Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If you are content with where you are economically, would you refuse or reject becoming rich or wealthy?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26806points) March 25th, 2014

Curious of statements made in another thread, I figure I would pose the question to see if the statement had any legs. It was purported that people who are content or happy where they are economically don’t care if they ever become rich, or don’t hate they are poor, middle-class, working class, etc. That being the case if a person who was not rich and happy they are not, but content with what they earn or the wealth they have, if they found themselves in a super large windfall, however it came, where their net worth increased 700 thousand times what it was, would they reject the money? Would they give every last time away? What does it say about their truthfulness to their belief if they keep some of the money, most, or all of it? If they are content, would they not give all the money away or flat out reject it as to not change anything one iota in how their life was going?

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47 Answers

Berserker's avatar

As I am not content, then no, I would not reject wealth. I would accept more money. I find it hard to believe that many would reject this if it was just handed to them, not that I’m trying to justify my filthy, selfish self, mind.

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t reject more wealth even if content with my current situation. I am assuming the additional weath is not through ill gotten gains.

I can’t imagine anyone rejecting a windfall, but I can imagine people giving away and spending a windfall very quickly leaving them in the same spot they were before the money. We know it is a fact that happens sometimes. Stories of lottery winners, million dollar athletes, and movie stars winding up in financial ruin. Even on fluther I have seen people who have difficult financial situation say if they won money how they would give it away. I believe many of them. I don’t think those people want to stay in the same financial position, but it’s more like they don’t understand spending the money will leave them with no money.

herculies's avatar

Oh sure… money makes you wealthy, the way you choose to live makes you rich.

jerv's avatar

How would it be dishonest? If I were content where I was, got a windfall, and kept it, how does that make me a liar?

The only way this question makes sense is if one feels that anything other than perpetuating the status quo is dishonest; change is a lie, progress/evolution/alteration is fraud.

Bill1939's avatar

I am comfortably placed in the middle of the middle-class. When I was poor I would buy a lottery ticket every week. Now I would consider this a waste of money. However, should I receive a windfall I would use most of it to help those in need. My will equally allocates any remaining assets to my children.

Strauss's avatar

I am okay where I am economically, but there’s always room for improvement. That being said, even if I were comfortable (Like @Bill1939 above) I would not reject a windfall. It would share with my family—children, siblings and in-laws (mama always said if one wins we all win)—and then devote the rest of my life to philanthropy.

rojo's avatar

Regardless of where I am, or have been, I have often though that it would be easier and I would be a happier person with less rather than more. The more you have, the greater your responsibilities and worries about losing all your stuff.

GloPro's avatar

“People lie to themselves and say they do not want to be filthy rich, or wealthy beyond imaginations stating the rich are not really that happy and other poppycock like that.”

This is a direct statement from your answer giving an example of emotional fraud (whatever that is). You have a tendency to over think, to put words in people’s mouths, to twist responses to fit your mold that everyone is a hypocrite. Your OP is proof of this, as not one person stated they would reject a windfall. YOU put that up to satisfy your position.

No, I would not reject a windfall. Most people would not. However, that is not directly correlated to staying that I want to be rich. Wealth is not something I pursue, nor is it a priority of mine. It is a priority of mine to stay above the poverty line, or to live within my means. It is a goal of mine to be able to pay for things I want in my life, and to have a purpose in life centered around giving back. So my goal isn’t centered around being wealthy, which was the premise of your original statement and not what you listed above in this OP. my personal proof would be that I have quit a well-paying job because I felt dissatisfied making rich people richer. I took a job paying half of what I had been because it made me feel like I was helping make this world better, not richer.

As I believe this to be an entirely different subject than your emotional fraud question, I would say it would not be prudent for anyone to reject a windfall. However, it may not change the way people live because they put more money in the bank. You hear of people dying and leaving millions no one even knew they had to a charity, a church, a community, all the time.

Keeping money says nothing about their truthfulness. Being content has nothing to do with squirreling away money and not feeling the urge to spend it or change your life because you are content.

Cruiser's avatar

It really comes down to money can’t buy happiness or even contentment. Happiness is an emotion or state of mind that is free and simpy comes from appreciating the people in your lives and the things you do have. Opposite of that, people who constantly bitch and moan obout their lives or finances are painful to be around. And I have less patience for the wealthy people who complain that they are underwater in their McMansion because of the economy and housing collapse. Jeez Lousie don’t put yourself so far in debt and then bitch about how difficult things are.

marinelife's avatar

Wealthy? Don’t need it, but more than we have? I could use.

