Ever wonder what it’s like to be rich?
You probably think that you’ve got a pretty good idea; you hang out with other rich people, eat caviar, attend the occasional Illuminati meeting, and buy whatever you want. It’s a great way to live—provided, of course, that you ignore all the bad stuff.
In several recent Reddit threads, wealthy people shared some of the downsides of having massive bank accounts. If you’ve ever dreamed about hitting it big, some of these revelations are eye-opening. We edited a few of the best responses for grammar and readability and served them up for you here.
That silver spoon doesn’t always taste so great.
“My parents are really intelligent self-made entrepreneurs,” wrote one Reddit user. “This means they are wealthy, competitive, type-A personalities. As kids, my siblings and I were in a pressure cooker for success.”
That doesn’t sound so bad…until you realize that it basically prevents you from having a childhood.
“Want to join soccer? Make the A team, or you’ve failed. Want to play an instrument? Make first chair in band, or you failed. We were constantly compared against each other and told who’s better at what.”
“I love my parents because that environment gave me drive in my adult life, but I resent them because I watched it do the opposite to my sister. The treatment that drives me has incapacitated her.”
“She’s educated and could do any number of jobs incredibly well, but she has no confidence to go and get her own job and try. Rather than let her earn her confidence, my parents tried to give it to her, complete with an ‘Executive Vice President’ title and six-figure salary straight out of university.”
“But the job consisted of being no more than a personal assistant to my mom and dad—my sister arranges the cleaner, sets up their travel, etc. 10 years after graduating uni, she’s got no more confidence, but a lot more entitlement. She even lives in the same condo as them because she can’t make decisions independently. In my mind, they have emotionally abused her and made her into a non-functioning adult.”
Good luck making real friends.
“People only pretend to like you—because they want your money,” Hi_im_nena wrote. “It’s extremely rare to find someone who actually likes you for being yourself. It’s almost impossible to have a close relationship with anyone. I just want, like, a best friend who I can mess around with and tell them everything, someone I like spending time with. It’s really depressing.”
That experience goes both ways.
“In my early 20s, I was friends with an extremely rich dude (it was his dad’s money, but he got all he wanted),” wrote Sumpm. “He was a nice guy, fun to hang out with, and actually a decent person to the core.”
“But then the people who use rich people came around. They pretty much crowded me out, and we stopped hanging out. Last I knew, his only ‘friends’ were other rich people who surround themselves with nothing but rich people. Those of us who never cared about his money kind of just gave up on him.”
“You never really know if your relationships are genuine or if it’s because people want something from you,” wrote another Reddit user. “I met my wife and my close friends before I made a lot of money, so I’m not worried about them, but I do stay guarded about almost everyone else.”
“I never really knew why rich people hung out with other rich people—what difference does money make, right? Well, it kind of does. I realize it’s because you get a better sense of where you stand with people that don’t want anything from you.”
“I might be way too cynical, but I buy cheap clothes and hide the wealth because I’m afraid of how new people will change around me if they find out.”
People immediately start treating you differently.
“It’s more annoying when your parents are rich,” wrote Oko20605. “And the kids are worse off because they apparently ‘treat everyone as being below them.’ I experience this, and have friends that do, too.”
“Sure, I can basically have whatever I want, but that doesn’t mean I get it. It hurts when you’re basically left out of social circles because of the family you were born into.” The problem: People who aren’t rich don’t know what it’s like—but they think they’ve got a fairly good idea.
“People act like you can spend money all the time,” wrote Mynameisblurryface. “Just because I’m wealthy doesn’t mean I like to waste my money on fast food or useless s*** I don’t need.”
“I come from a relatively upper-middle-class family (doctor and professor parents), and I’d say the worst part is that a lot of people have assumptions about your life,” explained Squirrel_bro. “I had a very dysfunctional childhood with symptoms of physical and emotional neglect from as early as I can remember, but because I had a ‘posh’ accent and my parents were wealthy, nobody picked up on it. Even my primary school teachers made jokes about how we were just a ‘quirky’ family.”
“Just because a child is rich and their parents are polite and friendly, that doesn’t mean they’re looked after or have a good home life.”
