Rich, Poor, Materialism, Ethics, and Ferraris

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My family was celebrating the 4th of July with family friends. They own a vending company. They are multi-millionaires.

My dad is a surgeon. My parents are probably millionaires.

Another doctor was at the party. An anesthesiologist. Probably a millionaire.

He was adorned in Tommy Bahama gear. Head to toe. He just had bought a new BMW 7 Series. He had a Rolex on. His hair is highlighted.

I was sitting next to my my older sister, gossiping. She has more of a negative personality. She is poor and makes about 30k a year. She struggles with making ends meet.

She was gazing at him.

"That is sad," she said.

Days later, we began an online convo about money and status and materialism. She said she "gave up" dreaming because she thinks owning things doesn't buy true happiness. Her dream was to have a large house with a white fence and a horse farm, much like my parents.

I agreed with her, saying that true happiness indeed comes from deeper things, such as having children, etc, but that there is no doubt that my parents get a "high" every time they drive up their long driveway to their beautiful house that they've worked hard for.

I also said that the anesthesiologist (from the party) may be into image. But, really.. who really cares? I mean, he helps people in his job, hes good to his wife, his kids... isn't he living the dream? Maybe he has fun dressing up and looking nice?


I was just talking to a friend who wants to make money. Hes made money. 100+ per year, decent income, for the last few years. He is smart, hard working, and dream of hitting the bigtime. Hes a great salesman. (He once told me he'd love to drive a red Ferrari)

But he grew up with liberal democrat parents (nothing wrong with this). He said his dad wouldn't even TALK to the doctor who was adorned in the Tommy Bahama gear

I find that a shame. He'd not TALK to the guy because he was dressed in fancy clothes?!

Anyway, my friend then went on to say that if I talked to 10 Ferrari owners, most would be pricks who did something unethical to make their money.

I argued against this, as I believe this is a huge fallacy that society makes of these people.

My dad could drive the Ferrari, so could this Doc, so could the other guy who owns the vending company. Do they do unethical things? I don't think so..

I then went onward to think of 10 people i knew who could buy fancy cars. Are they unethical, evil people? No, not at all.

What about the people who I do know that DO dress nice and drive in fancy cars. Are they unethical, evil people? Not that I know of.

Its just interesting to hear people's different views of status and money. I see both sides, but I feel that the whole rich = evil as a really jaded and almost unhealthy perspective.

I also do not know if I like it when people give up dreaming. However, on the flip side, maybe dreaming results in never being fully content in the moment?
  • Profile picture of the author sarahberra
    Yes happiness does come from non tangible things such as having children, watching the sunset etc. Money just provides more comfort. I've seen poor people who are unethical slobs and rich people who are nasty mean people. Yet, I have also seen rich people who are the sweetest most giving people in the world and poor people who are humble yet have character and try to help others with what little they have. People can be good or unethical regardless of their financial status.
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  • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
    A fellow I know has managed to alienate most of the friendships had years ago. He built a nice business and sold it. Add that to his real estate holdings and his net worth in the low tens of millions.

    The more wealth he accumulated, the more of a prick he became. I have seen him put down others to their faces because he has more "wealth than they."

    On the other hand my wife and I have several friends who could buy and sell "the prick" several times over, yet they are just as nice as can be. We've been to parties with these people, have them visit our home, and you would never know they had a dime. The are not out to impress anyone.

    One couple are both physicians, and he also inherited a family fortune. Oh yes, he drives a Toyota Camry. Several years ago she took 6 months away from her practice (and he took 3 months away), temporarly moved to Kenya where they both gave their services FREE to folks who needed it, and both were greatful for having the opportunity to do so.

    It's not the money that makes the person, it is the attitude.


    BTW I do own some Tommy Bahama gear. I bought it at an Outlet Mall, over a holiday weekend when the store was having a 50% off sale - 50% off of the outlet store's normally low prices. Whooo hoooo! See, anybody can own that stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
      Originally Posted by Don Schenk View Post

      It's not the money that makes the person, it is the attitude.

