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ESL Advanced Lesson Plan – Does Being Rich Make you Miserable?

Updated on April 14, 2015

Lesson Plan Contents

Everyone dreams of having more money. We can all think about how our lives would be improved by having a little extra, but are there any downsides to being filthy rich? Find out with this appealing ESL lesson plan suitable for advanced levels.

Time: 60-90 minutes.

Level: Advanced


  • Warm up.
  • Reading activity.
  • Gapped text.
  • Discussion questions.
  • Vocabulary match.
  • Gap fill.
  • Speaking activity.
  • Answers

ESL Advanced Lesson Plan - Does Being Rich Make You Happy?

Warm Up

  • How often do you think about money?

  • What kind of problems do you think rich people have?

  • Do you think it's better to be rich and lose all your money or never have it in the first place?

Reading - Does Being Rich Make You Miserable?

Most people dream of becoming wealthy at some point in their lives. People believe that if they had more money they could do this, buy that, go there and it would make them happier. But when members of the Quora questions-and-answers site were asked if being rich made you miserable, the responses were not overwhelmingly 'no'.

One of the respondents revealed that her parents' printing firm took off and the family became millionaires. The downside was that her mother became addicted to being wealthy, constantly wanting more and becoming increasingly controlling and obsessed with money. Finally the family fractured and the parents divorced. The respondent believes that her mother, who has visited every country in the world, is not genuinely happy. She says that “getting comfortable is worth it. Getting rich is not.”

An anonymous respondent who made $15 million in his/her mid-20s also chimed in to the topic with another point of view. Whenever you have a problem, frustration or a need, people respond with a 'cry me a river' attitude. People stop treating you as a human because you are wealthy, believing that money will iron out any problems. (a) ….................................... and even if you do, there will be very little sympathy for you.

Another downside is how much you can trust people. The respondent wondered if people were being nice to him because of the money or because they genuinely liked him. His wealth made him more fascinating to women, but it also affected his self-esteem because he was dating women who found him superficially attractive, (b) ....................................... As a result, he ended up wasting more time dating people who were not genuinely interested in him.

Furthermore, you can find yourself at odds with your family and friends. They can treat you differently and their expectations are sometimes unrealistic. They might expect loans and presents, which can cause disappointment and resentment if they are not forthcoming. It also creates a sense of isolation. The anonymous respondent believes that “being rich is better than not being rich, but it's not nearly as good as you imagine it is” because you are constantly chasing the buzz. The first month you drive an Audi and eat in a posh restaurant, (c) …................................ and are looking for something that provides more excitement.

One entrepreneur, who has been rolling in it since his mid-20s, says that the excitement he felt for buying things that were once unobtainable is now gone. He became addicted to buying status symbols to get attention from people and have them spend time with him. He bought 5 Porches and other Supercars while still in his 20s, (d)…...................................................... Even though he could easily spend $20,000 on a night out or take 25 holidays in a year, being wealthy can create an emptiness and loneliness that you've never experienced before.

Another contributor found wealth to be a personality multiplier. So if you are a cruel, paranoid or greedy person, then wealth will only make you crueller, more paranoid and greedier because you have no reason to be nice to people (e) ............................., if you are a kind and generous person, then you're likely to become a kinder and more generous millionaire.

Insert the correct sentence into the space. There is one extra that you do not need.

but then you get used to it

on the plus side

it's easy to blow $50,000 in the casino.

but boredom and disappointment quickly set in.

you should not complain

but were not compatible

Discussion Questions

  1. Would being rich make you happier?

  2. Some of the millionaires and billionaires from the site talk about loss of purpose, laziness and greed. How would you try to keep your feet on the ground if you became uber-wealthy overnight?

  3. Do you think that the super rich have no right to complain?

  4. Do you think that being rich would change you in any way? How?

  5. If you won the lottery today, what would you do tomorrow?

  6. Would you hide the lottery winnings or go public?

  7. Would you quit your job if you were rich? If yes, what would you do instead?

  8. How much money would you need right now to feel secure?

  9. Would you ask a rich relative or friend for a loan? How much would you ask for and how long would you take to repay it?

  10. What kind of gift would you expect from a rich person?

  11. Does wealth lead to happiness and poverty lead to misery?

  12. Most children are happy and they have no money. Would you like to return to this state?

  13. Do you think being rich would separate you from a part of society? Explain your answer.

  14. If you were rich, would you be suspicious of potential boyfriends or girlfriends?

  15. If you were extremely wealthy, would you ask for a prenupital agreement?

  16. Do you think that being able to afford any material object is satisfying or is the struggle to save and buy the object more rewarding?

  17. If you were comfortable financially, would you donate to charity? Which charities?

  18. Do you know any stories about lottery winners?

  19. Everyone wants to be richer. Why are we always chasing the dream?

Vocabulary Match - Phrases

Rolling in it
A possession that indicates a person's status or wealth.
cry me a river
Be very rich.
iron out any problems
Interject a remark.
chasing the buzz
Trying to find the next most exciting thing.
chimed in
To smooth out a problem.
Phrases - Underline all the words and phrases from the text.

Vocabulary Match - Words

A person who starts a business.
Very strong in response.
Elegant, stylish or upper-class.
A person unidentified by name.
People who are well-suited to each other.
A negative aspect of something otherwise regarded as good.
Not deeply.
Not able to be obtained.
Made available when wanted or needed.

Gap Fill

Use the words and phrases from the vocabulary section in this activity. Use the correct form.

  1. Sam was rushed to hospital yesterday after ___________ his arm during the rugby match.

  2. Hundreds of years ago in China it was a ____________ for women who didn't work to bind their feet.

  3. She has a very _________ accents.

  4. Does anyone else want to ___________ with their opinion?

  5. You have to do your homework instead of watching the movie? _____________!

  6. That guy must be _______________. Have you seen the quality of his suits?

  7. The boss of the company was distressed that financial support was not _____________ from the banks.


Speaking Activity

Discuss with a partner which of these items are the most important. Because they are very essential to our survival, try to decide on 3 items that you could do without.

  • Food

  • Peace

  • Family

  • Internet

  • Self-esteem and confidence

  • Relationship with a man or a woman

  • Work

  • Books

  • Entertainment

  • Transport

  • Technology

  • Political freedom

  • Friends

  • Shelter

  • Human rights

  • Personal safety

  • Health

  • Clean water and fresh air

  • Opportunities

  • Education

Lesson Plan Answers - Does Being Rich Make You Miserable?

Answers - Insert the sentence

(a) you should not complain

(b) but were not compatible

(c) but then you get used to it

(d) but boredom and disappointment quickly set in.

(e) on the plus side

Answers - Vocabulary Match

Rolling in it - Be very rich.

cry me a river - When someone is complaining about their lives and you have no sympathy for them.

iron out any problems - To smooth out a problem.

chasing the buzz – Trying to find the next most exciting thing.

chimed in - Interject a remark.

status symbols - A possession that indicates a person's status or wealth.

A person who starts a business-entrepreneur

Very strong in response-overwhelmingly

Elegant, stylish or upper-class-posh

A person unidentified by name-anonymous

People who are well-suited to each other-compatible

Not deeply-superficially

A negative aspect of something otherwise regarded as good-downside

Not able to be obtained-unobtainable


Made available when wanted or needed-forthcoming

Gap Fill

  1. fracturing

  2. status symbol

  3. posh

  4. chime in

  5. Cry me a river!

  6. rolling in it

  7. forthcoming

    Credited sources: and

© 2015 Muttface


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