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How rich is rich?

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Charlie

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Interesting...

When I think of rich people I think of mansions and butlers and insufferable accents.

I don't even want to be rich I don't think, just fairly well off. Being sort of middle class and owning a decent sized house, and having enough money to only have trivial money problems, and having enough money to be able to buy the quality free range chicken.
Which is pretty much my parents situation.

I'm sure why people have such a burning desire to become rich. I don't know what I would do if I had $5million-$100million a year. A large amount of that money would be wasted.
I guess money = power, but meh.
 

avery

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being rich isn't about how much money you make, it's about how much of it you waste on stupid expensive watches, flashy cars, yacht club membership, plastic surgery, extramarital fuckbuddies, lawn care, ultra-ritzy hair salons, pedicures, and other idiotic status symbols.

basically, if you want everyone to KNOW you're rich, you're already nine tenths of the way there even if you don't have two coins to rub together.
 

Target

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In my onest opinion, those days being rich means having money to buy what isn't strickly essential to your life.
If a person cannot even buy food, have a place where to rest and find heat, then is poor.
once those basic needs are satisfied and you have money left, you can consider yourself rich.

You see, the concept of "rich" is relative, you can compare somebody to somebody else and say "he's richer than him" or simply compare the ammount of money you have to the ammount you need.
 

Chillhouse

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All of us in western society is rich. There's people around the world who survive on 1 US dollar a day. Even if you're the most destitute person living in the US, you're still better off than many people.

Stephanie, 27, a newcomer to the Women in Red who lives in Chicago, has a combined income with her husband of about $69,000. Like Beth, she doesn't want to be rich, but comfortable. She estimates that amount would be about $180,000 a year, almost triple her current income
$180 000 a year just to be "comfortable?" What does comfortable mean? A big screen TV in every room? Lots of stuff? Nice cars? Count me out then. I'd be happy with a one room apartment, the basic necessities, and no television.

"That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time."
-george carlin
 

Gil

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being rich isn't about how much money you make, it's about how much of it you waste on stupid expensive watches, flashy cars, yacht club membership, plastic surgery, extramarital fuckbuddies, lawn care, ultra-ritzy hair salons, pedicures, and other idiotic status symbols.

basically, if you want everyone to KNOW you're rich, you're already nine tenths of the way there even if you don't have two coins to rub together.
Living in an area that's officially considered as "highly affluent", I can say that this is definitely the case.
 

Goose

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Rich is relative to who your neighbors are. ;)

Everyone in America is rich. The average wage in America- $60,000 a year?- is like x10 higher than the average wage in almost any other non-European country.

However, if some man in a hut in Africa has 5 leopard skins and another only has 2 leopard skins, maybe the first guy is rich. Perhaps he's considered loaded. While by our standards, we'd be like.. WTF?
 

diaperedteenager

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with $100 million dollars, I would love to have a scaled down size home to model a European Monarch's palace. I just want that much money, mainly to be able to do what I want when ever I want. I want to open up my bills and laugh at them and just pay them the second I get them.
 

Goose

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with $100 million dollars, I would love to have a scaled down size home to model a European Monarch's palace. I just want that much money, mainly to be able to do what I want when ever I want. I want to open up my bills and laugh at them and just pay them the second I get them.
Of course, you're talking about wants, not needs. But when is enough enough? You hear about rockstars who make millions of dollars, and then end up going bankrupt because they don't know how to manage their money. And then theirs teachers who live their entire lives on a meager salary with any credit problems or anything because they can manage their money. Rich doesn't have a dollar amount. There's no such thing as "too rich" or "too well off", since everyone always wants more.

Ya know, I open my bills and laugh 'em off and pay them the second I get them. I think I made about $2000 last year. But since I spend hardly anything, paying bills for me is easy.

Of course, I don't want or need a lot either.
 
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Rich is definitely relative. Were someone to give me $1,000,000 I would retire and live off the interest I could make on it.
 

starshine

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I consider myself rich. I have plenty of food, a roof over my head, the ability to learn, the means to do so, friends, family, and a whole lot of extra stuff.

Money doesn't make you happy. It's been said time and time again.... it just makes things easier.
 