      There it is, right there.

      Money only brings out MORE of who you really are, because one has less fear of consequences because of the security or perceived security of "buying" one's way out of any harm or obstacle.

      The 13th Warrior
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Liking fine things isn't wrong at all. Some people crave expensive watches - I don't even wear one. Never would turn down diamond earrings or an Alexandria bracelet, though. Some like extremely expensive sports cars. If I had a billion just laying around to spend I'd not have one - I like my 4WDs. Fine clothes are terrific if..... the style looks great on you. If they don't look good the prestige of the label is thoroughly wasted. And of course, living in our dream home definitely is something that people can be extremely ecstatic about.

    It's not owning fine things that is wrong, it's when the person has an obsession with expensive things because they feel that being able to have them makes them better than anyone who can't afford them that people get wiggy.

    As far as people having fine things being evil? Some are. Some get their money by wiping the floor with others. Some are also taught so by parents who can't afford luxury and need an excuse for their lack of achievement or learn in their local churches that money is evil. Not everyone is evil because they have money to spend and spend some of it on themselves. Some people think unless someone spends every damned cent they have on helping those who don't have that the rich are evil. There are all sorts of people who make excuses to not have a fine life themselves or to discredit those that do because the money isn't flowing the way THEY want the person to spend it. There are also a LOT of people who continually hit up the rich to give, give, give.

    The attitudes people have against the wealthy are often the reason that the wealthy end up with their own attitudes against those who don't have so much. Frankly, if a person with money isn't walking on someone else to get it or using it to control how other people live their own lives, why is it even an issue? Why is it anyone else's business what other people earn, have, or how they spend it?

    My parents were well off, but not rich. My family had a prestigious place in our community. I was taught that other people's money and their sex lives, etc and so on were not any of my business and not to be a topic of conversation. The only time money was ever mentioned out loud in society was during a charity event or if someone tried to scam someone or was found stinkingly corrupt. Otherwise - people are people. Some are awesome and some are absolute trolls. You can't tell by what they own which category they fall into, you have to know them.

    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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  • Profile picture of the author bizfox
    People have different definitions of success.

    Unfortunately when you talk about financial success, it's lonely being at the top. Losers will say everything they can to procrastinate and justify their poor lifestyles.

    Money is not evil. Lack of it is. Don't give up. Haters gonna hate.
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  • Profile picture of the author Grace26
    For me I find tru happiness when I see everybody around me happy. When they suffer my heart suffers with them too. Yes material things sustains one's life but true happiness for me is in giving and helping those in need.
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    Originally Posted by The Oilman View Post

    Anyway, my friend then went on to say that if I talked to 10 Ferrari owners, most would be pricks who did something unethical to make their money.
    lol - I think that your friend might be on to something there. And these aren't the ones that "could" own Ferraris, they are the ones that "do" own them. Because think about it, if you've worked hard and have made all of the right financial decisions to get you into a rich enough status to be able to afford a Ferrari, the spending mindset that got you there will prevent you from buying it. Now instead of thinking of it as a "fun car", you're thinking of it as several pieces of equipment for you business you could have had. Or the several new employees you could have had working for you.

    That's not how everyone would think of course, but I think you're friend may be mostly right.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    The Oilman,

    Garyv is right. I have known people that could EASILY afford expensive stuff, and go reasonable. And I have known a number of people with EXPENSIVE cars(like over $90K), and most ARE jerks. Some that have FAR cheaper cars could afford fancier.

    Do I think people with lots of money are jerks? NO. But a lot of jerks work to LOOK like they have a lot of money even if they don't, or have "cool" stuff. YES folks, some of the people that have the $90K+ cars can't even afford them.

    BTW WHAT is so special about "Tommy Bahama"? I checked out the style of clothing, nothing special, etc... Watches? Nothing Special. HECK, the PRICE of the watches isn't that high.

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