Juels's avatar

Content isn’t ecstatic. I’d rather be ecstatic. Sure, money can’t buy happiness but it can go a long way toward it. I’d be much happier if I didn’t have to worry about bills and my child’s college tuition. Then I could get that tummy tuck and boob lift. Perky tits=happiness Hell yeah, I’d be a lot happier.

If any content person receives unwanted money, please contact me immediately. I’ll be glad to take it off your hands.

Darth_Algar's avatar

TC – If you are satisfied with your meal but decide to take that slice of pecan pie offered does this make you a hypocrite?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jerv How would it be dishonest? If I were content where I was, got a windfall, and kept it, how does that make me a liar?
You would be dishonest in actuality to those who you banged the gong against the rich to. If you went around 24/7 stating that you did not want to be rich because money is this and that, it corrupts, etc. all the usual talking points, but a windfall hits you in the face then all of a sudden when you have the opportunity to be one of the mega rich you riled against then all of a sudden your rhetoric changes and the rich are not that evil anymore, that would not be genuine. It would be no different than blasting thieves, then having a situation where you can steal from the company, let’s say, and no one was able to detect it so you kept stealing from the company because the opportunity arise risk-free, or so near-free as to not be a worry. Would that still make you as honest as you said and better than the thieves you blasted simply because you now have the opportunity to line your pockets off the company profits? The only difference is the physical gain, the less than genuine attitude, for lack of a better word, is the same.

@rojo The more you have, the greater your responsibilities and worries about losing all your stuff.
Pound for pound the people I know with a lot of money seem to worry about stuff less than those who barely got it. The friend I know who has three mid-range vehicles have more insurance, maintenance and fuel cost but he is not as concerned about losing one of the vehicles has the woman I know who as an aging car she has to worry about how to keep running if something that should not be a car-killer like a radiator going out, needing a new cat, wheel bearings etc. Where the one friend can handle those repairs, even it if hurt the week’s budget, she could not because of her limited income. Having more money gives him more ability to weather a storm than she, that may not make him feel any less calm than her, but knowing you can solve a problem like that takes the pressure off quicker than if you did not have the money.

@GloPro This is a direct statement from your answer giving an example of emotional fraud (whatever that is). You have a tendency to over think, to put words in people’s mouths, to twist responses to fit your mold that everyone is a hypocrite.
Nope, that was their words. People I talked with and many I knew, blame the rich for why they can’t get into the upper tier if economic living, because the rich control everything and set it up so no one else can break through the glass ceiling. Many of these very people who say this play the lotto in hopes of becoming the rich they are disgusted with. When they get the money, should they win, they will hate themselves and reject the money as to not be like those stingy, greedy, conceited rich people? I think not, they will head straight to Bestbuy, the Benz dealership, etc. as many here said they would do, in so many words.

Keeping money says nothing about their truthfulness.
If they truly believe wealthy people to be somewhat less benevolent or truly nice people, then keeping the money means they were wrong if they believe they can keep the money and not be as the wealthy people they were blasting.

@Darth_Algar TC – If you are satisfied with your meal but decide to take that slice of pecan pie offered does this make you a hypocrite?
If you told me every day that people should not eat sugars and should only eat 2,100 calories a day but you will not hold to your own saying or belief, you tell me? If you know and expect that you may have pie and pie becomes available, then you are not being hypocritical. If a person would like to have more money should it became possible, and that the opportunity need not be passed up, they are not frauds to themselves even if they believed a person should live within their means.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Apparently I’m supposed to be upper middle class but I don’t feel or live that way. I have not been here long enough to really accumulate wealth. I would be keeping it and using it to create more. Then i’d be a philanthropist

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central You have officially announced that you don’t understand a damn thing, especially not about me or my positions. Who sets tax rates? Not the rich. Bill and Warren are of the same mind as me, so you’re calling them liars as well.

