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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..

TawdryTatou Sat 08-Feb-14 21:45:28

I've been there, not now.

You can buy loads of stuff. You don't worry about the mortgage, etc.

I was still as miserable as sin, though, because I was in a shit relationship and had issues.

The money bought me a lot of therapy. I got rid of the husband, who took a lot of the money with him.

Now, I have a lot less money, but a lot more happiness.

I guess, if you're already happy, money will enhance that. If you're not, it will buy you stuff and/or pay for your therapy.

LauraBridges Sun 09-Feb-14 10:10:18

It's all relative. I have a mortgage although probably won't soon. Pay school fees ( at one point paid 5 sets from my female income). However we had a lot of years of no spare money at all, second hand baby clothes and working sometimes 2 jobs and 16/17 hour days on the basis of jam tomorrow, deferred gratification and wow it paid off.

I have taken a good few career risks not all of which worked and which most women probably would not be prepared to do.

I have never felt rich but I feel more fortunate than many people.

I also put at the top of my list of things that matter that I and the children are happy and healthy. If you are ill or depressed it does not matter how much money you have you feel rotten.

yes I can have the heating on as much as I like - hearing and lighting are about £4000 - £5000 a year and I am lucky I don't need to worry. I rarely worry about food bills. However I hardly buy any clothes to save money, dye my own hair despite earning a fair amount etc. We all make choices based on our income and desires.

I suppose as a teenager I began planning how I could afford the school fees the original poster cannot afford and in a sense we reap what we sow in life.

singaporeswing Sun 09-Feb-14 10:50:56

DP and I are what most would call rich. Everything we earn is disposable income and we have a combined joint income of around £180k after tax.

We do however live quite a nomadic lifestyle, have to pack up and move countries on a drop of the hat according to DP's company (we're talking every 3-4 months), work very long hours including weekends and live far away from our loved ones.

Our plan is to do this to get together a decent deposit, quit our jobs, go travelling and then buy a house.

Peers say that we are lucky, they are jealous etc but we have sacrificed a lot and taken a lot of risks to be in this position. Some haven't paid off, some have.

SnowBells Sun 09-Feb-14 11:13:32

It's all relative. DH & I ave an income that apparently puts up above 96% of the population.

Given the costs in the UK South East though, that does not amount to much. You have to remember housing costs is high.

Our combined gross income is a bit above £100k p.a. That amounts to a net income of around £60k. Granted, DH pays around 6% into his pension which is matched by his employer (to give 12%). I only pay about 1% into my pension as my employer pays 11% into it, too (so it's also 12%). PLUS, DH still has student loans.

Yes, about £35k is pure tax and NI.

It's much more than we ever had 5 years ago, when DH was still a PhD student, and I was the only one working (and I got made redundant as well!). But we are still watching the pennies, and still trying to climb our careers. I reckon, we could get to a combined gross income of about £140k or hopefully above that within the next three years. And we are really working towards that. We have to, if we want to afford private schools...

NearTheWindmill Sun 09-Feb-14 11:42:23

We are very close to the top of that earnings table that is sometimes linked on here but where we live (London) we feel comfortable and certainly live amongst people who are vastly richer.

We have a nice house, children in indys and no debt or mortgage. But we aren't extravagant; we've never bought a brand new car for example, I'm happy with clothes from the High Street and the odd good coat or bag, may be not Primarni but not usually more than Jigsaw. We don't have takeaways and fillet steak is a once a flood treat. Whilst I think nothing of having a coffee and snack with dd at weekends I wouldn't dream of eating out properly more often than very occasionally. A perfect examply will be Valentine's day next weekend - of course I'll have flowers but I'll buy them reduced on Saturday or Sunday and would be livid with DH if he wasted money on the actual day when there's a huge mark-up.

But to get to that position I worked 12 hours a day from 20-35; the year our son was born my DH worked 12 hours a day and every weekend bar 5. When I went into labour far too early with our second son, my DH couldn't come immediately - he got there to see his son die.

There is often a price to be paid and sacrifices to be made. I work now, but locally and fairly low key compared to what I did in the 80s and 90s but I am happy with that. Most of all it gives me some sanity and keeps me grounded.

My dream as a young teenager was to have a nice house (4 beds) with a guest room and a run around car of my own. At that stage I didn't think beyond the provinces. I worked towards that at the beginning.

I think the OP does have wealth - she's 29 and her child is 11 so has a life time of relative independence and freedom ahead of her. I was nearly 50 at her stage with a lifetime of achy joints and hot flushes ahead of me. We didn't even start on the family stuff until we were mid 30s.

Creamycoolerwithcream Sun 09-Feb-14 11:51:48

My DH earns 150k a year, I'm a SAHM, we have a mortgage, use state schools and I feel really rich. It's great to be honest. I've found I use minimal time or energy on drudge stuff so can focus on planning nice things. Weekends are full of eating out and days out not working or doing household chores. Every couple of months we have a mini break and twice a year we have a massive holiday. So there is always something to look forward to. If there is a way of improving things with money then we have that option. Shitty things still happen but money can sometimes help. For example my son has a disability, but we are able to get him seen by a top consultant two months which has really helped him. I have been so poor in the past and I try to appreciate what I now have.