Even if you came from humble beginnings, people have trouble seeing you for who you are.
“I’m a non-rich dude that became a rich dude,” wrote Throwaway12235867576 (posting on a temporary account created for this single post). “To be honest, the changes in your old friendships are the worst. I am lucky enough to have had a very lucrative career in a field I love, and I have become markedly more wealthy than my circumstances growing up. I grew up with a very close-knit group of friends who are like family—there are around 10 of us—who remained in the same socioeconomic class after university [while I became wealthy].”
“As my income grew, naturally my life changed; I moved to a fancier suburb closer to work, I started to buy nice things, I began travelling for work, etc. I started to notice some of my oldest friends acting differently toward me.”
“I’m not a show-off or ostentatious with my money, but I do buy things that none of my friends can afford (nice watches, furniture, art, etc). I feel they are uncomfortable when they are around my place, though they never say anything snarky. Sometimes their wives will make comments like, ‘Wow, you must be doing really well,’ or ask me how much a painting cost, and my friends become visibly uncomfortable. It just makes everything awkward.”
“They don’t expect me to pay for things; it’s almost the opposite. I sometimes try to treat my friends, and I feel it makes them uncomfortable. For instance, if a band we loved growing up are in town and we want to go. I will offer to get us all the best (and more expensive) tickets. Now, I know they would all love to experience that, but they seem uneasy accepting the gift. I don’t want any recognition or anything in return for it; the money is seriously no big deal for me. I just want to have an awesome night out with my mates.”
“Most of the time, they will accept and then insist on giving me the money after the fact, and it makes me feel like a [jerk] because I know they wouldn’t have bought tickets that expensive in the first place. Another example: When I give over-the-top gifts at weddings and other events, I just want to give my friends the best gift I can afford—something I know they would love—but I feel it makes them uncomfortable that they can’t reciprocate.”
“My mates still love me, and I love them. They even regularly say they are proud of me, but I feel there is this weird void between us now that our lifestyles are so different. I’ve become very self-conscious of my wealth around my old friends, and most of the awkwardness is probably due to my own insecurity. I don’t want my friends to think money has changed me. It sucks, man.”
Being rich doesn’t always mean being spoiled.
“I have reasonably well-off parents; big house in a nice town, that sort of thing,” wrote Hobonation256. “However, my brother and I were always taught humility. At 13, I had a job at a restaurant washing dishes, and I had to save for my first car, and yet people whose parents bought them their first cars and never worked still thought I was more spoiled because we had a bigger house.”
“The perception that you don’t have to work for anything is the most infuriating thing. Yes, if I were in a tight situation, my parents would help me, and others may not have that luxury. But I have never once in my 28 years had to ask for any financial help from them, and I don’t intend to ask for as long as I can help it.”
“People don’t think of you as a real person anymore,” wrote Joeomar. “I grew up in a lower-middle-class family, worked in my dad’s store and delivered newspapers. I graduated from college deep in debt, I’ve been evicted from apartments for late rent, I’ve been chased by debt collectors, and I spent one entire summer riding a motorcycle to work—sometimes in thunderstorms—because my car’s engine block cracked and I couldn’t afford a new one. I saved a lot on gas, though.”
“However, I was an outstanding computer programmer, and I was invited to join a startup company that eventually went public. I was able to retire at a very early age. I’m still pretty much the same person, but now I’m classified as ‘wealthy,’ so I’m now a ‘thing.’ I lost many of my old friends who can’t think of me as an actual ordinary person.”
“The other problem with being a ‘thing’ instead of a person is that I’m also a target. It’s an aspect of being wealthy known as the ‘Rich Man’s Tax.’ Basically, it’s considered praiseworthy to cheat rich people out of their money.”
“If I need a plumber to come fix something, he’ll look at my house and try and charge me triple the rate. And many people reading this will say, ‘Good for him, stick it to the wealthy bastards.’”
That “rich tax” might not bankrupt you, but it can be frustrating.
“Sometimes other people feel like they’re entitled to my money,” wrote Meowsaysthecow. “It’s kind of hard to explain.”
