Being rich may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of being life on easy street, reaching a certain level of income may actually come with many additional responsibilities. Not being rich, one idly wonders what happens when one begins moving up those income tax brackets. Why might being rich be more stressful?
First of all, consider housing. If you become rich you will feel pressure to buy a larger house and then who’s going to clean it? Beyond a certain size, a house may become too difficult or time-consuming to clean yourself, requiring you to hire help. So, in addition to buying a bigger house, you now have to hire a housekeeper, and maybe even a gardener as well. Now you have the added stresses of having strangers in your house on a regular basis and the knowledge that you are no longer able to comfortably control the entirety of your domain.
Plus, your bigger house may be more of a target for criminals. Now you feel pressure to purchase an expensive home security system. Congratulations, every time you enter your home you must hurriedly punch in a code to avoid sirens and the annoyed arrival of police officers. So, you got rich and bought a bigger house and found out that the bigger property came with a slew of new expenses you didn’t have when you had less money.
Being rich may come with great helpings of social stress. Your new friends have higher expectations of social decorum, forcing you to spend much more time, and experience much more stress, engaging in common social settings. Instead of having casual banter with buddies at a local restaurant, your new status as a wealthy person may require you to spend oodles of extra time dressing up and traveling far to visit more exclusive clubs and venues, taxing your free time. Your new rich friends may only want to socialize in kid-free venues, requiring you to spend big bucks on babysitters, while your old “poor” friends didn’t expect you to shows up sans children.
And what of family pressures? Your new status as a richie may bring relatives out of the woodwork, many of them hoping for financial assistance. If you give in you may not remain wealthy for long, but if you refuse you get branded as an Ebenezer Scrooge and have to deal with all the stress. Becoming the new family patriarch or matriarch by virtue of your new-found money may quickly bring overwhelming stress into your life.
Finally, the old “keeping up with the Joneses curse may eat away at you. When you weren’t wealthy you may have found it acceptable to avoid challenging friends and neighbors for the title of hippest and savviest, but now that you have money you may feel an obligation to compete. You reach that “critical mass” of money and suddenly find yourself comparing every purchase to an item owned by a fellow rich friend or neighbor. You stop being a smart, savvy consumer and become a high-end snob, draining your bank account in the process.
In the end, the stresses of wealth may far counterbalance the benefits. You may actually find yourself spending a greater percentage of your elevated income to meet exorbitant social and family obligations, putting yourself in a worse situation than when you had less income. For example, you go from spending 80 percent of your $50,000 per year income to almost 100 percent of your $250,000 income because of the costs of housekeepers, gardeners, private school tuition, exclusive club memberships, socially-approved high-end clothing and appliances, and loans to friends and family.
So, still want to be rich?