Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Grow Up Rich

| April 14, 2014 | 25 Comments


I know it sounds strange, but I’m glad I didn’t grow up rich. Sure, I probably would have had more opportunities and wouldn’t have had to worry about things like student loans or paying rent, but all in all I don’t think I would have been as happy with my life as I am right now.

You see, for me the struggle is half the fun. I’ve always been driven, I’ll probably always want more, and I love to dream that the sky is truly the limit. If I had grown up as a Hilton where anything I wanted would come to fruition with the snap of my fingers, what would be the fun in that? There’d be no challenge, no way for me to see if I could have been a success without my family’s money or connections, and that just sounds downright unsatisfying to me.

How this thought process came about was I read an article in The Globe and Mail about the late heiress Peaches Geldof who recently died at the young age of 25. It’s still a mystery how she died, but reading about how much she did during her short 25 years on Earth was pretty intriguing. She was born to rich and famous parents, and thus was thrust into the limelight at birth. Similar to Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie, she was a party girl growing up, eventually evolving into a more mature fashion icon and TV personality. She also married twice and had two children. By 25 I think the craziest things I did were visit Africa and move in with my boyfriend. I guess things just move a lot faster when money is no object.

That being said, the most interesting part of the article was when it explained that “most [people who] are brought up with great wealth (categorized as fortune of $25-million U.S. or more) are generally dissatisfied with life, and in many cases prone to depression.” I know that if I was born into a rich family, I’d definitely fall into that category. The thing that drives me the most is the hope that I can surpass what my parents achieved. They both came from practically nothing, raised 3 children, and somehow afforded a house, two cars, family vacations, and financial assistance for my sisters and I when we needed it most. They conquered some big goals, and my only hope is that I can do all of this while having the career I want and being able travel as much as I can. That’s why I work so hard, put such an importance of being financially savvy, and pick myself up after every failure. If my parents were billionaires, how could I ever surpass their achievements? It’s not hard to see how it would be easy to feel like a failure and become depressed with impossible standards like that.

You know when you’re having a rough day, but then remember that there’s always someone in the world who has it worse than you to gain some perspective? What gives me perspective and ultimately happiness is knowing that I’m responsible for my own success. Although I may have a long road ahead of me, I know that that just means I have a lot to look forward to. I may have come from humble beginnings, but no matter what I would never swap my shoes for those of some trust fund baby.

Are you glad you didn’t grow up rich, or do you wish you were born into wealth? 

Category: Mo' Money, Wealth & Investing

Comments (25)

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  1. I’m definitely glad I didn’t grow up rich. Money isn’t everything and kids like the Kardashians are so screwed up!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Why I Would Rather Be Poor Than Work for Someone ElseMy Profile

  2. Although there is money in my extended family, I definitely did not grow up rich with my immediate family.

    However my parents moved thousands of miles to a foreign country with not much, but eventually managed to land secure jobs and provide a house for their two children and quite a lot of out of the province family vacations.

    I used to think I wanted to do better than my parents, but now that I see how much they’re enjoying their retirement and living off their pensions, I hope to have the same life in the future.
    MakintheBacon recently posted…GUEST POST: Moving to Australia? Top 7 reasons why you need health insuranceMy Profile

    • I still think it’s amazing how so many of our parents have come from nothing or traveled to a new country and started new lives from scratch. I only moved provinces and it’s not easy!

  3. Too much money really is a problem. I’m glad I didn’t grow up filthy rich.. I’d be a big brat I think.

    It’s also pretty sad she died at the age of 25. :(

    I see in my extended family that they’re rich but not happy either. Money doesn’t bring or buy happiness, you have to either accept that you are happy with your life or not. It makes no difference how rich you are, above a certain income.

  4. Amanda says:

    I didn’t grow up rich, but because I lived in a small, semi-remote town, NO ONE in town was rich. Sure there were the families that had bigger houses or went on trips more often, but I never really felt that divide between “rich and poor”. Looking back now I can see that there was more of a divide than I had realized as a kid, but I’m so grateful that I didn’t realize it back then.

    I was actually talking about this last night, and heard a story about how a father gave his teenage son a cheque for his birthday. Instead of reacting like most people would think, the son threw the cheque aside and was insulted and hurt that his father wouldn’t show any more effort. I can definitely see how being rich could lead to depression!
    Amanda recently posted…Tales from a Tenant: The Fight for Free CableMy Profile

  5. I’m glad I didn’t have rich parents, but loving parents that give me their support every time. Although, I’m still curious to know what it’s like to be born with rich and famous parents.
    Money Saving Dude recently posted…5 Benefits Of Investing That You Need To Know NowMy Profile

  6. Michelle says:

    Great post! I think that if I was born rich, I would constantly be asking “what is next.” Never being satisfied with the little things in life has to be frustrating.
    Michelle recently posted…My eBay NightmareMy Profile

  7. Thanks for this post! What a great way to put life into perspective. Like you, I came from working-class background with hard working parents who loved us and gave us what they can. Most importantly, they taught us how to work hard and to prioritize all the things that matter in life: family, friends, and building community. :-) I won’t trade that for all the money in the world!
    Anneli @thefrugalweds recently posted…Frugal Reads Of The Week (ending 4/12/14)My Profile

  8. I’m glad I didn’t grow up rich, because I know the value of hard work. I’m very driven and can find pleasure in the simple things. I’m also very empathetic and realize how lucky I am. Great post, and very sad about Peaches. Can’t believe she did so much at 25 as well!
    Melanie@Dear Debt recently posted…The Weekend I Have Been Waiting ForMy Profile

  9. I’m glad I didn’t grow up rich. If I was, I think I’m spoiled, brat, rebellious. Being unrich, I was able to learned many things such as household chores, and conquering many trials in life. Most rich kids doesn’t learned everything, when their parents died early, it is hard for them to cope up because they used to depend on them always.
    Marie @ 724 Credit recently posted…Your Rights When It Comes To Credit RepairMy Profile

  10. When I was younger I wished I was born to a wealthier family so I could get ‘better’ stuff that my friends had. Now I’m grateful I was born to my family because I learned to appreciate money better and realized that money wasn’t everything and that happiness wasn’t measured by it.
    Suburban Finance recently posted…Three Areas Of Your Home That Need a Deep Spring CleanMy Profile

  11. How true indeed that money is not all and be all as the world have seen with what happens to people who have so much of it. I believe the reason why people who work hard for money are happier in the most secured sense is that they know the real value of money.
    Jen @Sprout Wealth recently posted…How to Start Investing in the Stock MarketMy Profile

  12. I’ve often thought about this, I agree with you. While some part of me probably does wish I grew up rich, for the most part I think growing up rich will give you entitlement issues. And yes the struggle is important…it builds character and your worth ethic. I’d prefer to build my own success story and be proud of that rather than saying that mommy and daddy gave me the money.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…My Journey to Financial LiteracyMy Profile

  13. Jorja Alcorn says:

    This is so interesting! I didn’t grow up rich though I am also curious how it is to be one. Those who are born rich are mostly dependent on their money which makes them less happy people when they are out of their comfort zone.

    • I think that’s true. I’ve never felt that dependent on money for my happiness because I’ve always found I can find ways of being happy without any money at all. I think if I grew up with excess I would feel more dependent on money, and probably wouldn’t understand what it meant to be happy with nothing.

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