What if it CAN buy happiness?
August 20, 2005 7:10 AM   Subscribe

What do rich people have that we don't? To be more specific, what are the little inconveniences that the middle class/lower class/middle-rich/foo/bar have to deal with, but when you have enough money you can get around easily. I don't mean the obvious ones, I mean things like showers that you have to fiddle with to get the temperature, or razor burn.

Also, how can you emulate this sort of thing on the beer budget that I must live with?
posted by ChrisR to Grab Bag (45 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My favorite is the Dial-A-Thermostat. Folks can activate the heat in their winter home (aka ski cottage) by calling the home and entering a security code. By the time they arrive, the house is warm and toasty.

I've seen a hot tub linked to the same system.
posted by cribcage at 7:33 AM on August 20, 2005

Shopping. See George H.W. Bush, for example.
Rush hour.
Standing in line, ever.
Loud neighbors. Actually, all neighbors.
Bugs, dirt, bad smells other than their own.
The rest of Us.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:36 AM on August 20, 2005

Sorry, I missed the part of the question about how you can get free of those things on a beer budget.

You can't. If you could, they wouldn't be on the list.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:38 AM on August 20, 2005

Best answer: As far as actual conveniences go, I honestly don't see a whole lot with my richer friends of which I've had quite a few (hello, suburban Atlanta) and quasi-personal experience now that my rents live in a "rich" house. Usually, all I see if a much nicer version of what you have. For instance, take a kitchen. While I'm no master chef, there's only so much that can make cooking easier. Rather, they have the nice granite or marble kitchen tops, snazzy looking touchpad microwaves and ovens (which I personally hate), track lighting, etc. I've also noticed that my richer friends' houses are generally brighter and have an open floor-plan.
Anyways, I suppose a few conveniences they can afford is maid service, lawn care, and Scotch Guard on the carpet so spills come up very easily. Hm, I've also seen the occasional car with On-Star or something similar. And Spinner rims...can't forget the spinners. OK, one area where having money comes in use? College. Having parents with money to bail the kids out of financial straights and pay for their living expenses is about as convenient as you can get.
However, really, for my rich friends, I know they're rich...you can tell when you see their house and where they live and their neato cars. But is there life any more convenient than mine on the whole? Not in the least, I dare say. If anything, it's less so as their parents tend to try to keep the house looking super-snazzy and thus spend more time and resources doing so.
Oh, and to emulate them? Upgrade your beer budget to buy imports. No more Naddy's Light for you!
posted by jmd82 at 7:52 AM on August 20, 2005

Oh, sorry, and how to get free of those things? a) get more money via family/job/lotto/etc or b) join the rest of America and get in debt that you really can't afford. Trust me, those rich people you see out there- a fair chunk of them can't afford those luxury items. For instance, my uncle's a bankruptcy lawyer and had a couple in whom he told to go lease a car for each of them before they declared otherwise nobody would approve them for a car afterwards. He expected them, like a rational person would, to come back with some cheap sedan. Nope, they came back all happy with a brand new Escalade and Beamer. Most people get in such massive debt by doing exactly what you just asked: not because they're forced out of necessity to declare bankruptcy, but rather because they live out of their means via attempting to emulate the rich folk. OK, I digress!
posted by jmd82 at 7:58 AM on August 20, 2005

At the posh end of town where I stay, we put our trash on the street, any night of the week, in black bags, and it's dealt with. Over on the east side, they have to seperate it into particular coloured wheelie bins, and put it on the kerb on specific nights or it won't be lifted.

Probably the best thing to try and emulate on the beer budget is a rich folk's diet. The healthy glow comes from somewhere, and it isn't McDonald's and beer.
posted by bonaldi at 8:25 AM on August 20, 2005

Best answer: Your question suggests that what separates the rich from the rest of us is some set of things that they possess that make life easier. I think that it isn't material objects per se but rather some other attributes:

1) Ability to pay others to perform menial tasks. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, driving, managing money, lawyering, etc. etc. Almost anything that you think of a necessary inconvenience can be done by someone else.