TalkinPeace Sun 09-Feb-14 13:12:04

^ I have been so poor in the past and I try to appreciate what I now have.^

and the appreciation of what you have is what makes you wealthy rather than just rich
there are too many people who do not understand the value of the privilege they have
many of them sit in the House of Commons hmm

Creamycoolerwithcream Sun 09-Feb-14 13:37:04

That's a nice thing to say. Thank you.

Millie2013 Sun 09-Feb-14 19:22:49

The in laws are rich, by any standards, but they are also bloody miserable and don't appear to enjoy their wealth much.
We are more than comfortable, but we have struggled at times and I don't think I am any happier now than I was then, maybe just a little less stressed, from day to day

LauraBridges Sun 09-Feb-14 19:30:46

Talkin is very wise in saying the appreciation of what you have is what makes you rich. I woke up today breathing the fresh air through the open window and felt so good to be alive and there was something about the air that made me feel so good. If you can delight purely in fresh air even that can make you happy rather than thinking about what you don't have.

(nearThe's points seem similar to our lives/past. We did well. We worked very hard. Imagine returning to work after 2 weeks off to have a baby (although I certainly certainly recommend it)- that kind of hard. Not everyone wants to make the same choices ).

bakeroony Sun 09-Feb-14 19:36:09

To give a bit of context, I grew up poor and watching every penny, and am now fortunate to be comfortable.

I feel rich at the moment because I've got £1.8k of disposable income coming in every month, and although most of this goes into savings, it also means:

- I don't always notice the amount I pay when I type in my PIN, e.g. at the supermarket: part of this is because it always comes to the same amount give or take £20 but also because I'm not that bothered about an extra £20
- I can buy a £30/£40 dress every couple of weeks without worrying
- I can have the heating on without feeling guilty much
- I can buy flowers every week (my DM sees them as a gross extravagance)
- The only thing that limits what we put in our trolley is an awareness of healthy eating and our general likes/dislikes
- I sometimes forget that it's payday!
- I can fill up the car to a full tank rather than just putting £10 in

The best thing is being able to splash out on presents my family will actually like - such as a spa day for my Mum or a holiday - and being able to financially support DM if she's stuck in a particular month.

TalkinPeace Sun 09-Feb-14 19:59:51

To give context,
my family are rich
for various reasons I grew up poor but surrounded by wealth
then got well off again
then got poor again
am now pretty comfortable

when you've put milk and bread on a credit card one month and booked flights to the US the following month, you learn that money is only part of the state of mind.

Preciousbane Sun 09-Feb-14 20:11:15

I grew up in extreme poverty and I am now what I would class as very comfortable. We did the where do you fit in calculator

www.ifs.org.uk/wheredoyoufitin/

It is rough and not perfect but very interesting and we come out as 80% better off than the rest of the country. When I worked before ill health got me we were about 89% better off. So whilst we are not Russian ogliarchs we are certainly very comfortable.

It basically means choice and less fear though I would swap money for my health back any day.

Creamycoolerwithcream Sun 09-Feb-14 20:11:22

My story is
Grew up with two full time working parents so we were fine for money but lived on a really awful estate.
Went to a grammar school in a nice area which made me hate the estate more.
My family moved to the nice area for about 18 months.
I became a teen mum and ended up back on the estate but in a worse bit.
Went to university as a single mum living in real poverty.
Met my DH, he had nothing, got married, he got a good job,brought our first house, brought a nicer house, had a baby, he got a better job,had another baby, he got an even better job, brought a bigger house, I got a job, I left my job when DS3 was diagnosed with epilepsy, DH got an even better job then we got our perfect for us house last summer.

NearTheWindmill Sun 09-Feb-14 20:16:03

I had teenage years a bit like that talkin never quite that bad perhaps but zero security. From the day I started I work I vowed never again and just started salting it away and not taking risks or every spending more than I had.

Our children have greater freedom than that and it really worries me that they (well one of them) will be careless over money matters.

MrsYoungSalvoMontalbano Sun 09-Feb-14 20:21:19

We are probably rich - we have no mortgage, live in a large house in good area, DC in top ranking indie schools, don't worry about heating etc, and could afford to have fancy holidays if we wanted to (we don't) and do not worry if the car needs fixing. But we like simple things - I am happiest sitting in the garden with a book while the DC kick a ball around. We do not do designer - I was complimented last week on my 'designer dress' - it was from ASDA grin. The DC save for stuff if they want it - luckily they show no interest in stuff.
The absence of worry is an enormous privilege and allows me to train in a job which pays peanuts, is tough, but worthwhile and I enjoy it, and allows DH to give large amounts to a charity he is heavily involved in. The DC will have to earn their own.

