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What is it like to be rich?

(84 Posts)

I just genuinely wondered... What is it like not to have to think twice about running your heating in case your direct debit shoots up by £100 in the next quarter, or seeing something you like and buying it without a second thought?

I apologise in advance if anyone is offended or thinks it's a bad taste question etc.. I just genuinely wonder...

I'm always of the frame of mind 'skint but happy' - and I do genuinely believe that - but I still can't help wondering lol. Both myself and my partner are, realistically, never destined to be rich - that's just a fact of our chosen professions, there's a ceiling limit on the top wage we could ever hope to achieve..

But there are times where I dream... like now. I applied for my son to attend the local independent school, he passed the exam with flying colours and we attended an interview today HOWEVER, even if he gets offered a place, we could only send him if we are lucky enough to receive some assistance in the form of a bursary, and that's not guaranteed to be offered even though we have been assessed and meet the criteria... Just feel somewhat helpless!

It's times like this when I just can't help but feel a little envious of others where this would not be an issue and I could be content knowing that I was able to afford my child the gift of a quality education and a range of experiences and opportunities (and please do not think I am bashing state schools, because I'm not, I've been very fortunate in the primary schools my children attend and I did very well myself at state school - but it doesn't change the fact the opportunities at independent schools are incomparable!)

sigh I know it's the way of the world though..

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 08-Feb-14 07:49:54

I don't know what it's like to be rich but I've experienced 'poor' and 'comfortable' and would go with the latter every time. Being able to afford essentials and a few luxuries without thinking too hard about it is a nice way to live but I think that being 'rich' (in the sense of being able to pop into the Ferrari showroom and pay cash for a new one) would bring a different set of stresses.

For example - and I know people who have been able to lavish expensive education, experiences and material goods on their kids - some of the kids turn out OK but others end up highly dependent, have unreasonable expectations and lack personal motivation.

redcaryellowcar Sat 08-Feb-14 07:54:45

i don't know what its like to be rich, do daydream about it quite a lot, fortunately my Dh has a good job with good salary and we are able to live 'comfortably' but certainly could not afford private schools, we are lucky to live in an area with three good schools we can choose from, secondary is not so simple but will worry about that once ds is a bit older!

lovetoski Sat 08-Feb-14 07:57:31

My sil has a lifestyle like this, dn at private school, a couple of holidays a year, buys what clothes she wants without a thought. But the downside is her husband works very hard for it and travels a great deal so quality family time together is rare and she is lonely and most of the time a single parent. It's not always green on the other side.

HarrietVaneAgain Sat 08-Feb-14 08:03:11

I suppose we fit your initial description but for us sending our kids to private school would be a whole different order of magnitude. It's probably 20 grand a year for each child - there are not many people around who wouldn't feel that difference over several years.

chanie44 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:31:44

I've been thinking about this recently and I think it is relative as to how 'rich' you feel.

Some 'rich' people have high outgoings and may not feel rich. I once read that Elton John spends more a month on flowers that some people earn in a year!!!

I guess it comes down to what you are used you. Even if I won the lottery, I don't think I could ever spend as much as Elton John does on flowers.

Helpyourself Sat 08-Feb-14 09:46:08

Feeling rich has a lot to do with your outgoings and the people you mix with.
I feel rich when I buy 99p bunches of daffodils practically every time I go to the shops this time of year; another poster on another thread feels poor because cherries are so expensive- out of season food just isn't on my radar. I feel not so rich after an evening at bookclub where they all live in enormous immaculate houses and jet off on holiday every half term.
I felt very rich when ds lost his school shoes and had to wear trainers in the next day. I bought him a new pair the following day. DH was shocked, but I just felt lucky we could afford to.

armourplating Sat 08-Feb-14 14:26:24

I used to be skint (single mum on benefits) but a few years ago I got married to a new partner who is a high earner and our lifestyle is very comfortable now. I would have considered anyone on that income to be 'rich' in the past, and many people would say we are, but every day life hasn't changed that much. DS goes to a private school now and our home is nicer and in a better area, the food we buy and the holidays we have are better. But we still think carefully about what we buy, use money saving strategies when we can, I don't think I'd ever be frivolous enough to just waste money on things that could be done cheaper. Personally I wouldn't describe us as rich now, as we still have a mortgage etc - being proper rich for me is having enough capital for work to be a choice.

The big difference for me is that I definitely don't have to worry about money any more. If things turn out to be more expensive than I thought, it used to make me want to cry as I just couldn't afford it, whereas now it's just an annoyance. And we sometimes opt for more expensive options when we think the price difference is worth it, but if the cheaper option is good enough for us then we won't pay more just for the sake of it. I definitely feel less stressed and better mentally now I feel I have more control, more options in life and that I can make choices instead of everything being determined by price. But I think you don't have to be incredibly well off to have that mindset.

Yes, of course you all right and make very valid points... We're an educated couple who live in a lovely, sought after area (although we rent!) and we are fortunate to be surrounded by very good primary and secondary schools - which is a lot more than other people have... We do have to budget to be able to afford to live in this area though - meal planning, we don't run a car, start squirreling away for birthdays for the following year the day after said child has had his birthday in the current year etc.. It's swings and round-a-bouts!