Face it, you just want an excuse to call everybody sinners, liars, idiots, or otherwise insult everyone, and after a few years, your behavior becomes tiresome to deal with. Come back when you either learn manners or learn reality; as it stands, you know neither, and thus have little to contribute but much that is legitimately flag-worthy.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Now you’re trying to shift the goalposts after being called out (many times) on your original statement.

talljasperman's avatar

I would like to have enough money to donate to PBS (Public broadcasting station) science aspects of Nova and Nova science now. So we could have more quality shows. I would like to have a science foundations to make science research and exploration as play grounds for adults an children. I don’t by lottery tickets, I put that money in my food budget. I believe that those who don’t have the grades to get into the ivory towers should not prevent one from contributing to science and playing with the toys… Accidents make science advance too… I would love to set the Hubble telescope to look at Venus and Mercury in the last days of operations.. seeing that the telescope will be scrap anyway… rookies and the average citizen should be allowed to play with the Hubble and other aging probes… instead of only having the elite doing everything. A fresh perspective could lead to more discoveries.

talljasperman's avatar

@talljasperman Oh and yes; I wouldn’t mind being earths first trillionaire. In dollars not any Zimbabwe trillion dollar notes.

Coloma's avatar

From one who has had money and now does not again, of course I would not reject the wealth.
Money DOES buy contentment, and while happiness is an inside job, I was very content in knowing I did not have to worry about making the bills, could afford to have fun, travel some, enjoy a large measure of financial security.
The biggest and best “thing” money buys is FREEDOM!
Freedom from oppressive worry to pursue and become more of what we truly are minus the chains of being a slave to earning.

There is no shame in being wealthy and comfortable unless it is wealth attained by ill gotten gain.
I wish everybody had plenty so they could truly enjoy their lives.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jerv Who sets tax rates? Not the rich.
What do taxes rates have to do with riches or wealth, in this regard lets simplify it to purchasing power, not immaterial riches of life and that crap? If you are full, do you want another bite? If one is truly content, then nothing extra or more would matter. If you have a spouse you love and she/he is enough, do you cheat? If you are content with what you have, home, car, money, whatever, if you receive more, you would not take it if possible or give it away, same as that steak you were offered when you already had to open your belt a notch.

Face it, you just want an excuse to call everybody sinners, liars, idiots, or otherwise insult everyone, and after a few years, your behavior becomes tiresome to deal with. Come back when you either learn manners or learn reality; as it stands, you know neither, and thus have little to contribute but much that is legitimately flag-worthy.
Because it doesn’t suit your narrow spectrum of light? If I really wanted to be insulting, you’d know it. As you say I don’t know anything about your situation, you know even less about my intentions. If you need the mods to step in and be your Luca Brasi because you shoot like Fredo, I guess I will have to deal with that as it comes, if you felt insulted by that, sorry…….I am trying to be as civil as possible

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Much of the resentment against the rich these has to do with taxes; any apparent gong-banging you hear from me is tax-related, therefore it’s relevant because you brought it up.

I can do trend analysis. Over the years, I’ve seen a blatant pattern with your posts. I know I’m not alone in my opinion, merely the only one that is willing to call you out. I will concede that you do have manners though.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jerv I will concede that you do have manners though.
I have no manners yet you and other do all of the insulting, how does those manners work for you?

Coloma's avatar

Now now, no taping razor blades to your spurs little cockerels. lol

jerv's avatar

@Coloma After that last post, I’m laughing too hard to fight any more.

@Hypocrisy_Central Thanks for the laugh!

Coloma's avatar

Couldn’t resist. lol

rojo's avatar

@Coloma our little cockfighter!

eno's avatar

In light of this evidence link or full article here link coupled with my personal experience, it seems people that say they’re content economically are frauds. It just takes some time for them to be exposed for what they truly are.

As for myself. I’m only content for a short period of time. As my salary increases, and when I collect on my new capital gains, I increase my standard-of-living to a higher level, AD infinitum.

rojo's avatar

@eno regardless of your link (which was interesting) I am not content. I don’t think it is money that would make me so. I have enough to be comfortable until I die but it is not making me any happier. I have too many worries and concerns about keeping it flowing in and taking care of my responsibilities. Fewer of the latter would make me happier. I am just the glue that binds the incoming with the outgoing and if I could eventually just make a direct link between the two, It would not matter whether I existed or not.

eno's avatar

Well look at what I just ran into. Here is a live example on fluther of what the studies showed link

Check out the answers. These are the same people that talk about helping the poor, the sick, the starving, the abused, etc. Instead, they’re talking about how to avoid paying taxes, splurging the money, and/or investing it. Like I said, frauds. Empty words. They’re great spenders (great do-gooders) with someone else’s money. “Tax the rich!—as long as I’m exempt.

jerv's avatar

@eno Driving a Benz without the optional butt massager in the drivers seat is less of a sacrifice than eating 5 days a week instead of 7 though. Don’t get me wrong, I see your point, and actually agree to an extent, but you mistake “content” with “happy”, just as the OP did and then use that to justify calling everybody liars as though it were a conscious bit of malice. That tends to generate spite that perpetuates or worsens things, so you just amplified the problem you’re complaining about. Counterproductive behavior is counterproductive… unless being provocative is your goal.