Liara Sun 09-Feb-14 20:22:08

It's meaningless. Because the word 'rich' includes a factor of your expectations as well as your income.

I know people who have hundreds of millions in the bank and in assets and who constantly worry about money. One of them said to me, in a sorry-for-himself voice 'I have come to terms with the fact that this is the last private jet I will be able to buy'.

I know people who feel like 500k a year (in perpetuity) is just not enough 'to be financially independent'.

I know people with families who fight like scavengers over a tiny proportion of the assets - when they already have enough to keep themselves, their children and their grandchildren on incomes of over 100k for the rest of their lives.

I know people who have inherited 10s of millions when very young and it did enormous damage to their self esteem and life prospects - they became a target for leeches everywhere and felt that no one gave a damn about the person behind the money.

For myself, while in a completely different league, I have had many years where dh and I were both on very high incomes. Not millions, but enough that we never had to worry about money. We decided to quit all that and head for a much simpler life, and we are undoubtedly happier now than we were when we had a lot more, although we could no longer afford to send our dc to independent school if we wanted to.

I am by no means saying that it is harder to have loads of cash than not to, but it is not the recipe for happiness that people think it is.

this fits very well with some of the rich people I know.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 10-Feb-14 16:04:31

We are pretty comfortable - not in the way some are here but in that I was cold earlier so I bumped the heating on, we eat out regularly, private school is doable (although slightly tight) if we want it, if I see a top I like I buy it.

It is nice. It is a whole area of life that we don't worry about. We have lots of other worries - will baby ds ever sleep comes to mind- but money is not one of them. And that really is a luxury.

I feel like I never have a spare penny to rub together most of the time - even though I budget meticulously on a spread sheet - to the actual penny. But there is always something that eats up any disposeable and saving an emergency fund is out of the question when I save every month for birthday funds, christmas fund, school uniforms, summer holidays (never taken my kids away on a holiday), budgeting for winter/summer clothes (though I happily take second-hand where I can for play clothes, I'm not precious and actually very grateful).. I have three children...

Saving for a deposit, or even thinking about it is completely out of the question.. I feed five of us on a shopping budget of £60 per week because I meal plan meticulously - that included toiletries and house cleaners etc.. I don't have any TV subscriptions etc, I live a very frugal life and we live pay day to pay day.. HOWEVER, this is the trade-off I/we chose when we moved to a house in the area we live in - it's nice and has good schools etc..

I'm not really bothered about 'stuff' per se, but of course I can't deny that I would like to experience 'how the other half live' and not to have to go to bed every night worrying (which I know helps nothing in the slightest!) If we're cold, we all put on a jumper lol, unless the thermometer is reading 16 degrees or lower...

...and really, my main desire to experience money is literally about the choices, particularly re. schooling. I would like to be able to give my children choices and I can't and I guess I feel bad because of that, guilty if you will. They are lucky of course, they are loved and wanted, bright as buttons, clean and happy and live in a lovely home with a lovely and supportive extended family but I can't help feeling bitter (as bad as that makes me sound) that I can't choose to give them the best education without a second thought - of course this is my shortcoming and not anybody elses, I do not begrudge others their lifestyle as they have of course earned it and deserve it... So it's not a personal thing, just a general thing...

Creamycoolerwithcream Mon 10-Feb-14 18:19:45

But you are able to give them a nice home in a good area with good schools. You already doing what parents would love to be able to do. You should be proud of yourself.

Jaisalmer Mon 10-Feb-14 18:34:35

Liara that link was interesting. I would consider that I like nice things but those images really were quite repulsive. Maybe we all have a bar at which we would happily spend up to but after that we would begin to feel uncomfortable.

A decade ago we were very comfortably off but I regret so much that we wasted much of the money and didn't save anything at all. I wish I could rewind the clock as we are now in a very different position but you can't can you.

OP you sound like you have your head on ok, wish for a bit more but realise that what you have is adequate (not enough I know but more than a lot have). It is human to want more, we wouldn't have been as successful as a species if we didn't strive all the time to better ourselves.

Mintyy Mon 10-Feb-14 18:38:36

I think being rich has plenty of downsides and stresses. Being very comfortable would be nice, but I don't think I would like to be so rich that neither of us had to work, for instance. That is not a particularly fulfilling life.

Jaisalmer Mon 10-Feb-14 18:40:40

Oooh I don't know Mintyy! Me and my DH have tons of hobbies and interests and you could set up trusts and charities to funnel and manage some of the wealth into. I'm sure I would be very happy trying to lead a fulfilling life grin!

MissMilbanke Mon 10-Feb-14 18:51:04

Why does work fulfill you though...aren't there other things to make you feel complete ?

I suppose it depends what your vocation was or if you were self made millionaire then you might still want to keep your hand in, but I think not working has its advantages.

Creamycoolerwithcream Mon 10-Feb-14 18:53:41

I don't work and I feel super fulfilled.

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