25 People Who Got Rich Later In Life Are Sharing What Surprised Them Most About It, And I've Truly Never, Ever Thought About Wealth This Way

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Have you ever wondered what it’s REALLY like to come into money when you lived without it for so long?

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1.“What surprised me is how easy it is for people to ask for money from you. I’ve had family and so-called friends ask me for not even a few hundred dollars, but thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. One friend asked me for $18,000, but to please not tell his wife and he would pay me back. A family member asked me to help pay down their credit card debt, which was over $49,000 (!!!!!), and after I declined (because I had helped this person once before in the same situation), they came back and wanted to know if I could give them one of my two cars. It’s sad, to be honest, and to put anyone who has money in that position is very uncomfortable. I’ve had to cut people out of my life for my own sanity.”

—Anonymous

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2.“I’m surprised by how much I dislike the company of the affluent. I feel like there’s a verbal dance that they all know and perform in social settings while I awkwardly sit on the side. I also feel disgusted when they brag about dodging taxes. And it also bothers me when they brag about their accomplishments, neglecting to show appreciation for the privileges that helped them along the way (corporate connections, private coaches, trust fund, etc). Most poor people will offer credit and appreciation to those who helped them along the way, but I seldom hear affluent people do the same.”

—Anonymous

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3.“Losing friends. It became difficult to talk about my life as the differences grew, and it became awkward. Friends no longer care to hear about my vacations, my new home, or my life…and if you can’t share with your friends, who can you share with?”

—Anonymous

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4.“The biggest shock to me as someone who didn’t used to have money but does now is how little awareness rich people have that they are rich. Everyone thinks of themselves as ‘middle class.’ Everyone thinks that their experience is the average experience. I remember a roommate in college buying herself a $300 ring as a reward for finishing a course and telling me that it ‘wasn’t that expensive.’ Even though I have money now, I have never forgotten the value of a dollar, and my sense of ‘affordable’ versus ‘expensive’ has not changed. As uncomfortable/distasteful as it might feel to call yourself rich, it is FAR less distasteful than trying to pretend that your circumstances are similar to those of someone with far less.”

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5.“They say money can’t buy happiness, but I don’t think that’s quite right. Money can’t buy you love or maybe fulfillment, but it makes life easier, more fun, less anxiety-inducing, etc. It’s also surprising how meaningful the little stuff still is. My partner’s and my annual income is close to $1 million, but I still feel like it’s a treat to get a manicure.”

—Anonymous

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6.“I can pay for ‘convenience’ things, like having my groceries delivered to my house, even though I know it costs me more. That allows me to bank time for the things I actually enjoy, like spending time with my family.”

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7.“Being able to say yes to things! My entire childhood was having to say no, having to make up white lies about why I couldn’t go to school things like camp, birthday parties, or even going to get ice cream with friends. I spend most of my money now on experiences and time with people because these are always my greatest memories. I’ll often pick up the bill so others can join too, as I never was able to.”

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8.“When you’re poor, people always tell you to save your money: ‘Stop buying those lattes and spending money on clothes.’ Wealthy people know how to spend money to make money. They know that hiring help is an investment. They buy things in order to accumulate assets, and they have the means to do so.”

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9.“I started signing up for auto-pay on all my bills, since I no longer had to worry about over-drafting my bank account. The headspace that clears up is incredible.”

—Anonymous

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10.“What shocked me was how rich people will laugh at poor people without realizing that it’s weird. I also notice that even if rich people think they’re grateful for all they have, sometimes they can still assume everyone can have the experiences that they do. Like, I’ve heard my family tell others, ‘Oh, just book a nice cruise,’ as if that’s a normal thing everyone else can afford to do.”

—Anonymous

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11.“How relaxing it is not to have to worry about paying bills and knowing I can handle an unexpected expense. ‘It’s $800? Okay, can you have it done by Wednesday?'”