2) Enough money to live off the interest alone. For most people, the biggest inconvenience in life is having to work full time (or more) and having their livelihood riding on said job(s). The very rich have enough capital accumulated that they can, if they are prudent, simply live off the interest, dividend, and capital gains income that accrues. They can choose to work or not, and in many cases have the opportunity to select a job that they enjoy and could leave at will, rather than something that they have to do.

3) A social network of wealthy and powerful professionsals. In some legal trouble? You have to defend yourself, find a cut-rate (and thus less competent) lawyer, or go into debt to hire a good one. The very rich have access to the best lawyers, or to politically or professionally powerful people who can make problems go away. Facing a catastrophic medical problem? You can look forward to several rounds of poor care from overworked doctors at understaffed public hospitals, debt, and possibly bankruptcy. The very rich can afford private care from the best doctors. And so forth.

4) Cultural capital. When dealing with various institutions that tend to be suspicious of your credentials (banks, government agencies, maitre des), you have to jump through a lot of hoops to prove that you are legitimate and trustworthy. This means lots of time spent assembling records, waiting in line, and so forth. In most case, the rich already have the benefit of the doubt - either because of #3 above, or because said institutions want their money and do not wish to offend. Being rich means that people are afraid of offending you and thus you are seldom kept waiting. And anything that does take time - see #1 above.

5) Education. Perhaps the most important thing, the rich have the benefit of extremely good education. This doesn't necessarily make them more intelligent, but it does provide the credentials to open doors and make a lot of things in life easier.

Can you emulate these sorts of things on a beer budget? No. Its not about materials possessions or even money per se. That is the trap that most Americans fall into. We think that emulating the rich means driving a fancy car or living in a big home or wearing expensive clothes. But material possessions alone are not what makes their lives different.
posted by googly at 8:33 AM on August 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I was thinking of googly's "rich", not jmd82's. jmd82's people are not really rich, by my definition.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:39 AM on August 20, 2005

you're going to have a tough time getting a straight answer on this one because 95% of rich people consider themselves "upper middle class." my parents, for example, worry about money on occasion and are dead convinced that rich people NEVER worry about money, so they tautologically can't be rich.

i'm rich, and it's great. whenever one of those little inconveniences you are talking about pops up, i buy some little gadget that takes care of it. i went diving last week and thought, "hey, doing dive tables and logging dives is no fun." so i bought and oceanic atom 1.0 and will never even have to think about my air level again. aside from being able to buy things that can take care of little annoyances, i'm still the same cheap bastard all of my exgirlfriends will tell you i always was.

money doesn't buy happiness, but poverty bankrolls misery. my grandfather was poor his entire life (being a catholic with 12 kids will do that to you) and he had a saying that will always stick with me; whether you're rich or poor, it's nice to have money.
posted by bryak at 9:02 AM on August 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I've often wondered if you can buy higher priority on cell networks. Does Bill Gates really have to wait with the plebs when the network is jammed? I don't know...
posted by Chuckles at 9:45 AM on August 20, 2005

Rich people worry about money in a different way. It doesn't matter how expensive of a restaurant you go to, or what kind of appliances you buy, or even what clothes you buy. However, you do have to maintain (and preferably grow) your wealth. Some of the ultra-rich may not even bother worrying about that, I don't know.

Adding to the list: Lights that go on and off when you enter/exit a room. There are motion detecting light switches that can do this, but it gets a bit more complex with all that track/recessed lighting. ;)
posted by trevyn at 9:55 AM on August 20, 2005

Oh, and pinball machines in your house.
posted by trevyn at 9:57 AM on August 20, 2005

And along the lines of the remote thermostat--not having to worry about energy costs. Want to leave the heat on high and the windows open? No problem.
posted by trevyn at 10:01 AM on August 20, 2005

The best thing I've ever seen in terms of convenience? Heated floors. They're absurdly expensive but amazing in the winter. No more chilly toes! Oh, and remote control blinds, especially convenient if you have floor-to-ceiling windows.
posted by orangskye at 10:09 AM on August 20, 2005

I think it's the things you don't have to worry about when you have money rather than the things it brings you. Enhanced peace of mind.
posted by Carbolic at 10:15 AM on August 20, 2005

Here's the meta-problem that the rich solve: money in this society directly represents resources in a liquid form. You spend money, you get stuff or services. The rich have the ability to get more stuff and resources at any given time than you do.