“For example, I’m supposed to pay for everyone else, and if I don’t, then its a problem. All shop owners sell me everything way overpriced. If I try to bargain, I get a death stare, and if they’re rude enough, they will actually say that I’m rich, so it won’t matter to me if I pay a bit more. That’s not how it works!”
“I made a lot of money when I was really young,” wrote Philmecrackin. “I lost my business and went broke, started another, and made more money. The worst, by far, is losing very close friends because they’re jealous of your financial success. They still like you—they don’t hate you, they just feel like life screwed them somehow, so they don’t want to be around you. I’m the same person they’ve known for years.”
“The ones that stick around change their attitude towards you, which is frustrating. They love to see anything go wrong for you and try to outdo you in other areas of your life.”
If you’re rich and single—well, good luck.
“A girl I dated decided I couldn’t be making money legally, so she stopped talking to me. I’ve had other girls accuse me of being a drug dealer many times. My ex told me I was ‘entitled’ and needed to experience what being poor was like—even though I’d lost my first business and went completely broke.”
Everyone has problems—even the ridiculously wealthy.
“I come from a wealthy family,” wrote TheUnfindable. “We’re not at the point where people know our names, but we’re at the point where if we drop the company name in most European countries, people get worked up.”
“The worst part of it is that everyone thinks your life is wonderful. To the rest of the world, your life must be perfect because you’re rich. Some of the time, that’s true. I’ve gone to the best schools, the best doctors, best restaurants, best vacation spots—I won’t deny that in many ways, I’ve had a blessed life.”
“However, my dad worked his a** off. I spent most of high school living alone in an apartment off a trust fund because he was never home. Before him and my mom split, I endured years of emotional and sometimes physical abuse from her. I grew up with epilepsy and horrible acne (the kids called me ‘Scrambled Egg Face’).”
“Life is life. Mine might be easier in some ways, but it has absolutely been harder in others. Being rich, no one gives a second thought to the idea that life might not have been totally perfect for me.”
Money can’t buy happiness (although it can buy a motor scooter).
“The biggest problem is the unhappiness,” wrote Jamescaveman. “With wealth comes problems within families; useless fights over useless things, stress, etc. Being rich doesn’t bring a family together, it sort of separates it. Yeah, it’s cool to have nice things, but at what cost? Mo’ money, mo’ problems.”
“Pain is pain,” explained Foxsweater. “Money alleviates some pains, but not others. It can’t undo death or serious trauma.”
“It’s incredibly alienating to have your pain denied because others can’t empathize with you. I think that cuts both ways; it affects the poor who aren’t able to make their pain understood, because the wealthy aren’t confronted with the same problems. It affects the rich, who can’t make it understood that money doesn’t make you invulnerable—as much as it seems it might.”
“We are all human. Some have tougher lives than others. Money is one factor, but not the only factor.”
Eventually, you might stop telling people that you’re rich.
“It makes me feel isolated,” wrote Princethor. “My achievements are scrutinized to the core. I deleted social media for this very reason. I dread getting phone calls from distant family members or friends. They will ignore you for months, befriend you for about a week, and give you a sob story about why they need money.”
“It’s almost always the same bulls*** when it comes to being paid back. I shouldn’t worry about money if I’m well off, or I’m an a****** for rushing someone in their time of need. This has caused me to be emotionally and physically distant from most family members.”
“I literally don’t tell anyone what I do for a living anymore. When they ask, I say I work at McDonald’s.”
“People expect you to pay for everything, and they will invariably order the most expensive things,” wrote JonnyBravoII. “I don’t mind paying at all—and I know how bad this sounds—but to me, the cost is irrelevant. But when people make no attempt to pay, it’s very disheartening. I will rarely meet up again with someone who does that.”
“When I meet someone who could be a potential friend, I am vague about where I live, lifestyle, etc., because I want to let the friendship grow without involving money. Eventually, the person will figure out my situation. The best people are the ones who don’t change as a result, but some people simply get weird around you, and it can be uncomfortable. Rich people often hang out with other rich people simply because it’s less complicated, not because they may like the person a lot.”