Why I Want to Be Rich / What Rich Means to Me

There is a growing discontent in this country about the difference in wealth between the super rich, and the rest of us. Forget semi-rich, middle class, and the poor. It’s them against the rest of us. I want to be one of them.

Unlike other personal finance bloggers that write about debt, I write about my middle class life and my dreams of wealth. It’s not like I’d buy Gucci underwear if I was a millionaire… I’d just love to have life free of financial burden. What is the dollar figure on that? $1M isn’t enough. $5M might be enough. $10M in networth would probably be the point where I would feel rich.

I’d spend some of it on myself, sure, but if I were rich…

  • I’d love to buy my friends exciting, meaningful presents. Like the time I bought my friend a dishwasher for her kitchen that she couldn’t afford.
  • To help friends out of debt, especially the ones who are in educational debt because they weren’t as fortunate as me.
  • I’d take my friends on vacation to some beautiful resort, and make memories worth more than the cost of the trip.
  • I’d donate to charities I believe in.
  • I’d start an anti-bullying organization
  • I’d invest in my art, I’d go to school for painting, I wouldn’t waste away my years in art school worried about what is going to happen after I graduate.
  • I’d have a family — maybe three kids — and I’d raise them in an upper middle class community. I wouldn’t spoil them, but they’d be able to have the same middle class luxuries that I grew up with — classes and clubs, occasional vacations, the ability to explore their passions.
  • I’d pay my parents back for my undergraduate tuition
  • I’d buy my parents a special trip to Europe that my dad could take given his poor medical condition, and difficultly walking
  • I’d buy a large vacation home where I could have my family members come yearly to see each other.
  • I’d start my own company (prob need more than $10M for that!)
  • I would probably end up giving most of it away when I die, but I’d make sure that I could give to the people who deserve it while I’m alive.

If I were rich, I wouldn’t want anyone to know. But I’d be less afraid of what the future holds. I wouldn’t ask myself whether I should have kids because of my bipolar disorder, afraid that I’d lose a job and not have enough money to keep a house or maintain a reasonable lifestyle. I’ve always dreamt of being wealthy. I feel like, in a way, I have many of the tools to get there. I clearly need to start my own company, to find the right ADD medication to help me focus, to find the right psychologist to get me out of my head for long enough to succeed.

Life is short. You can be happy on a $30k paycheck and you can be happy on a $1M paycheck. I want freedom. Financial freedom. Every year is another lottery ticket. Every year is another chance. But I’m running out of chances. Sure, I’m still young… gah, I’ll be 28 next month… it just feels like I need to find wealth before I turn 30, 31 or 32. That’s when I really have to start making a family, if I’m going to. That’s when I’ll want to be able to work part time and be in my children’s lives. That’s when I run out of this time called youth to win, and win big. If it wealth were so far out of reach, that would be one thing, but somehow I’ve managed to put myself on a path where it’s possible. There are still a lot of unknowns. Still a lot of needing to focus my mind to impress, fighting my anxiety to be known, believing in myself, letting go of guilt for privilege, and kicking some major ass.

I don’t even know this person I’ve become. Six years ago I was on the verge of suicide, applying for hundreds of thousands of jobs, unable to get even an entry level position. Then one opportunity after another made its way against the tide of possibility, and each failure opened up a new door with a brighter tunnel to walk through, and somehow I’ve gotten where I am today. Some of it I’ve faked, some of it I deserve, some of it is sheer luck. And any day I could fall. Living with bipolar (II), it feels like everyday I’m running on the edge of a cliff. It’s thrilling, it’s exhilarating the rush of defying gravity, and yet I know one of these days I will trip and fall yet again, and have to climb all the way back up. The trick is to never stop climbing, and better yet, to run fast enough that your feet barely touch the ground, to run so fast you’re practically flying and no one knows can figure out how to stop you, because the moment you look like you’re about to hurl yourself over that cliff, you’ve landed on an even bigger success, and even bigger improbability, and you just keep going.