Don't think about the shit that rich people buy, and compare that to your shit. Look at the things around you, and think about the solution you could have if you had the cash. The rich don't all buy the same things; they buy solutions to whatever particular problems they have.

How often have you gotten stuck somewhere, and needed to get home via some ad-hoc transportation method. Observe the quality and convenience of the solution as we progress from poor to rich: walk, take a bus, call a cab, flag down a cab, call your driver. The primary difference here is only how much the solution costs. If you have more lots of money, you can more rapidly, easily, and comfortably solve emergent situations than you can if you have few resources.

Next, you can afford more redundancy and waste when you have a great deal of money. You can also afford to experiment more: can't decide between a G5 and Alienware? Buy both, see which one you like better (and, if you're not a bastard, maybe pass the other one along to somebody else).

But, these things really only deal directly with the raw cash in your bank account.

If you have a lot of money, it's also easier to make friends. Imagine how much folks would love you if you were buying all the drinks. You can't do it too often, since you don't want to look like you're buying friends, but it's possible to slowly build up massive amounts of social credit by helping folks out now and again. You don't even have to be a bastard about it, you don't even have to care if they ever pay you back. Philanthropy, on any level, gets you in good with folks.

But, this really only applies to folks with lots of money. The super rich, the folks who take up 95% of the wealth in America (you know, the 1% of the population). You should stop thinking about what the money buys them, and just imagine a feudal lord.
posted by Netzapper at 10:21 AM on August 20, 2005

I don't know if this is one of the obvious ones you didn't want to hear about, but from watching my ex-father-in-law get richer and richer, I noticed that the more money you have, the less you have to pay for stuff. Restaurant owners, film publicists, bar managers, the opera company, the symphony people, even people in boutiques- once they know that you're rich enough for your wealth to be reasonably well-known, they just give you stuff for free. Fame is too strong a word for it, but some degree of celebrity - certainly within the crowds that matter - often accompanies serious wealth.
And I know of a property developer who is rich enough to never have to wash his socks. After one use he gets rid of them.
posted by bunglin jones at 10:24 AM on August 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

I think googly has got it down - we're not talking upper-middle class, we're talking RICH. Truly wealthy people have a truly different way of life, not just more stuff. It's like that black credit card (visa? amex? I don't know...)..not only is the credit line unlimited, but you can use it to get ANYTHING you need done. Errands and what not. Normal people can't really emulate this just by buying stuff - again, it's a way of life.

on preview - bunglin jones too. That whole "Let's give free stuff to the people who need it the least!" phenomenon.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 10:27 AM on August 20, 2005

But, this really only applies to folks with lots of money.

No, Netzapper, it doesn't even apply to them. Because people who live the way you're describing quickly lose their wealth. Which is why new wealth almost never lasts beyond one or two generations. If you spend your life building Microsoft, and then you give your money to your kids, statistically the chances are very, very good that either your kids or your grandkids will spend it all within their lifetimes.

Unless you're born into Kennedy-clan levels of wealth, the rich are just like everyone else - only with nicer stuff, jobs with more responsibility, and a bit more peace of mind when disaster (such as serious illness, a fire that burns down your home, etc.) strikes.
posted by gd779 at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2005

googly's #5 is what leads to #3 in many cases. Sure, you'll know your parents' friends and their kids, and the other rich kids you went to church and school with while still growing up, but college will open up a whole new world of social connections.

And yes, the more money you have, the less you have to pay for stuff. Even when people aren't outright giving you stuff for free, they're offering you 0% loans on cars and 5% cashback bonuses on credit cards, making everything you buy cheaper. It's an obvious fact that it's easier to get credit when the bank knows you have the money to pay back what you've borrowed, but when you follow that to its logical conclusion you have poor people paying 18% on auto loans while rich people are paying 0%, which seems a little backward based on what they can actually afford. Rich people can get things like 0% signature loans, which they turn around and invest, thereby making money with the bank's money.