I was a single mum on benefits - I had my eldest at 18 years old - and lived in a tiny flat on £3.20 per hour/15 hours per week, gas and electricity keys etc - so when I think about where I am now, 11 years later, in comparison to where I was and at the time, never envisaged living in a home with an upstairs or a back garden (I have a front garden too!) then I guess we could be described as comfortable.

And now I feel incredibly selfish and materialistic!! Food for thought!

SilverViking Sat 08-Feb-14 15:03:38

Sorry, can't help you with the "what is it like to be RICH".....But a few observations on life...
Your wealth is determined by many things, but mainly income, outgoings and expectations.
Everybody, and every family have their own values and limits.
Some sacrifice a lot to earn good money, some inherit good money, others don't have money and still spend, some don't value wealth in money terms, but in quality of life (depending on how they define that!)
Some have relatively more income than others, but still feel "poor", and some people are genuinely skint.
I think in your last post you maybe appreciate wealth you have that is not necessarily based purely on money, and to me, that is the greatest wealth to have!!

I have never meet someone yet in RL who wouldn't tell you that if they only earned 20% more, K life would be a lot easier .... And that is avoids people who have genuinely nothing to those able to spend �10,000 on their weekend hobby per month!

Branleuse Sat 08-Feb-14 15:09:37

its probably much the same but with a nicer house

MissMilbanke Sat 08-Feb-14 15:18:39

I probably fall into that category of what you consider rich.

I'm not sure I am very different to you. I want the same things you do for you kids, I want to live a long and happy life, money is I guess something w hich just eases the passage of all this. I don't worry about the bills and if we do something extravagant from time to time I know I'm lucky and I enjoy it.

How the super rich live though is mind boggling

Arohaitis Sat 08-Feb-14 15:23:05

OK some observations.

You are already richer than most of the planet vastly vastly richer

if you are looking at independent school you are probably richer than an awful lot of people in the UK

Does money make you happy? was talking about this with one of my kids the other day, it is the old having a bit more would make us feel a lot richer, I am sure there have been some studies on it.....

People talk (and it is clear to me from on here) that clearing your mortgage makes you feel so much richer especially if you can do it early enough to make a difference

I often think when they have those crazy lottery prizes of millions that they would be better giving more people 1 million each, would make so much more of a difference to people without (hopefully) some of the damage.

Would we be noticeably happier if it was all spread around a bit more or in reality would we all only end up with about 2 quid?

Personally at times I would like a stately home and the land that goes with it (but not the maintenance!)

NK5BM3 Sat 08-Feb-14 15:27:14

I don't know what rich will be and I seriously doubt we will ever find out but we were comfortable for a while even when we had 1 kid as we were both earning quite a bit and it was a double income. So even though we had a big nursery fee to pay (full time) and of course mortgage and other bills, we ate out at least once if not twice a week, we flew long haul (because one set of grandparents live far away) and if we needed a new tv, we'd be ok. We'd just go and get it.

Then we lost one income and gained another child. And that's tough. We are kinda coming out of it now..but it's been scary.

I'd like to go back to comfortable....smile

FadBook Sat 08-Feb-14 15:41:50

We're not "rich" but comfortable (we couldn't afford private school)

Like a pp said, we have money saving strategies and I'm always looking for a bargain. We separate our needs and our wants and don't want for much really i.e we had one car for 2 years despite being able to afford to run another; Aldi shop most weeks as the products is no different to branded products

I've been poor and loaded with debt, and it feels nice to be comfortable. Dp and I say it every week though - we know how lucky we are and take nothing for granted.

Cuckooforcocopuffs Sat 08-Feb-14 15:41:51

Compared to ten years ago, we are way better off. Back then I would have considered someone with this income to be rich, but now it just seems average. I know we have more disposable income than all our friends, but part of that is because we have kept our housing costs relatively low, instead of moving up to a McMansion like most in our income bracket seem to.
I have a fairly flash car, and a cleaner, and we have nice vacations every year, but I find that now I can afford pretty much whatever I want, I find that I don't really want anything.
We have been saving quite aggressively for college and retirement.
In my job I do come across people who are seriously wealthy, and it boggles my mind when someone spends $8000 on a bedspread, then gives it away because their DH doesn't like it!

catsrus Sat 08-Feb-14 15:43:23

When my dc were little they asked if we were rich, I said "yes" because we could buy anything we wanted - but if we started wanting things we couldn't afford we wouldn't feel rich any more grin

I do think it's about lifestyle and expectations, my exH always measured himself against colleagues who had the country mansion and the helicopter / yacht so he never thought we were rich hmm I measured what we had against the way I was brought up so thought we were rich. I also didn't want the helicopter or yacht - enough to feed, clothe and house us was enough for me. Post divorce I do now have to be more careful about what I spend but i can cover the essentials without worrying so that is rich enough for me lottery win would still be nice though

TalkinPeace Sat 08-Feb-14 17:42:07

I have very, very rich friends. Most of them only see their high earning husbands at the weekend.
I'll settle for being able to afford to go abroad after searching for good deals, school fees never on the radar, but not having to look at the total at the supermarket (with lots of nice reduced stuff in my trolley)

Pagwatch Sat 08-Feb-14 17:47:52

I've had no money, a bit of money and lots of money.
Removing the stress of budgeting, the freedom to do what you want is great. But the real problems of life and how they impact you don't alter.
And the essential 'you' - bitter or happy, pessimistic or a joy to be around, kind or selfish - they ll remain exactly the same.

