars, a million dollar home and income properties and he's bitching?

Buddy nobody told you to buy the million dollar house! You could buy a nice home for much less money!

I live in one of the most expensive area in the country and I admit in the affluent suburbs of Boston a million bucks doesn't get you quite the home you think it would but it's still really nice. You don't need to live in Winchester, Newton or Concord(all big $$$ MA towns) just because. Go to a nice middle class town.
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outsider

Outhouse Drafter

Postby outsider » Thu May 23, 2013 9:34 am

Jack Burton wrote:Go to a nice middle class town.
Or go to a low class area and buy a whole damn block of foreclosed houses and build a fence around it, topped with razor wire. You'll be all set for the zombie apocalypse and keep the skeezes out.
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BlueStreak

The Red Stands for Irony

Postby BlueStreak » Thu May 23, 2013 9:46 am

I've seen plenty of people that make significantly more than me and have less money in the bank than I do.

However, poor financial planning by those with income doesn't equal not having enough income to make ends meet.

The Old Doctor

Postby The Old Doctor » Thu May 23, 2013 10:12 am

As a society, you have to know you've made it when you can say you have "poor rich people". After all, if you can contrast your rich that much, you gotta have a hella ton of them. :lol:
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LoganRSA

FROGMAN

Postby LoganRSA » Thu May 23, 2013 11:28 am

"Oh no, two women love me. They're both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet's too small for my fifties AND MY DIAMOND SHOES ARE TOO TIGHT."
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Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Thu May 23, 2013 1:10 pm

Jack Burton wrote:The guy has multiple cars, a million dollar home and income properties and he's bitching?

Buddy nobody told you to buy the million dollar house! You could buy a nice home for much less money!

I live in one of the most expensive area in the country and I admit in the affluent suburbs of Boston a million bucks doesn't get you quite the home you think it would but it's still really nice. You don't need to live in Winchester, Newton or Concord(all big $$$ MA towns) just because. Go to a nice middle class town.



Over heard of the real estate bubble? How many "rich" people found themselves underwater financially when the properties they owned lost their value? Or how many lost a portion of their "wealth" when the stock market tanked?

Comparing a person who makes $500K a year to a Bill Gates or a LeBron James is ridiculous. It doesn't guarantee you're set for life. You can still get hammerer if something catastrophic like a serious illness or medical injury happens in your family, even with good insurance.
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CountD

Undead Member

Postby CountD » Thu May 23, 2013 1:16 pm

As long as you work with integrity, fulfill your obligations and be kind to others, monetary compensation is just a #. You can't take it with you...and even if you pass it on , it can be squandered.

am i siding with Nacireman???!!! gotta check m'self. :shock: :lol: Nope. Just on a tangent.
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Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Thu May 23, 2013 1:17 pm

BlueStreak wrote:I've seen plenty of people that make significantly more than me and have less money in the bank than I do.

However, poor financial planning by those with income doesn't equal not having enough income to make ends meet.


But even with good financial planning, you would have to deal with things like rising costs of living, tuition, higher taxes, etc.

Look, all I'm saying is what level of income that people have considered rich doesn't quite work with the reality of economics.

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