In fact I'd say that's one of the hallmarks of the rich, that they can make money with other people's money.

A few things that rich people need that normal people don't are: 1) an accountant, 2) a lawyer, and 3) personal liability insurance, because when you have money you will find that people are often mysteriously getting injured on your property and suing you for millions of dollars.
posted by kindall at 11:06 AM on August 20, 2005

I live in a pretty rich house, as a tenant - rent top floor but use the rest of it too - it's got digital everything and it's in the middle of the city too! Yay! and it has a porch and a really nice deck!

What the rich can do really is start businesses, bankroll political campaigns, publish books, found charities, and otherwise hack society on a very large scale! That's the stuff I dream about when I buy a lottery ticket two or three times a year.
posted by By The Grace of God at 11:21 AM on August 20, 2005

Even when people aren't outright giving you stuff for free, they're offering you 0% loans on cars and 5% cashback bonuses on credit cards, making everything you buy cheaper. It's an obvious fact that it's easier to get credit when the bank knows you have the money to pay back what you've borrowed, but when you follow that to its logical conclusion you have poor people paying 18% on auto loans while rich people are paying 0%, which seems a little backward based on what they can actually afford.

This is wrong. Until last month, I was a student - obviously, not rich. No savings. But I get about 5% cashback bonuses on my credit cards, and I have a huge credit limit. All you have to do to get those sorts of financial bonuses is to have a sterling credit record, by using credit and paying it off in full each and every month for years.
posted by gd779 at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2005

Chuckles: You can't buy higher priority on cell networks. But you can buy a cell network, have a new tower put up for your convenience, or have multiple phones so you can access whichever network is better where you currently are.
posted by cali at 11:38 AM on August 20, 2005

How can you emulate being rich? Change your standard of "rich." If you are comparing yourself to people within your own country - maybe you're not rich, but probably have a roof over your house, computer, cable TV, etc. According the the U.S. Census Bureau the World Population Projection at 18:29 GMT on August 20,2005 is 6,461,411,421 - that's six and a half BILLION people. It has increased I'm sure since I checked just a few minutes ago here. My point is that you don't have to emulate being rich when your standard is this planet - you are already absurdly wealthy.

Something to think about anyway.........

posted by Independent Scholarship at 11:42 AM on August 20, 2005

The biggest difference is that you can concentrate on pursuing your dreams, without much regard to cost or potential profitability.

The best way to simulate this on a budget would be to try to find a job that you truly love... one that you would pay to do, if you were wealthy. The second best way is to live extremely frugally and save hard, so that you can take some time persuing a dream that you can't do as a job.
posted by mosch at 11:49 AM on August 20, 2005

It's like that black credit card (visa? amex? I don't know...)

Those are American Express, and they've stopped issuing them I read.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:47 PM on August 20, 2005

I don't know if you've seen 'Kathy Griffin: Life On The D-List', but it's an interesting and very clear-headed look at what celebrity wealth entails. She has an A-List home in Hollywood, which means she's mortgaged up to the eyeballs and has to do all sorts of crappy jobs to pay the bills.

What do rich people have that we don't?

Leverage. You'd probably be surprised at just how much debt the 'really rich' often have, but what separates them from the rest of us is the likelihood of those debts being called in.

That's googly's point 4, to some extent, as kindall has elaborated. Donald Trump, for instance, is leveraged up to his eyeballs: he exemplifies the line that if you owe the bank $100, it owns you, but if it's $1bn, you own it.

That 1/16th-share of a private jet makes life easier, too.

Oh, 'bespoke' is another thing. In all its incarnations.
posted by holgate at 12:55 PM on August 20, 2005

Those are American Express, and they've stopped issuing them I read.

Centurion cards are still available.
posted by mosch at 1:46 PM on August 20, 2005

The rich don't have to pay normal banking fees, even if they bounce a check. Banks just want to kiss up to them.

They can borrow large amounts of money easily and relatively cheaply.