Berserker's avatar

They’re great spenders

jerv's avatar

@Symbeline There are people rich enough that they run out of ideas of what to buy, while us non-rich people tend to take our money out of the banks and do stuff like eat and drive, so yes, the non-rich are better spenders. The irony there is that, since a healthy economy relies on money circulating (mostly by being spent), the reason the rich were/are able to get rich is because of the very thing @eno is demonizing. But it’s unsustainable, so unless “Horse and sparrow” economics starts actually working, it’s all going to tumble down like a house of cards in an earthquake. We’re all being set up for failure by the only group benefitting from our success.

eno's avatar

@jerv – but you mistake “content” with “happy”,

No mistake.

adjective: content
in a state of peaceful happiness.
“he seemed more content, less bitter”
synonyms: contented, satisfied, pleased, gratified, fulfilled, happy, cheerful, glad; More

herculies's avatar

I am trying to follow this thread… Why are the rich bad? By the time I sold my company, I had almost 30 PhDs working for me… and hundreds more. I created over 50 millionairs when I sold.

Ok… so I am a 1%er, that’s the percentage that pays most of the taxes and creates the most jobs. For the privilege of living in NYC I pay over 30 thousand dollars in NYC income taxes. I pay. I pay state (25k) and federal income taxes on top of that. EVERY MONTH.

This company was created by me, jobs were created by me… and yet…

JLeslie's avatar

@hercules Nothing wrong with you being a 1%er, but spare me talking taxes in terms of dollars. I don’t give a damn that someone who made $200million paid $34million in federal taxes, because it is just 17%. I don’t use that number randomly, the top 400 earners in America make over $200million and pay an average of 17% in federal taxes. The middle class is paying more. More in terms of percent.

Berserker's avatar

@jerv Yeah, I know that, but the rich are outnumbered greatly by the rest of us, and I’m pretty sure that nobody here on Fluther is rich. I suppose I could be left rather surprised though. :/

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@eno Well look at what I just ran into. Here is a live example on fluther of what the studies showed
Instead, they’re talking about how to avoid paying taxes, splurging the money, and/or investing it. Like I said, frauds. Empty words. They’re great spenders (great do-gooders) with someone else’s money. “Tax the rich!—as long as I’m exempt
It is too simplistic, people will not see it. Maybe people do not really understand contentment. If one has a meal and have their appetite satisfied, the way people here are trying to play it off is that you would stuff yourself with a roasted chicken after you are already full and content with the steak you just had, at the same time saying I am full and need no more food. That other thread showed, most people want more junk, things, etc. than they have now, in spite they say ”I am OK with that I have”. Give them a lot of money most would not give 80% of it away to the less fortunate and just keep slightly more than what they have now, because people want stuff, the more money you give them, the more stuff they buy. When was the last time you seen a neighborhood of very wealthy people and seen a bunch of Toyota Yaris, Smart Cars, and old beaters, Nissan Cubes in the driveways? I bet if you look really hard, you will see Benz, BMW, Audi, Range Rover, and if it is a very rich neighborhood you will see Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Austin Martin, and the likes. Guess it must have been part of their CCR that they had to buy half million dollar cars instead of the Nissan Cube, they really wanted.

@herculies I am trying to follow this thread… Why are the rich bad?
The rich are not bad, people try to make the rich bad because they can buy and live the way the non-rich wish they could live. To make themselves fill better the non-rich have to say the rich are greedy, got their by stepping over the ”little guy”, shipped jobs overseas, etc. or because the rich will not share with them, the non-rich. Some will go so far as to say they don’t care to be rich or that they can’t or won’t be happier rich, and may even have more stress and headaches.

herculies's avatar

I drive a 1972 chevy silverado and a vespa.

Being happy is not a function of wealth, it is dependant on the individual. Some people know how to be happy… with or without money.

