My theory (and it is obviously just a theory) that being filthy rich isn’t what it’s cracked up to be has recently gained traction, thanks to the stupendously silly “Rich kids of Instagram” described in this article and an insightful Quora thread I’ll come back to in a bit.
These kids believe that if you don’t admire them and their lavish lifestyle, you’re simply jealous (and they have a name for you: “lemonade”). The Rich Kids of Instagram are a mostly self-identifying cohort of youngsters with bank balances (or parents’ bank balances) vast enough to absorb an island.
They post an assortment of pictures of their mandatorily enviable lifestyles. Trumpeting their wealth through snaps that feature them on their multi-million dollar yachts, cars, jets, or in their multi-million pound mansions complete with drive-in closets.
We see them being helped out of their gold-plated Lamborghinis, on the steps of their private planes. En route to their private islands or at the door of some spectacularly opulent (private) Venue, posing in their Aviator sunglasses and trying their best to affect nonchalance.
But – and this is my moment to clamber down from my soapbox. I feel pity for these rich kids (though it’s the poor kids around the world that deserve our sympathies), because they are so difficult to like (and they seem not to want to be liked), despite my efforts to appreciate their (highly staged) joie de vivre. And because they really aren’t very interesting.
The Rich Kids of Instagram represent one of the biggest dangers about being filthy rich. The temptation to cut yourself off from the rest of the world in the mistaken and dangerous belief that you are better than all others. Anyway, here are five further reasons why being filthy rich isn’t all that:
1. A New Set of Restrictions
Being that rich simply buys a whole new set of restrictions. Case in point: The Rich Kids of Instagram seem to be endlessly and intensely preoccupied with getting from one place to another, which presumably is the reason why they upload so many images of themselves doing just that: going from one place to the other. Where’s the freedom in that? #nofunwhatsoever.
2. The More You Make, The More You Feel You Need to Make
According to a UBS report, the more money you make, the greater the pressure on you to keep making money. The truly rich are never fully satisfied, the report says, and they often live in fear of losing all their money.
3. You Aren't Allowed to Moan About Life
One Quora user, who happens to be a millionaire, agrees that being rich has its downsides. Privileges the rest of us take for granted, such as moaning about or lot in life, are not extended to the filthy rich: “You are still human, but nobody treats you as one,” he says.
4. It's Difficult to Know Who Your Friends Are
The same Quora user says that it is difficult to distinguish between those who are interested in you for who you are, and those who are interested in you for what you have.
“Quora user, who happens to be a millionaire.” Cameron Purdy, via Quora.
5. If You Were a Jerk, You Become More of a Jerk
According to another Quora user, with increased wealth you become more of what you were originally. So if you were a jerk to begin with, money will make you more of a jerk. If you were unhappy before, the chances are you will still be unhappy:
Of course, I am not suggesting that having enormous wealth isn’t liberating in the most vital of ways: the filthy rich don’t have to fret about how long they will need to wait to have their back operation, for example. But I do suggest that being filthy rich isn’t as liberating as you may think (to go deeper, read this excerpt from the late, David Foster Wallace): that it isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.
What do you think? Please share your comments in the box below.