They can afford to spend money to save money, e.g., buy the most efficient air conditioning, maintain their cars and homes so as to prevent expensive problems caused by neglect.

They can see any doctor they want, or as many doctors as they want. They can pay for whatever prescriptions, without even thinking about it.

They don't worry before making a big purchase, because if it doesn't work out they can just buy a different one.

They have the huge luxury of being able to do things just because they enjoy doing them.
posted by wryly at 1:57 PM on August 20, 2005

Space, for one thing. No crowding except maybe at charity balls. (The ball might be at your house, since you have a ballroom.)
Time for another. The ex-president is opening his library? Of course you are invited and you go because it is only 2000 miles away, so your secretary alerts the pilot of your Lear jet.
No problem about what to wear - your staff keeps your clothes in season and clean and repaired.
Largesse for yet another. One of your neighbors at the beach objects to the noise of your helicopter, so you tell your pilot to give everyone rides - except the one who complained.
More largesse - your tax lawyer earmarks enough for charity and orchestrates losses so that you pay little or no tax. You are in the 90% bracket, but you never pay that much.
posted by Cranberry at 2:18 PM on August 20, 2005

I think the most interesting part of this thread is how many people concentrate on 'the rich get a good deal from the bank' and 'they can pay somebody to do the washing'.

Those things have a weak correlation to happiness, at best.

I think Independant Scholarship has a point, that most of us are extraordinarily wealthy, by global standards. The difference between raising a family on $5,000/yr and $50,000/yr is much bigger than the gap between $50,000/yr and $500,000/yr.
posted by mosch at 2:21 PM on August 20, 2005

Influence, choices, privacy. Influence meaning that you can see your ideas on various sorts of societal big screens [elections, publishing, media]. Choices meaning that you don't have to weigh "cost" as a consideration whenever you do anything, meaning that you have a LOT more choices than people who have to think about it, especially people who have very little money or other resources. Privacy meaning that if you're well-off, you can pretty much choose not to deal with anyone you don't want to deal with, ever. And, lastly, the freedom from fear that if whatever you're doing now really seriously screws up, you can bail yourself out of it, medically, financially, logistically [emotionally and interpersonally are still a bit up in the air].

how can you emulate this sort of thing on the beer budget that I must live with?

Pretend. Seriously, IS has it right at some level. Being wealthy is about money, sure, but it's also about connections, power, and attitude. The Internet may not be one big happy democracy but it gives a lot of people a lot more access to a lot of other people. Figuring out what you want to do if you had more choices is a fun exercise; for a lot of us we can bump up one level ["well if I had more money I'd take cabs instead of driving/cycling"] but can't really take a big picture leap ["If I could go anywhere in the world within 36 hours, where would I want to go?"].

Class mobility is tough in the US, but it's far from impossible. Study hard and go to Harvard. Decide you want to travel for a living and find a way to do it. Buy a house someplace you can afford a house on an FHA loan and rent out an extra room cheap to someone who can do your laundry. Call the bank and tell them nicely you'd like them to refund your late fees [they often do]. Jump at opportunities that are given to you and seek out new ones. Don't talk youself out of something you think you're not good enough for. All of these choices have compromises, but people who we perceive as rich are making compromises themselves all the time. People just get so deer-in-headlights over the displays of wealth and the perceived differential implied, that they think it must be easy.
posted by jessamyn at 6:46 PM on August 20, 2005

This is wrong. Until last month, I was a student - obviously, not rich. No savings. But I get about 5% cashback bonuses on my credit cards, and I have a huge credit limit. All you have to do to get those sorts of financial bonuses is to have a sterling credit record, by using credit and paying it off in full each and every month for years.

You seem to be overlooking your own assumption that basic necessities are already taken care of in your situation, somehow. What happens to the poor is that they have insufficient means for basic necessities (the dentist, shoes, food, car repairs). At the same time, they are offered credit opportunities at usurious rates. Quite rationally, people use the credit to purchase things which are genuinely needed -- the car repairs to get to work in order to continue employment, the dentist to prevent even more costly dental work down the road. But they are unable ever to catch up to their own need, because high interest rates create a vicious cycle whereby only the interest is paid upon each month, never the principal, and it is difficult to pay on the principal because, when you're poor, your needs outnumber your resources.