The drive that makes you want to be successful, is the drive that makes you happy. Examples? Learning how to ballroom dance is cheap and soooo enjoyable. For small fee you can take a class at the Art Students League (5 bucks more for a nude model)

The common (for me) thread of these examples is the effort it takes. Take the time to learn 1000 ways to have pleasure (of which sex is just one) and you will live a rich life!

BTW I have four airplanes. If that makes me a greedy basterd… I don’t care!

Cruiser's avatar

@herculies If you are ever flying over Chicago let me know as I would love to go for a flight and I would reciprocate by taking you for a spin in one of my 4 cars.

JLeslie's avatar

@herculies Actually, there have been studies showing a correlation between money and happiness. Makes sense, worrying about money can easily make someone miserable. Money gives people independence, autonomy, and security.

jerv's avatar

@eno That might be the root of the issue then; semantics. Most of the definitions I see, and the definition many people use, place “content” below “completely happy” on the “pissed”- to-“orgasmic” scale of satisfaction. Think of it as the difference between a grin and a smile.

@herculies It’s more because the system allows the rich enough tax breaks to pay a lower effective tax rate than the middle class. Ignore dollars amounts and look at percentages, then you will see. Now, if if you were rich to be in the top brackets, didn’t have enough breaks to get below 35% while the middle class is paying an effective rate of ~30%, yet still had enough to get yourself a new Gulfstream every month, it’d be different. Maybe a little jealousy, but not outright hatred. It’s when you pay 20% while they pay 25–30% that resentment builds, especially since there are few in those brackets that spend 30–70% of their gross income just to live indoors the way most people do.

As for creating the most jobs, no, top 1%-ers as a class often don’t. Jobs are created when there is a demand for goods/services. When consumers have less disposable income, demand goes down, so they couldn’t create a job if they wanted to. All they do is lend capital to people to people that turn around and lend capital to others who lend capital to others ad nauseum with less circulation (and thus, less economic stimulus) than there would be otherwise. I know the theory, but I also know history well enough to show that theory and fact differ. One may become a 1%-er by doing what it takes to actually contribute to the economy, but that’s more about what you’ve done than what you do, and many stop doing those things in favor of making their wealth snowball, at which point I don’t think they deserve rewards or breaks.

You created a company that made others millionaires as well instead of running a sweatshop and keeping all the loot for yourself, so I think you deserve a bit of prosperity. That’s more people that are able to not only live self-sufficiently, but actually have enough disposable income for luxuries that increase demand enough to warrant companies hiring more people. And @Cruiser sacrifices a bit of his own prosperity so that his workers have the same ability to go out and strengthen the economy. Sadly, there are enough unlike you that would rather keep the money for themselves and pass their bills onto you and I that people like you and @Cruiser wind up as collateral damage in the fight between normal people and those like the Walton family or Bank of America.

@Symbeline Probably not, or at least not many. There are some that are well-off people that think they are rich when they are, in fact, upper-middle class, but I doubt there are any billionaires here.

@Hypocrisy_Central If I had the money I may get a nicer house, but odds are that I’d just recondition/rebuild my ‘86 Corolla. Modern cars just don’t have the handling, mostly due to the fact that they are at least 500 pounds heavier, and over-dampened. Who needs that new-fangled power steering anyways? And yes, I’d still keep the big skull on the hood; a wealthier me would still be me.

@Cruiser I didn’t think one could have nice things anywhere near Chicago without being robbed. At least it’s not Detroit….

herculies's avatar

@jerv I stand corrected, mom and pop type businesses are the biggest employers in the USA. I believe we should follow the classical economic model (as championed by Milton Friedman) and I’m guessing you prefer the Keynesian school of thought. I am a free market capitalist.

@JLeslie You’re right, for this discussion I was thinking of people with steady jobs and some disposible income. I think everybody worries about money… in different ways sure.

@Cruiser When I fly crosscountry in my King Air 350, I fly somewhere between Chicago and Milwaukee. Chicago has too much controlled air space. Colorado is my favorite waypoint. I fly low thru the rockies for the view and the occasional eagle, I’ll get busted one day. I’ll let you know if I’m in the hood with my bi-plane… that’s a fun ride. I have met some flutherers around nyc in the past.

jerv's avatar

@herculies I wish we had a free market. Competition breeds innovation while keeping consumer costs down to remain competitive.

Cruiser's avatar

@herculies I am 3 miles from the Dupage County airport which should be outside Chitown airspace. If you ever get that bi-plane out my way I will be ready with bells on for some wing walking.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’m feeling the bromance here.

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