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12.“The most recent thing was going to a store and finding a dress I really liked, but the small size wouldn’t zip, and the medium size was too big. At first I felt disappointed, but then I remembered I could tailor it. Now that I can afford it, the majority of my clothes are tailored just for me. I love having a closet full of clothes that fit perfectly.”

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13.“What surprised me most is how easy it is to spend all your money.”

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14.“The BEST PART is having all three meals and groceries stocked every day, and not having to think twice about spending on necessities, plus financial knowledge, investments, and whatnot. The WORST PART? How others started viewing us. People who once cornered us because we didn’t have money decided to be extra nice and wanted to be friends, and those who were with us cheering on in poverty were suddenly not happy that we were doing better, and would tell people around us that we spent too much on essentials.”

—Anonymous

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15.“I was surprised at how uncomfortable having money made me. I am still uncomfortable with unnecessary or fun purchases. I think I’ll always be a frugal person, or just waiting for the bottom to fall out. I have everything I need and I’m able to put away a substantial amount of money for my children’s college each month, yet I still have this anxiety that I won’t be able to afford food, basic car maintenance, prescription drugs, or utilities. These are all things I had to choose between when I didn’t have money, and I feel as if I’m an inch away from that at all times (when, logically, I know I’m far from it). Growing up in poverty, and living in poverty as a young adult, is very much a trauma.”

—Anonymous

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16.“How much you have to pay back in taxes!!!”

—Anonymous

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17.“I think there’s an element of rich people who REALLY believe that wealth purely comes down to hard work, when sometimes, people just can’t get the chance for their hard work and saving of money to pay off.”

—Anonymous

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18.“I don’t have to save my condiments packets, fast-food napkins, or plastic containers anymore. I have perfectly good Pyrex containers. I don’t have to save every box. I don’t have to save every stained shirt to use as a cleaning rag. I can turn the AC on. I can take an extra-long shower. I can buy my kids toys that don’t come from the clearance bin. If I buy myself a coffee instead of making it at home, I will still have money to cover an unexpected expense. I have that cushion. What I didn’t expect was the guilt I would feel about it.”

—Anonymous

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19.“What surprised me the most is my intense fear of losing everything. My husband and I live below our means, buying most of our clothes secondhand and driving 20-plus-year-old cars. Despite that, I constantly fear that we’ll spend too much money and we’ll lose our savings. Or that we’ll get robbed.”

—Anonymous

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20.“When you have the money for most anything you want, you don’t want as much. We all, in a way, want mostly what we can’t have.”

—Anonymous

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21.“How easy it is to get more money when you — get this — already have money. A 2% APY on a high-yield savings account? This more than pays for my basic living expenses on an annual basis. It’s not even invested in the market — it’s just sitting in a bank!”

—Anonymous

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22.“The first thing that shocked me was the overwhelming sense of calm and peace from knowing that no matter what came up, it could be handled without having to worry. I cleaned up my outstanding credit accounts and paid off my mortgage. I also retired two years before I had intended to. In reality, without this wealth, I probably wouldn’t have been able to retire for five or six more years. I also ran into a medical issue just after I retired, and while my health insurance took good care of me, I could have handled the $115,000 surgery had I needed to.”

—Anonymous

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23.“The worst part? How fast my mindset was able to shift (seriously, in a week) from counting every dollar and discerning how well I was spending to now recklessly having days or weeks of blowing tens of thousands of dollars (or more) and only realizing it months after my no-limit American Express statement comes in. Where the heck does all of this money really go and get spent? How did I even get here?”

—Anonymous

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24.“Being able to buy fun stuff for my kids — yes to field trips and school fundraisers, yes to ice cream treats, yes to game tokens at a carnival, yes to McDonald’s, yes to new school clothes.”

—Anonymous

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25.And lastly: “I found that old habits die hard. Having grown up very poor and food insecure, I still worry about how much food I have and if there is enough to get through the week. It doesn’t matter that in the almost 30 years since I left home, I have never gone hungry, and that I can now afford dinners at whatever expensive restaurant I want. I have never forgotten always being hungry.”

—Anonymous

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Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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