Most people think it’s nice to be rich because you can buy whatever you want and eat whatever you want. Want to eat a thawed mammoth? It can be arranged. Want to fly around in a working jet pack or jetski in Shaq’s backyard? That’s possible, too. Want the city to shut down an entire interstate for you and your friends to drive 200 mph on public roads? Done.
But that isn’t really what’s so great about being rich. I could eat a $2 meal in Bangkok, and it would be delicious. There’s no need to eat those $400 meals at Michelin-starred restaurants. All the other activities I mentioned are fun, but I can have a lot of fun just playing video games with my friends all night long while eating NYC pizza. There’s really no need to spend a lot of money to have a good time.
Fly first class? No need. When I fly alone, I just book an economy class ticket in the center of a row of three seats. Usually this means that in a not so full flight, nobody will want to sit next to you when they can sit somewhere else. If it’s a couple, they wouldn’t want to be separated. When checking in, you can try to change your seat and can tell from there where the empty seats are. Now that you have the whole row to yourself, you can lift up the armrests and basically have a giant couch that is wider than what first class and business class gets.
As for driving around in a Lamborghini every day? It gets old after a while. Can’t even pick your nose in the car because people keep staring at you. There’s also that myth that you get girls with the car. I find the opposite to be true. First of all, it’s mostly men who come up to you and talk to you because of the car. Secondly, I’ve been told by girls that the car made them not want to talk to me at first because they just immediately assume that anyone who drives a Lamborghini is a douche. Thirdly, you attract a lot of attention from gold diggers. If you’re into those girls, then yeah, it’s a great car to have. But not me.
So what’s so great about being rich? Three things. One is freedom. No more alarm clocks. No more having to be somewhere at some time. Every day feels like a day off. I get to travel the world whenever I feel like it. Last month, I booked a last minute flight to go to another state across the country for a weekend, because a long time friend there needed someone to hang out with after being dumped by her girlfriend.
The second thing is having the ability to help others in a significant way. It sucks to feel like your hands are tied and you can’t help others. That’s how I used to feel when I saw people struggling financially and I didn’t have the money yet to do something about it. Nowadays I have funded other people’s kids’ college funds, tipped people much more than what I was paying for, custom built an Iron Man suit to cheer up kids at hospitals, helped get clean water to villages that before didn’t have access to it, and etc. It feels great to be able to help, especially when I can do it anonymously and just walk away. I learned that the anonymous part is important, because once people find out that you’re generous, all sorts of people will come to you asking you for your money, time, and blood.
The third thing is the ability to save time without feeling guilty about it… Well, slightly less guilty. Since money is abundant for me, time has become my most valued resource, because time is one of the only things in my life that can’t be replaced. So if there’s a chance for me to save time by spending money, I will. For example, I have Global Entry and a APEC business travel card. This lets me have much shorter TSA and immigration/visa lines. It’s not even that expensive to get these things. But back when I was poorer, I would be willing to wait to save money. I would even go out of my way to take the free bridges in NYC because I didn’t want to pay the $8 tolls for the Midtown Tunnel. That’s because I was raised by my parents to save money. So I felt guilty when I was spending money on myself. To this day, I still do sometimes and only buy things when they’re on sale. But nowadays, I wouldn’t mind spending some money if it saves me time.
Also when it comes to spending money on others, I just splurge. Spending money on myself doesn’t always make me that much happier. But I noticed that when I spend the money on others, they feel very very happy. And seeing them smile makes me smile, too. So I’m way more willing to open my wallets when it comes to buying things for others.
So to sum up my experience being rich, it’s more about not having to spend time doing things you don’t want to do rather than about being able to buy things that most other people can’t.
I have trouble writing things like these in public because it can be interpreted as a rich dude being ungrateful for the luxurious lifestyle he has. But it’s more about how I became more grateful for the less luxurious lifestyle that I had all along. I wouldn’t feel so bad if I lived a middle class lifestyle again, and it’s exactly what I do half the year anyway. I move back into my modest house in the block where I grew up in every summer, and my happiness level remains unchanged compared to if I were to go back to my much much bigger house down in Florida. After all, even in my bigger house, I spend most of my time in only three rooms of that house anyway. There’s really not much need to own a big house.