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being rich isn't about how much money you make, it's about how much of it you waste on stupid expensive watches, flashy cars, yacht club membership, plastic surgery, extramarital fuckbuddies, lawn care, ultra-ritzy hair salons, pedicures, and other idiotic status symbols.

basically, if you want everyone to KNOW you're rich, you're already nine tenths of the way there even if you don't have two coins to rub together.
Funny, my thinking on this goes the other way, similar to my thoughts on power.

Being rich is having the power and freedom to do these things. Being responsibly rich is living sensibly in the face of this power.

I'd say that you're rich if you can do your own thing. Leave work, travel the world, whatever you like. You don't need money after you die, so ideally you'd spend your last bit of gold as you were dying.

This is what I've told my parents to do: I don't want to see their money used for anything other than their leisure, comfort, and enjoyment. They've earned it through a lifetime of under-spending and should now travel the world and do what they wish, IMO. So I suppose my parents are rich, but with the trappings of upper-upper-upper middle-class life; they live well, but not extravagantly. And they've earned that living and came from early married life of fighting the rats for food in their cupboard (and having the upstairs neighbor's shower come crashing down into theirs from rot one day).

Oh, sure, the one time I don't read a thread through entirely before posting and I see this:
I consider myself rich. I have plenty of food, a roof over my head, the ability to learn, the means to do so, friends, family, and a whole lot of extra stuff.

Money doesn't make you happy. It's been said time and time again.... it just makes things easier.
Abby FTW, methinks.
 

Pojo

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I'd love to be rich. Money money money. Money does buy happiness. To quote the comedian Daniel Tosh "Money buys happiness. It buys a Wave Runner. Try to frown on a Wave Runner."

I consider myself rich. I have plenty of food, a roof over my head, the ability to learn, the means to do so, friends, family, and a whole lot of extra stuff.

Money doesn't make you happy. It's been said time and time again.... it just makes things easier.
How cliche
 
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Rich is relative to who your neighbors are. ;)

Everyone in America is rich. The average wage in America- $60,000 a year?- is like x10 higher than the average wage in almost any other non-European country.
Not really true. The median household income in the US is around 55k, while the average individual income is around 45. A large amount of europe actually makes a decent bit more than us on average given cost of living. We pay our low level workers shit.
 
A

ani

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I consider myself rich. I have plenty of food, a roof over my head, the ability to learn, the means to do so, friends, family, and a whole lot of extra stuff.

Money doesn't make you happy. It's been said time and time again.... it just makes things easier.
The perplexing issue with money as a necessity. If money contributes to happiness by eliminating stress regarding essentials like food and shelter then should it be classified as a pre-requisite? Perhaps. If this were Venn'd out the circle for happiness and the circle for wealth would overlap but neither would be all inclusive of the other. Meaning? Wealth is not a requisite for happiness but certainly the implication, appropriately so, is that it can be a strong enabler of happiness. Yet another example of how an issue is far from finite. I concur with your assertion Abby:)
 
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Wealth is not a requisite for happiness but certainly the implication, appropriately so, is that it can be a strong enabler of happiness. Yet another example of how an issue is far from finite. I concur with your assertion Abby:)
The issue with wealth, statistically, is the work needed to acquire it detracts from happiness.

The vast majority of us will never inherit large amounts of wealth or have a job that pays us hundreds of thousands let alone millions. Those things tend to be a result of pre existing wealth, IE rich family.

Statistically moving from making ok to even decent money up towards the hundreds of thousands is not likely to happen. Upwards mobility in the US is mostly a myth. The average person will stay within a relative range based on our parents income. To move far outside of it requires a massive amount of work with a high possibility of no return, which is why most statistics for happiness peg people in a middle income to be the happiest overall (families making 60-70k, not individuals). The thing is we will always say we want more money, and that more money would make us happier because it is true. The reality is actually obtaining that money for most people impacts our overall happiness and quality of life.

The idea that money doesn't buy happiness is true when you assume the person who has that money had to actually seriously work for it, like most people would. One of the reasons the US tends to trail behind other countries when it becomes to happiness and fulfillment is the pursuit of wealth and the myths surrounding it.
 