What you say about handing credit is true, but it only works if you start off with basic necessities met. If you start off behind -- lacking transportation, presentable clothing, or health care -- you almost have to gamble by using the credit, hoping that the problems you solve with credit will elevate you to the next earning level, where your repayments will be less of a problem for you. The difficulty is that, for many people, the next level never really materializes, and basic needs never get caught up.

This is a subtle point that absolutely cleaves the middle class. I think about it quite a bit, because I came from a lower-middle-class, perhaps even working-class family. I worked through college and paid my own way. Rarely had the new clothes or went on trips or to dinner. Once out of college, the first year I worked went into savings for my first car. Once I had the car (used), there was maintenance and repairs, and still no health insurance. And this entire time, to the naked eye, I was an educated, literate, smooth-looking professional woman. Yet because the starting block in my case was farther back, I still have not caught up to the level of equity in life that my peers can now boast. A small difference early on (being given Mom's old car, having college paid for by someone else), by the magic of time and its relationship with money, really makes a tremendous difference later in life. In fact, this is one of the prime rationales for the US program of affirmative action: it's not present-day discrimination that creates economic challege for minorities; it's the lingering effects of decades of limited access to strategic and fair credit such as home-buying, which allow wealth to build later.
posted by Miko at 6:48 PM on August 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

They can commit crimes, even serious felonies, and go scot-free.
posted by matildaben at 7:23 PM on August 20, 2005

I think people have mentioned all the greatest hits already. Basically any menial labour involved in keeping your life going, aside from actually eating, going to the bathroom, and sleeping. Think of all the maintenance time your life takes.

How to rid yourself of it? EASY. Cut out all the crap you don't need (note: need, not want). Ok, not so easy, but effective. The crap costs you time and money (and money is time). At the extreme, you have next to nothing, but all the time you want.

Probably the best thing to try and emulate on the beer budget is a rich folk's diet. The healthy glow comes from somewhere, and it isn't McDonald's and beer.

I really like this answer. Note that many expenses carry their own expenses (fancy car, house, etc) so that a person living near the limit of their means is under constant stress from that fact. Good food (if you cook or learn to cook) and exercise comes cheap.
posted by dreamsign at 8:25 PM on August 20, 2005

From skimming the millionaire next store, millionaires that remain that way are extremely frugal. But those are just millionaires.
posted by drezdn at 11:01 PM on August 20, 2005


Money is extremely easily exchangable for time. And you can always get more money, but there's a hard limit on time.

Wealthy individuals get to choose the manner in which they spend their time. It's not really the "menialness" of tasks that they don't like, it's the fact they're spending time cleaning that they'd rather be doing something else, and they get to make that decision and act on it.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:08 PM on August 20, 2005

The rich can indulge in violent screaming domestic arguments, sexual infidelities and excesses, intoxication and substance abuse to the point of incapacitation, but they can do it in the privacy of their homes, with their own kind, behind walls and gates. When the poor do the same things they do it in crowded housing units and on the streets, where everyone witnessing them can smugly agree that they're glad they don't live like those people.

I think it was a Bronfman that said when you owe the bank ten thousand dollars you have a problem, but when you owe them ten million they have a problem.
posted by TimTypeZed at 11:30 PM on August 20, 2005

What do rich people have that we don't?

Well, in the case of Ludwig Wittgenstein's family, which was among the richest in Austria, the ability to buy off your part-Jewish life in the event of a genocidal gangster regime.

Here's an important question: how does the amount of money you have, with its ability to enhance health, leisure, and influence, affect one's subjective sense of contentment and well-being?

Answer: It doesn't. The amount of money other people have around you affects your subjective sense of contentment and well-being. At least according to the ASA, which just released a new paper showing that your happiness is affected much more by how much you are making in relation to everybody else, than how much you have in absolute terms. Intuitively this makes sense because the "absolute" scenario would require the belief that 100s of 1000s of years of human existence was orders of a magnitude less happy than modern industrial life.

