Better to Be Rich?

Dennis Friedman

I’M LOOKING AT MY credit card statement and I have a month-end balance of $3,475. My other credit card has almost $1,200 owed on it. My property taxes, automobile insurance and home insurance are due. I have an appointment in a few days to see my lawyer about my trust. He charges $450 an hour. Rachel and I are going on two weekend getaways in the next two weeks.

But I’m not rattled about all these expenses. In fact, I feel confident about my financial situation. That prompted me to ask myself, “Am I rich?” I don’t feel rich, but—compared to many others—no doubt I am. Here are the perks that come with money—some available to more affluent Americans, some only enjoyed by the truly wealthy:

  1. The rich, according to research, tend to live longer. One reason: They have better health insurance, which allows them to get tested earlier and gives them access to better care.
  2. The rich don’t need to worry about buying long-term-care insurance. They have enough money to pay for their own care in their declining years.
  3. The rich can afford the best and most prestigious private schools for their children.
  4. The rich can pay less for insurance policies, because they can afford the higher deductibles.
  5. The rich can take advantage of discounts by buying in bulk and participating in special sales events.
  6. The rich don’t have to worry about taking on college debt—unlike millions of other Americans.
  7. The rich don’t need life insurance, though they may buy it to avoid taxes. There will be plenty of money for their heirs.
  8. The rich don’t need loans to buy big-ticket items, so they don’t end up paying interest.
  9. The rich will never be a financial burden to their children.
  10. The rich can have more fun. They can buy season tickets to sporting events, travel around the world, and collect paintings or other items of interest.
  11. The rich can make large donations to the charities and causes they’re passionate about.
  12. The rich can put 20% down on a house, so they avoid private mortgage insurance, and perhaps even pay cash for the place.
  13. The rich don’t suffer the financial stress that comes with meeting monthly expenses and funding retirement.
  14. The rich have more freedom to do what they want when they want.
  15. The rich get better rates on loans, credit cards and home-equity lines of credit, because they have a better credit history.

Get the idea? The rich derive countless benefits from their money. But don’t be too envious. There are three things in life that everyone can have—and that arguably are far more important: family, friends and experiences.

Dennis Friedman retired at age 58 from Boeing Aerospace Company. He enjoys reading and writing about personal finance. His previous articles include Lighten the LoadRescue DogLittle Jack and Cancel the Movers. Follow Dennis on Twitter @DMFrie.

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4 years ago

Would Jonathan allow you to call yourself rich (or merely wealthy) if you don’t pay off your monthly credit card statements? Out of all of these items, how you manage #13 determines whether those terms apply.

3 years ago

The reason the wealthy live the longest is not the best medical care. Sure, it’s a contributing factor.

The reason people live the longest, is not needing a doctor in the first place.

No smoking

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Regular exercise – cardio, resistance training, stretching, balance.

Lack of persistent stress (some stress is healthy; consistent, persistent stress is not). Having a feeling of control of one’s life and the time and money to vacation helps.

Not being subjected to noise and air pollution.

Many of the above factors favor the wealthy and thus they have less chance getting sick with life-altering illnesses in the first place.

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