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ani

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The issue with wealth, statistically, is the work needed to acquire it detracts from happiness.
Only if you do not enjoy work. If you do then it doesn't detract but actually adds to and assists in perpetuating happiness.

The vast majority of us will never inherit large amounts of wealth or have a job that pays us hundreds of thousands let alone millions. Those things tend to be a result of pre existing wealth, IE rich family.
I concur that most of us do not inherit wealth. I also concur that generally speaking wealth is not created by your FT job. Most wealth is created by peripheral activities - real estate (ha - lately this isn't true but historically it is), inventions, capitalizing on creative ideas etc. Significant wealth creation occurs in jumps more often that gradually and consistently over time.

Statistically moving from making ok to even decent money up towards the hundreds of thousands is not likely to happen. Upwards mobility in the US is mostly a myth. The average person will stay within a relative range based on our parents income. To move far outside of it requires a massive amount of work with a high possibility of no return, which is why most statistics for happiness peg people in a middle income to be the happiest overall (families making 60-70k, not individuals). The thing is we will always say we want more money, and that more money would make us happier because it is true. The reality is actually obtaining that money for most people impacts our overall happiness and quality of life.
Statistics can be excellent indicators while simultaneously contributing to questionable extrapolations. Yes, most people do not elevate to levels of substantial wealth. I am not sure that most stay in their parents "range." Similar to defining substantial wealth, range would need to be defined. Most people are born into the middle class and remain in the middle class. That's a abroad classification that could easily be segmented. The difference is substantial between the lower and upper in that broad range. I would state that if someone were born in the lower end and moved to the upper end that it would constitute a substantial change in wealth status from their parents. This part of the discussion is likely the most subjective to definitions. If you are referring to the broader range as your barometer of wealth then I would concur. That stated, I do not believe we are limited financially as a direct result of of our parents income. There are indirect contributors such as the professions you may admire by growing up in a blue collar home and viewing your parents as role models, their limits to financially fund a better education, and obviously a lot is predicated on there habits and children mimicking those habits. A major factor here is mimicking poor financial and motivation habits which directly affect wealth. So while there may appear to be a correlation between our financial status and our parents I would strongly suggest that it is simply an indicator and the correlation really exists in the aforementioned variables that result in the income parallels.

I also concur that acquiring wealth requires a lot of work and dedication. We're also in concurrence that it may not pay off. I strongly disagree that upwards mobility is a myth in the US. The vast majority of people do not climb financially. So why would I disagree? The real statistic to analyze is how many people reach the definition of substantial wealth. Note that I used the word reach, this specifically excludes those who acquire it through inheritance, or as Buffett puts it "hitting the genetics lottery." Also we would need to be relative in analyzing this meaning that we would need to compare it to other countries. How else could we make the statement that it is a myth? There has to be some relative measurement established. To that point there is universal concurrence that the US is by far the leader in creating wealth and realizing true upward mobility in the financial sense. By far. To simply look at the very small percentage of people who actually achieve this and then conclude that it's a myth is highly erroneous.

One other point about this. There will always be a segmented financial classification. Therefore the largest class will always be the middle class, at least under our current financial and political system in the US. So this is yet another flaw in using the statistic that most middle class people will remain in the middle class. Inherently that will be true but the reason is not because the ability to acquire substantial wealth in the US is a myth.

The idea that money doesn't buy happiness is true when you assume the person who has that money had to actually seriously work for it, like most people would. One of the reasons the US tends to trail behind other countries when it becomes to happiness and fulfillment is the pursuit of wealth and the myths surrounding it.
Again I disagree that most wealth is not acquired through "work," or as I prefer to say - self made or generated. The statistics clearly show that the majority of millionaires are self made and to reiterate a point made above - the US easily leads the world in newly created millionaires. To discuss why the US is behind in happiness - wow that is about as broad a conversation as one could have. There's no consensus on what happiness is to begin with. Even if those metrics were accurately defined then the process of establishing which variables contributed and to what magnitude is extremely subjective and nearly impossibly to quantify.