I just watched The God's Must Be Crazy, with the Kalahari hunter-gatherers, and it's easy to imagine why the opposite viewpoint is much more plausible. There's a reason why Communism was such a magnetic ideology.
posted by Jason Malloy at 1:54 AM on August 21, 2005

Response by poster: In case anyone is still reading, I'm thinking more in terms of what sort of things that the not-quite-rich take for granted as being "part of life," but are solved by technology, or workmanship that the average joe simply cannot afford.

Another example that comes to mind is tailoring -- of furniture, houses, cars... Is that last even possible?
posted by ChrisR at 8:22 AM on August 21, 2005

Is that last even possible?

Absolutely -- you've never seen a custom car? If I was rich, a 'lead sled' would definitely be one of the machines parked in my garage.
posted by Rash at 9:19 AM on August 21, 2005

Rich people have their own television channel - something that always boggles my mind, but is true. PlumTv - for your second home lifestyle.

Bespoke cars are very common - lamborghinis don't come with automatic transmisions, but if you have the money, you can get one made that way especially for you. I think either Kobe or Will Smith's wife has an automatic transmission lamborghini or ferrari.

Having a tremendous amount of money means having a life utterly tailored to your whims if you want - a religion that confirms and conforms to what you want to believe, friends that won't contradict you, enormous amounts of validation from society that what you are is the best thing to be, and the ability to own anything that you can imagine into existence. A 50 foot couch made of endangered animal skins. Sure! A Christian LaCroix dress designed on your body and based on a dress you wore in a dream you had once? Sure! Hate dealing with airport security? Buy a plane and never take your shoes off or stand in line again. Want that plane to resemble a giant womb, a shagalistic sex palace, the private viewing rooms at Cartier,the oval office? sure! a designer can do that for you.

Think the Amex. black card is for the parveneau? Now Amex has a titanium card, made of real titanium. Just for you. With a quarter million minimum a year in charging limits. Not an upper limit, like we probably all have with a Visa or MC, but a lower spending limit.

Money buys you anything you want to own. You just need enough money.
posted by sperare at 9:26 AM on August 21, 2005

Quoting the film Withnail and I :

"Free to those who can afford it."

Also I find one huge advantage for rich people is being well supported when you're young. I have a rich friend who is still very much so supported by his parents while he is in university even though he "lives on his own". He works a lame job part-time but has a great apartment with a lot of electronics (47" plasma) and doesn't pay for his education.

Aside from the obvious advantage of living more comfortably he clearly has more time to concentrate on his studies (more than me with my stressful full time job) so school is easier for him. This will be advantageous for him in the future if he wants to further his studies and get a master/honours/etc. What will most likely happen to me is that I will have to follow the career that I've started in place of getting more education.
posted by Napierzaza at 10:52 AM on August 21, 2005

Rich means growing up with NEVER any worry about money. That "Oh, GOD no!" feeling of your bike/car breaking down when you can least afford it never comes. The world is laid before you, you have but to choose what you will.

This sort of rich doesn't come from the sweat of your labor. Probably not from that of your parents, either. Its older money.

Funny enough, you CAN emulate this. Follow the budha, he will explain.
posted by Goofyy at 9:10 AM on August 22, 2005

I think that a lot of the responses on this thread are off-track. Really rich people don't have to think about getting 5% cashback on their credit cards. That kind of thing would never cross their mind; the same person who administrates their trust fund makes sure their credit card bills are paid in full every month.

Being rich means not being locked into your mistakes. Whether that means a bad career choice; a bad job; a drunk driving conviction; a reckless, squandered youth; buying the wrong guitar or freezer or car or house; being rich means you can just walk away from it and go get what you want instead, without significant penalty. It's not correct to say that rich people can't be wrong; but when they're wrong, it doesn't matter to them.

Couple the ability to make mistakes as freely as possible, learning from them every time, with the ability to purchase the finest education available, and it's a mystery why you don't have a bunch of rich bodhisattvas wandering around, isn't it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:10 PM on August 22, 2005

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