Time>well-being>money>other thingsI’ve become friends a with few very wealthy individuals in the past two years based on my occupation. I’m not a rich person at all, so how they made their money was of interest to me.
People like to put a lot of emphasis on wealth and success and I’m writing today to talk about two individuals and how they compare and contrast to people outside that 1% (and to me, someone just around that 15%).
The first one is…Peter (names changed to protect these individuals).
Peter is the the CEO of not one, but two companies. He went to business school and didn’t have a dollar to his name when he started his career in finance. He had a passion with for real estate development and opened a chain of restaurants with a good friend. He was able to get investors through his finance job and the rest is history.
The pros: Beautiful home, respected individual, very philanthropic, basically set for life. Peter treats everyone the same regardless of wealth.
The cons: So many people come to him for handouts, worked too hard over the past couple of years that he had to step down and let someone else take the reigns on one of his companies to avoid burnout and save the company, involved in a lawsuit with another business, doesn’t bat 100% with all of his business and while none of them have failed, a recession nearly tore down his empire. He also lost out on a piece of property that was too expensive…his bid was not high enough…and if he did get it, it was a major win for his company but he lost out. He’s still very upset about this…and he knows people are richer than he is and and wield more power in the community.
The second one is….Pam (not her real name).
Pam is the CEO of a Concrete business that she started with her husband who came from a lot of money. Pam married into wealth, but she did go to medical school and did work hard in her youth.
The pros: Treats everyone the same and is also set for life. Takes long vacations to warmer climates during the winter.
The cons: While nobody really asks her for handouts, Pam is not very charitable at all with her money and is extremely stingy. She doesn’t take risks that are necessary for growth. Has also ran into legal problems with one of her side businesses and was involved in a lengthly court battle. Also had a drainage issue at one of her properties that proved to be catastrophic and expensive to repair. Has a son with serious health issues and a criminal record.
People like to think these people have it really easy and that it must be really nice to be set for life, etc, but the reality here is that they still are very normal people who just happen to have successful ventures. In many ways, their lives are difficult as anyone else’s.
They still get up everyday and have feelings of self doubt and like they’ve failed in someway. Another thing to mention is that these two are not in their 20’s, they are both 60 years and older. If you are thinking they are off jet skiing in Ibiza, you are mistaken. They are usually at home or in the office planning working to keep their businesses alive. You'd be surprised on how many millionaires have a similar life of working like a dog with not a lot of genuine satisfaction.
I hit age 40 this past year and in my early 30’s all I could think about was how much money I wanted to make. Once I hit my financial goal, it was very anti-climatic. In fact, lots of sacrifices needed to be made to get there and I look back at myself a decade ago and I’m envious about the emotional state I was at and how I had more time to do the things I wanted to do. I was more spirited by a good margin, skinnier and healthier, and carefree.
Money doesn’t magically repair those things for you, it just makes you work harder to keep it and lose parts of yourself in the process.
I think we need to think more about balance and glamorizing wealth. I’m curious to hear other’s thoughts.