I understand the perspective. I think many people, particularly younger people, have lost a lot of faith in the idea of capitalism and have bought into the idea that it's flawed and possible even worse - it's a myth perpetuated by manipulation for the benefit of a few. I believe capitalism is still an excellent political and economic philosophy. Where we failed was to not properly mitigate the inherent risk in a capitalistic system which is negatively motivated greed. We can and should modify the system to mitigate that risk to the extent we can while being able to maintain a system that doesn't stifle the desire to invest, take risk, and promote innovation. Unfortunately greed has been ruling the roost lately. I would strongly encourage everyone to consider this from all angles - personal, political, and corporate. Greed existed at all levels. To move forward we'll need to address it at all levels. Better personal financial choices and holding our government and corporations accoutnable. We make our own choices in our lives, we vote in our government, and we buy products and services. So really we dictate the entire process and if we could collectively raise our awareness then we'll be that much better for it. To simply blame capitalism would be the equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

I do appreciate the thoughtful response.
 
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Put simply - I have money, but certainly not enough to consider myself "rich" in the monetary sense. However, I do feel quite rich in the fact that I have that money because I worked hard for it and I have the sensibility to spend it wisely, with a few indulgent pleasures along the way. I'm not a materialistic person, and even if I had the money for a waterfront mansion in a really nice location, I'd still probably own & live in a cosy house in a nice neighbourhood that's close to everything. That's not to say I wouldn't be anymore happier if I had relative financial freedom, and I would welcome any such inheritance, but it does go to say that it's not required.
 
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It is important to remember that if you look at statistics for "millionaires" based in the last 8-10 years the statistics are quite disingenuous. I know you made that real-estate joke well, jokingly, but the fact is a large number for millionaires now are largely such thanks to our completely false economy, and the next couple of years will reveal how many of us existed with real wealth and how money existed simply in the ether of the bubble. On top of that if you are looking at individuals who were properly investing for retirement into their 50's-60's they will be millionaires through the virtue of their net value thanks to retirement funds(at least a year ago they would!). They are not hyper wealthy, their retirement assets just make them appear so. This kind of thing is exacerbated when you look at things like silicon valley. When talking the fringe end of the spectrum, which millionaires are it is important to be specific about the range we cover. I think we are probably talking different people.

The US ideal of upwards mobility, statistically, is a myth. It isn't strictly about wealth. Most people lack the ability to personally move from lower class to middle class. This is thanks to education gaps, parental influence, and direct access to money. Unless you are middle class or upper middle class you will most likely never become flat out rich. In fact in most cases to move from lower class to middle class you must absorb a high degree of debt which, if you fail, further cements your lower class position. We can't even erase our debt through bankruptcy in those cases, which is an attack on the lower class presented as closing a loophole. The myth tends to be that in the US you can move from rags to riches, when in reality you can move from rags to clothing, and a nice suit to riches, but the chances of you moving from rags to riches isn't that great.

In the end it doesn't matter why we cant move upward. The fact is we are told how easy it is while the numbers show that it isn't. The image that you can move up through hard work when you probably wont is no less damaging then just telling people to give up and stay poor. It is damaging in the same way "positive" stereotypes are, it results in people feeling inadequate because they cannot meet imaginary standards.

As far as a distrust of capitalism it is well earned for the under 30 crowd. We now work longer hours while making less and having to spend more to do it then our parents did. We are starting our careers at a massive economic disadvantage compared to previous generations. The best part is the people that tell us we are complaining about making less while paying more are well off people in their 40's-50's. My rent is almost twice my parents mortgage for a house they bought 9 years ago while wages are lower. It is caused by the greed of the established.

(I should say a distrust in pure market capitalism. I think in most cases it isn't that we hate capitalism, but that we do not have a complete fear of socialization. )

As far as happiness it is mostly defined as a degree of satisfaction. We have horrible spending and saving habits, a poor social safety net, and skyrocketing staples costs. We tend to make less, work more, have less vacation, and poor life focus. By metrics of health, satisfaction etc the US is worse off then a large number of first and even some third world nations.
 
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ShippoFox

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Hmmm.... I guess over 100k a year is what I'd consider rich (in the USA). When you make that much, you can afford all your needs and plenty of luxuries. I guess it depends on where you live.... maybe that's not enough in some places. I wish the world wasn't about money though. I hate what it does to people. I hate how people screw each other over to try to "get to the top".
 
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