Stereotypes about the wealthy 1% abound. These stereotypes can range from the unflattering image that all people who have money are greedy and selfish, acquiring their gains in an ill-gotten manner. Other stereotypes may try to present the wealthy as being guilty about what they have. Then, there are positive stereotypes that highlight the wealthy as being charitable and goodhearted. Yet another, usually unfair, cliche is that the rich got there because they never spent money, living a thrifty Scrooge-like life.
The truth, though, is that it's best to avoid looking at the wealthy through the green-tinted lens of a stereotype, painting people with the proverbial broad brush,
Obviously, though, the elite 1% are bound to live a very different life from the masses. In some cases, the amount of money amassed by a one individual is shocking, even inconceivable. Entertainers and sports figures have habitually earn in the hundreds of millions while legendary business moguls have amassed incredible fortunes in the billions of dollars.
There's a fascination with the wealthy these days, possibly because we have so few deities or monarchies around to idolise in popular culture. The wealthy are the movers and shakers in the world; they live a life that is intriguing and even baffling. In order to shed some light on some common preconceptions, stereotypes, and truisms about how the other half live, we're going to draw your attention to ten distinct phrases you're only likely to hear from the comfortably well-off...
10 ''I don't know what to do with my money.''
When you have enough money to basically buy just about anything you could wish for, you might end up suffering from paralysis by analysis. In other words, there are so many choices available to those with a lot of wealth, they're just not sure what exactly what to buy. The greater the person's wealth, the more exotic purchasing decisions might be - one famous movie star actually purchased a fossilized dinosaur head. Others will collect cars, boats, houses, artwork, and other luxurious items. While a wealthy person might not know what to do with his/her money right now, rest assured, a decision will eventually be made.
9 ''I worked very hard for my money.''
In many cases, this is actually true. Yes, there are those who may inherit great wealth and others who might luck into by winning a lottery. Some may become unlikely celebrities and cash in on short lived fame. Overall, wealthy people come from the small business community and do work very hard for what they have. Others are service providers that are in great demand. Doctors, lawyers, bond traders, and other highly educated professionals are not exactly known for their sloth. The rich can sometimes be criticized for their seemingly hedonistic lifestyles, but quite a number of them really did work very hard for what they have.
8 ''I like the finer things in life.''
Why not choose the finer things, if there is indeed a choice to be made? Likely everyone would enjoy that side of life more, if it were an option! The wealthy among us like to indulge in some typically luxurious things - as well as in some seemingly needless extravagant expenses - but the richest people in the world can still enjoy life's simple pleasures. In fact, one very wealthy celebrity likes to spend his free time freshwater fishing which, other than the potential travel opportunities, isn't exactly a wildly expensive hobby. Of course, there are also those who want to live in pampered luxury full-time. And, since they can afford to, they do so. Nothing too complex about why some indulge in the more refined options.
7 ''My accountants pay for it all.''
Yes, this is right out of the classic Eagles song; although of course, Joe Walsh didn't exactly make this phrase up. Quite a number of fabulously wealthy people don't bother themselves with the more mundane tasks of their finances, with accountants and managers to handle their fiscal and tax responsibilities. There's nothing wrong with doing this, obviously, as long as those who have been tasked with such duties are properly monitored! The trusting wealthy who neglect to make sure the work entrusted to their accountants is followed through often end up with far less money in their bank account than they thought they had and a much larger income tax bill than was ever imagined.
6 ''I don't know where my money went.''
Those who went from wealthy to poor often make this statement. Even those who are currently still wealthy often say this. When you have a huge amount of net worth and you like to spend money without thinking, well, you are going to spend a lot of money errantly. Since no real attention is being paid to what's being purchased, a lot of money is spent without really thinking about where it goes - the epitome of bad budgeting. Many wealthy people are guilty of this until they, perhaps, reach an epiphany enlightening them about bad fiscal decisions. At which point they might start reigning in their out-of-control spending habits and get their finances under better control; some high profile cases of celebrities going bankrupt serve as a warning for irresponsible budgeters everywhere.
5 ''It's not how much you earn, it is how much you save.''
In stark contrast to the previous entry on our list, this saying is little more than basic economics and common sense. Wise words, likely to be heard from an experienced, older wealthy person giving this advice to young people or to those who aren't managing their money well. A common myth about the wealthy is that they earn all their money in one lump sum. Actually, the vast majority of millionaires never earned a million dollars in one year. They made far less, but saved a lot over the course of their life, avoided risk, and allowed the interest on their investments to compound. This might not be the fastest route to wealth, but it is certainly among the most tried, true and sensible ways.
4 ''I made good investments.''
This saying could, and often does, tie in with number 5 on our list. Many people who do have a lot of money are those who channeled their earnings into investments that contributed to compounding their wealth. High risk investments are usually not the real source of wealth generation. Rather, moderate and low risk investments that preserve and grow capital are. Why do so many wealthy people say they make good investments? Because they really did, and that's why they're wealthy.
3 ''Money isn't everything, but it's better to have more money than too little.''
This exact quote is attributed to legendary rock musician Gene Simmons and there are quite a number of variations on the theme. It could be that Simmons is channeling Ayn Rand when she said ''Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.'' The bottom line here is that money can't help you in areas of romance and spirituality. What it can do, though, is make things flow a lot more easily. From that perspective, money can at least buy you some measure of happiness!
2 ''Life was simpler before I had a lot of money.''
You'll probably hear this time and time again from those who lament that fame brought with it unexpected surprises. Elvis Presley, for one, was known to have said he wished he could just pop down to the local store and buy a cheeseburger without being recognized. Fame and money can sometimes create a trap, and the glitterati have the responsibilities that come with wealth and fame from which, it seems, they can never truly walk away . So, it can be said, amassing great wealthy comes with a price.
1 ''Money can never replace time.''
A famous saying by motivational speaker Jim Rohn, ''Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you can't get more time.'' Although many of us would likely take a bit less time for that much more money, this is is one of those statements that we'll probably all come to appreciate, both rich and poor. Arguably the rarest and most finite of all commodities is time and even the less well off among us can be guilty of squandering this valuable commodity in the pursuit of wealth, leading to a potential host of regrets. But when you have enough money to forget about it for a moment, the value of time might just become that much more apparent. For the bottom 99%, though, there's no time to stop and reflect on how valuable time is!