 

 

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6 comments

  1. Ive never had debt when I graduated from school, but I have had some hiccups in my professional career, so that created some hiccups with my finances. I am very impressed with the progress you have made with your networth. I am almost 30 and nowhere near where you are. I have spent the last couple of years trying to figure out my life. It wasn't until just early last year that I finally found a job that makes decent money, has the potential for career advancement and I actually enjoy it.

    You are quite the inspiration!

  2. Joy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think the biggest lesson for the group of us that make "decent bank" but feel like there's a huge step between where we are now and the next "level" of wealth, is that if we're willing to take risks, seek out additional projects outside of our day jobs, build our own businesses, we can open up new doors to that next level of wealth. If we don't want to take those risks, and like things the way they are, then we will be stuck. There are still ways to "get rich slowly" but I don't think that really is "getting rich." That's "getting stable slowly." You can't accumulate significant wealth slowly. I was leafing through one of the books that was handed out at the PF conference about wealth, and it made some really good points about how the best way to get rich is to make more money, and to make it now. Going to have to write a longer post on that once I actually read the book, but looking at wall street and the way the economy works, trusting compound interest to make you rich is like trusting your conservative parents to accept the occupy wall street movement.

  3. eemusings says:

    I don't blog strictly about money, but when I do, I feel I'm in a no-man's-land middle ground. There are bloggers working their way our of debt, and then there are bloggers more like you, FB, Well Heeled, Financial Samurai etc making decent bank (even if you don't feel it's getting you anywhere). I'm debt-free but do have a partner who objectively is a financial drag, and while I make $50k, I'm unlikely to realistically ever make significantly more than that unless I change industries, which is not something that appeals to me in the slightest.

    1. hereverycentcounts ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      going through some old comments. I totally see your point here. It’s hard when you’re making $50k with a partner who is a financial drag. I think there’s a great place for your blog and bloggers like you because there needs to be more diversity in the pf community. I’m making decent money now, but it’s not really that much for my area when a 1br apartment in the city would be $3000 a month (I just have roommates, live in the suburbs, and have $650 rent by choice.) I may not have a job where I make this much tomorrow or any day in the future. So I think depending on your situation you can make progress, but it’s definitely more challenging on a lower income. It requires a lot more sacrifices, or working two jobs / freelancing probably.

  4. Leigh says:

    I agree with you – I feel out of place blogging about my middle class life when most people are blogging about their debt. I've never had debt (minus a small auto loan that I took out to build credit history and I auto-paid out of a targeted savings account).

    I'm not bipolar, but I get hit by depression and anxiety a lot. I worry about how that would affect my hypothetical future children. I also worry about how the crazy hours in the tech industry would affect a family.

    It sounds like you're setting "feeling rich" as a dollar amount of net worth. Are you sure that even if you get to $1 million in assets any time soon, you wouldn't then want more?

    1. Joy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      One of the alarming stats I recently ran into is that most people in this country — regardless of income — wouldn't be able to make their next mortgage payment if they lost their job. That's why, even for those of us who have never had debt, it's important to understand our finances. That's why I blog — I know there aren't a lot of women out there who write about striving for wealth (at Fincon we joked that women's blogs are either coupon/frugal blogs or mommy blogs in the pf space) — and if my writing openly about this stuff helps someone else take control of her finances, then all the better!

      I too worry about the crazy hours in the tech industry. For what it's worth, I don't think I could be working the job I have now when I have a family. I know others at my company do it (mostly men) but I want to be there for my kids. I really hope I can build enough of a name for myself that, even if the get-rich-before-30 thing doesn't pan out, I can still freelance and make enough consulting income at an hourly pay to quickly increase my networth without missing out on my hypothetical children's lives.

      I'm sure if I hit $1M in networth I'll "want more," but that's why I was trying to figure out how much I'd need in order to feel well off enough to not need more. $1M is not enough to feel rich because a decent house (not something extravagant) where I live costs $1M – $1.2M. That's why I figure if I had $10M in the bank, I'd feel financially independent. Surely I could blow through that in no time if I was stupid or delusional, but with $10M in the bank I could have my investments producing enough income to offset any splurges, and the splurges I'd make would never be large enough to kill my bank account. Especially not if I've actually earned the money.

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