If you are happy now then you will be happy with cash to spare.
If you are a miserable arse now then that won't change.

Everysilverlining Sat 08-Feb-14 18:04:55

By almost any standards I have to accept I am rich. I have a large house in an expensive city in the south east, a cleaner, and a gardener. (I do have a mortgage) I never worry about putting the heating on and what it costs and buy the food I want to eat. I also go shopping and if I see it I like it.

I could afford private school for ds if there was a school which would take him. However he is disabled and private school can't cater for him. Also the fact we do have money means we can spend the £200- £300 per week on therapy for him which he needs without worrying where the money comes from. I can also write the cheque for the £50,000 operation he needs but the NHS don't fund. So for me what it's like being rich is knowing you have choices, and sometimes money can buy those choices and largely money isn't what restricts those choices. But without it the choices are much much more limited, and given the limitations of disability I have finally realised what the money is for.....

I work hard but no harder than most people although I did when I was younger, pre ds and while building a career. However I love my job (mostly) and am lucky I can earn well doing something I love and which is valued by society. I think being rich means money isn't a factor, and it gives you choices but often you don't realise that others don't have those choices. I still shop at markets, shop around for everything from heating to broadband, don't have sky and run an old second hand small car which I barely use. But if wanted to shop at waitrose and drive a jaguar I could, I just can't imagine wanting to....

By the way i think it's an interesting question and one worth thinking about especially for those who don't really know what not having money would entail.

Think 'rich' is defined differently for all of us. I have a high income but like other posters the trade off is a quiet life.

Money makes life easier but so does time. We have 2 houses (1 abroad) and don't fret stuff like heating or most things to buy.

But I spent the week abroad and so did DP. With our DD being tag team cared for by dm and the nanny. I work every weekend and 4 nights this week I was still working at 11pm and then up at 6.30am. 55- 60 hour weeks away from home and permanently stressing about who is around to look after DD.

But then I know there are people doing 2 jobs for low pay who are in the same boat and that it truly rubbish and unacceptable.

Mum2Fergus Sat 08-Feb-14 21:10:46

DP is friends with an exceptionally rich sports person...but whenever I speak to him I hear him yearn for the simple stuff that I take for granted...anonymity being the main one I think. He's on his 3rd WAG in as many years...not a bit happy Id say...sad.

Just been watching Hans Rosling's Don't Panic on iPlayer (world population growth, poverty etc).

Now I already now that we in Britain are richer than most, and that DH and I earn a reasonable amount compared to many in Britain (private school for the kids, horse etc). We are certainly not megarich and our house is fairly modest, but we can afford what we want. I don't compare myself to rich people - I don't know many, and I'm not envious of what they have.

But even knowing this it was sobering to watch Don't Panic, with a couple in Mozambique saving desperately for a bike because of the huge difference it would make to their lives, making it easier to get to market, get the kids to school, fetch water. We have half a dozen bikes, just for pleasure.

K999 Sat 08-Feb-14 21:29:32

It's fucking great grin

dashoflime Sat 08-Feb-14 21:40:12

I am not rich, but with a joint income of £32,000 (both part time) and a tiny mortgage, we are definatly comfortable. In my life I have been very poor, and I grew up poor. This is what having money feels like to me:
Not thinking about money before I spend it. Example: today I took DS to soft play and bought him food there. Then we went to the park and because he was getting abit cold, I took him into a cafe and bought food again. So, twice in one day. Either of those would have been a remarkable once in a blue moon treat when I was a kid.
Being a lazy parent. See above? That happened because I didn't pack snacks.I didn't pack snacks because I don't have to think about it.
Being an indulgent parent: Ds doesn't like blankets on him and kicks them off in the night. Instead of trying to stop him doing it, I just keep the radiator on in him room. If I think he might enjoy a toy I get it for him.
Getting away with being disorganised: We live right by a massive tesco and don't bother with a weekly shop. If we want something we just buy it- definatly no meal planning. Last week this included £10 on giant prawns.
Being able to go on holiday: I pay upfront with my current months wages and don't usually miss the money, beyond putting less in savings
Having a cushion if there's an emergency: the dog needed an operation costing £500 recently. We had that in the savings account.

The main thing really is that wheras the people around you are thinking about money all the time; if you have money you are just not thinking about it at all. One aspect of having money is having to make a concious effort to remember the position skint people are in. You might have difficulty working out if the thing you plan toinvite someone to, is something they are likely to afford.

I still remember what poverty feels like. It feels like a lot of closed doors and a lot of things that are just not for you. I still feel horrible anxiety when buying new clothes or shoes. I have to get them in supermarkets because then I can kid on to myself that I'm just getting some groceries.

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