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Gosh I Hope I Never Get To Be Too Rich

Updated on December 6, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU in 1964. Worked in NYC for 2 years in public relations then as reporter and editor before retiring from The Hour newspaper.

Weeburn Country Club in Darien

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Wealthy people -- I mean really wealthy people -- often say that money isn't everything; that money, no matter how much you've got, can't buy happiness.

It's only fair to tell you from the start that I'm not wealthy, by any stretch of the imagination. In other words, I'm one of you (and if you're one of the exceptions, please accept my condolences.)

I only tell you this so you know I am speaking, not from personal knowledge, but rather from observation.

Pity the Rich

Strange as it may seem, I agree with those who say money isn't everything; in fact, I actually look upon most rich people with pity; I feel sorry for them!

Sure, you say: Look at all they have that we have to feel sorry for. Cash in the bank, the best house in the best suburban community, a nice boat, a Rolls Royce, their kids go to the best colleges; their wives work hard at the Ladies Sewing Club, play hard at the golf course and work their fingers to the bone volunteering at the annual clothes drive.

At first blush, being rich doesn't look so bad: But look again!

Those high paid businessmen (and women) you see boarding the early morning trains to The Big Apple often have very responsible and rewarding jobs. Many are leading figures in their industries and their accomplishments are often great.

The truth is it's all at great personal sacrifice.

No Life of Their Own

These magnates of industry truly do not have a life of their own. Once drawn in to the world of business -- and believe it or not it's a very small world -- their lives are not their own.

In spite of their wealth and their power -- and probably their long-forgotten personal desires to spend time with their families -- they are driven to succeed.

Seldom can they tell their fellow businessmen that they must miss that (always) important convention or stockholders' meeting to take their young sons to a ballgame, take their wives to a movie, or take their daughters to ballet lessons.

They'd love to, but they just can't miss that West Coast meeting because without it they'd be totally lost when they try to negotiate with Japanese tycoons in Tokyo next month.

But, that's all right! While all this is going on those bank accounts are adding zeros -- lots of zeros.

What else can they do with all that money?

Stepping Up the Ladder

Of course, they buy a bigger home, a bigger vacation home, a bigger boat, a bigger car. They choose a more prestigious college for their youngsters.

And, because they have to, not because they want to, they hire tax consultants and investment counselors; they upgrade their insurance and get themselves a good attorney to make sure they keep what they have.

But, when you come down to it, what's it all worth?

A Place To Hang Your Hat

What is the value of a home that's little more than a place to hang your hat? A car you seldom use? A vacation you rarely get to take? Or a place full of children you hardly know?

It probably looks good to many -- from the outside looking in -- but, for me, if I had it, I'd trade it all for a close family and one or two friends.

This is a "My View" column I wrote for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Feb. 26,1994. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages.

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    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      You're very wise, ericsomething. Everyone in this world needs some minimum amount of cash to survive, but chasing after more and more wealth is not unlike mining fool's gold.

    • profile image

      ericsomething 5 years ago

      Good stuff, William. Some years ago I read John Grisham's The Testament, about some multibillionaire wrestling with what he was going to do with his estate when he dies. He was busy chasing the zeroes, neglecting his family, and his kids had no clue how to live in the real world, let alone handle a fortune.

      Shoot, just so long as I stay in the black, I'm happy. The older I get, the more I like to keep things simple.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thank you, Rufus rambles. Making money is surely a necessary evil in today's world, but it should not be anyone's Number One goal in life.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I actually need relatively little to live comfortably, quicksand. Enough to cover my relatively small expenses and a few dollars for an occasional game of golf. Anything more than that would be superfluous.

    • Rufus rambles profile image

      Rufus rambles 5 years ago from Australia

      Yes success can breed more success and at times this is at the expense of your personal life. Good article.

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 5 years ago

      I guess you would not mind being rich, but being extreeeeeeeemely rich is what you don't wanna be, right?


    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      True enough, kiwi91. The middle and lower class certainly work at least as hard as the "working rich," but I think they get to spend more time with their friends and families -- and, overall, have a happier, more satisfying, life.

    • kiwi91 profile image

      kiwi91 7 years ago from USA

      A lot of people are like how you've described, ignoring family and making personal life sacrifices to add a few zeros. Then again, they might be working less than some of the middle and lower class that has to slave to the grind to get just a regular salary. I guess that's what they call the "working rich," what you've described.

    • thecounterpunch profile image

      thecounterpunch 10 years ago

      I think that many people persue money mostly because they feel insecure (at least when they haven't reached the stage of being super rich because it then become a game). Even maybe for the Rotschild family when they began: because at the beginning they were jews confined in a Ghetto in Germany.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, Krista. Yes, it's free! II'm pretty new here myself, but I've learned a lot since I joined. I'm not computer saavy at all. I've received a lot of help from other hubbers. It's fantastic. There's a great forum where hubbers will answer all your questions. And, Bob, you don't have to be filthy rich to order the best steak at a good steakhouse.

    • profile image

      Bob 10 years ago

      Bill.......True, but you know me . I'd like to be rich enough that when I'm at a really great steak house , I din't have to check out the price first.

    • profile image

      Krista 10 years ago

      Hello! great hub by the way. I 'm thinking of joining but i'm not sure if it is free? is it

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks for your comments, Ralph. The pursuit of wealth certainly results in sacrifice for millions of ordinary people as well as the ultra rich. I made no effort in this piece to tackle the many serious problems brought about by the expanding economy and imperialistic tendencies in the U.S. These problems include the destruction of unionism, the breakup of families, homelessness, the loss of manufacturing, the expanding national debt, the pursuit of world power ... it goes on and on.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Very true. However, the magnates of Richistan aren't the only ones whose job requires travel, weekend work and other sacrifices.

      Willie Loman wasn't a big shot. Many lawyers are required by their firms to bill more than 2,000 hours a year and many low and mid-level employees of corporations miss out on seeing their kids grow up.

      For several years my involvement in the international operations of a large American company required considerable overseas travel. One year I was in Spain on my wife's birthday (the company, unbeknown to the auditors, bought her a nice leather handbag) and I missed quite a few significant events in the lives of my three children. Even today when they are all grown up, my wife reminisces about events involving our children of which I have absolutely no recollection.