We see you rolling your eyes right now. But it’s true: Being rich isn’t all wine and roses. Lazy kids, needy friends, constant lawsuit threats and other concerns plague wealthy people on the regular. Here are the top reasons being rich is harder than it looks — straight from the mouths of people who make millions, or billions, or manage those who do.
1. Your Kids Might Grow Up to Be Spoiled
Being wealthy can have a downside for your kids. One wealthy respondent to a study conducted by Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy worried, “Money could mess them up — give them a sense of entitlement, prevent them from developing a strong sense of empathy and compassion.”
“From my experience, the worst consequence for a wealthy family are the inept, non-self-reliant adult children,” said a wealth advisor* from a large and well-known national financial services company. “Many are not contributors to the betterment of society, and are entirely dependent on their family’s money for their survival and that of their offspring. It’s an unending vicious cycle.”
“In one case, we have a client with adult kids who are all living off of his investments,” added the advisor. “This man is up early every morning and trades stocks to cover his kids’ — who are all adults with families of their own — rents, luxury travel and living expenses.”
So perhaps Warren Buffett put it best when he said, “A very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing,” according to CNBC.
2. You Worry About Kidnapping
A wealthy heiress* who’s on Forbes’ Richest People in America list said she worries constantly for her children’s safety because they are a target for kidnappers.
Although there are several high-profile kidnapping cases among the ultra-wealthy, including the abduction of software tycoon Eugene Kaspersky’s son, Ivan, actual kidnappings are rare in the U.S. In fact, according to FBI figures, there were only 332 abductions of children by a stranger in 2014.
However, that’s not to say there aren’t risks. Experts who provide security to the wealthy said that children’s Facebook accounts can be one of the biggest security leaks for a well-off family, according to Financial Advisor magazine. Even a heavy security detail can be undermined if a child is posting vacation pictures and personal information online. Criminals can find that information and use it to target the family.
3. You’re More Susceptible to Lawsuits
Where there’s money, there are lawyers — and dishonest plaintiffs — willing to take it. “The one thing that really surprised me was with wealth came lawsuits,” said Bryan Clayton, CEO of lawn care service platform Green Pal, and an entrepreneur who built his business to eight figures. “It’s not fun when, once a month, a stranger pops out of the bushes to say you have been served.”
Less than 20 percent of people with a $1 million net worth worry about being sued, whereas 80 percent of those with more than $20 million net worth had the same fear, according to a survey by Prince & Associates referenced in U.S. News & World Report. Mark Cuban, famous entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” regular, has reportedly said on the show that he’ll refuse investments if there’s even a small risk of him getting sued.
4. Your Family and Friends Ask for Money
Having a billion dollars practically guarantees you’ll have people in your life who’ll treat you like a bank. “If a friend or family member thinks you have money, they’re more likely to hit you up for a loan than if they think you’re struggling like they are,” said Valerie Rind, the author of “Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads: True Stories of Friends, Family, and Financial Ruin.”
“But what they might not realize is that rich people attain and maintain their wealth through hard work and smart moves — which don’t include lending large sums of money they’ll most likely never see again,” she said. “In addition, if you decide to loan money, keep in mind that the transaction will likely change the nature of your personal relationship with the borrower forever.”
“Wealth becomes a family issue when one has considerably more money than another family member,” said an executive* who works with the wealthy. “Dealing with either the guilt or the obligation to help provide for others can be a lifelong strain.”
5. Strangers Ask for Money, Too
Hey, if you’re known to be rich, people are going to ask for your money. A well-known luxury travel blogger* said that random strangers send her direct messages on Twitter with heartbreaking stories and money requests. The aforementioned heiress and Forbes’ rich list member said she regularly receives requests for donations to everyone’s favorite charities.
There’s even an entire Quora thread devoted to the question, “How can I get a list of rich people who are willing to give to families that need help?” One respondent put her answer plainly, “You can’t. And shouldn’t. If they gave out that information to everyone that asked, the families would be flooded with calls, letters, visitors all begging for help. They can’t help them all.”
6. You Wonder If Your Friends Like You for You
A Reddit thread asked rich people about the downsides of wealth, the DailyMail.com recently reported. In answer, a man from a well-off family confessed how difficult it was to find true friends. Even worse, after his family suffered a financial setback, his so-called friends made themselves scarce.
“They ditched me in an instant because I no longer paid for their drinks at clubs and paid for expensive meals,” he said. “I was heartbroken because I legitimately thought they were my friends.” He never saw those friends the same way again, and when his family “bounced back,” his former friends came back, too. He told them to get lost.
Some respondents to the Boston College study said they question just how many of their friends are real. “I start to wonder how many people we know would cut us off if they didn’t think they could get something from us,” said one respondent.
7. You Lose All Your Old Friends
Then there are the friends you had before you struck it rich. “You can’t truly be friends with someone who makes one less zero than you,” said one recently wealthy person*. “Your lifestyles are just too different.”
Another millionaire respondent to the Boston College survey wondered if their outside relationships changed due to wealth. “Very few people know the level of my wealth, and if they did, in most cases I believe it would change our relationship.”
8. You Wonder If Your Spouse Loves You for You
Let’s say you’re filthy rich and marry someone who isn’t, and want to be sure that person isn’t a gold digger. Most wealthy people interviewed for this article said if their spouse was with them before the money got big, they trust their intentions much more than if they met their partner after they struck it rich.
Indeed, the gold digger threat is alive and well. One self-titled money grubber told the New York Post, “…Some people like dark hair, some like blue eyes, I just like a giant wallet.”
The uber-wealthy often question if the “average person is really marrying you for who you are or for what you have,” said Marlon*, a blogger with Frustrated Billionaire. There’s one word that applies here: prenup.
9. You Don’t Trust the People Who Manage Your Assets
Wealthy people almost always hire people to manage their portfolios, households and other assets. When there’s so much money at stake, some might find it hard to trust those who handle it. An estate-planning attorney* in San Diego told the story of his client who hid $1 million in gold coins under his bed. After the man passed away, his personal assistant remained in the house, and the rumored gold coins were nowhere to be found.
10. You Worry About Everything, Everything, Everything
Falling real estate prices, Federal Reserve and interest rates, stock fluctuations, global currencies. Everything. It all can affect your wealth. Although you might not worry about true poverty, you might always feel like you’re one stock market crash away from wearing rags.
It’s said that money isn’t important unless you don’t have it. But what remains true above all is that money can ease some worries, but others will always remain.
*These sources chose to remain anonymous for reasons of privacy or client confidentiality.