Who is the richest person you know IRL and are they happy?

My boss.

He’s pretty fucking happy.

Dude I went to school with, whos’ made it in LA-LA land. He’s pretty happy, but it’s not the money and sucess that’s made him happy. He’s always been a happy go lucky type of person, but what’s nice to see is that with all the money coupled with the celebrity status didn’t go to his head. Still the same guy, he acts like he puts on his pants the same way I do every morning except when he does it, he gets nominated for Oscars.

The richest person I know is a woman who I would guess is in the very high multi-millions or low billions as far as income/investments and she seems pretty happy. Or she was before she developed pretty serious cancer at any rate. I haven’t spoken to her much since then but I know she is spending a lot of time and money going through some painful chemo, radiation, and other procedures. My guess is that would be enough to de-happy most people.

Student Driver, in my experience (though it isn’t loaded down with examples), trust-fund babies who are brought up not understanding the value of work are basically lost souls. Off the top of my head, I can think of three I know who had to start seriously earning a living once they were in their 30s or later. One had a history of six wives while looking for happiness. Others I know were brought up with the experience of work and responsibility and handle their wealth much better.

I know one billionaire who used to have more fun with his money than he does now that he’s older. He just keeps expanding his business like it’s the only thing he remembers how to do. He’s checked out on life and seems to have lost or rejected his friends from his earlier days when his business was just getting off the ground.

I am acquainted with a few millionaires, none of whom seem unhappy. I do agree that they appear to be less stressed than the rest of us.

Ah, yes. But correlation works both ways. Perhaps happiness buys (results in having) lots of money.

I also realize that we have not shown a correlation, but it is implied.

I would guess it would be the divisional vice president in my department. I can’t claim to have any knowledge of his happiness level.

The richest person I personally know has been a close friend of my family for about 50 years. She was one of the first people over at my grandmother’s house the day my grandmother found my mom dead and was actually the one to answer the phone when I called after being told the news. She was widowed just a few months later … she and her husband had been rich for decades, though. You’d never know it by looking at them or talking to them; they raised 2 kids in a nice-but-simple house and have always driven regular cars. Their kids (now grown) are awesome, but just regular people.

Anytime they ever left the country was for some kind of mission trip. They are 2 of the truest Christians I’ve ever known. I don’t know what goes on in someone’s head or heart but I daresay the money isn’t why she’s happy, or why he was happy when he was still alive.

As far as how much cash … there’s just no telling. Maybe 10 million? 15?

I have a friend who was a founder of SUN and when I met him was worth about $100,000,000. He was a professor at Stanford, had cashed in his SUN shares and invited me to spend a couple weeks there and later a month. The first time I met him, at a meeting held here in Montreal, I had no idea he was rich and invited him home for an ordinary meal, which he seemed to appreciate. Except for a fairly fancy house in Palo Alto, with a swimming pool and two Mercedes in the garage, he really didn’t act rich. When I visited him, he had one of his grad students take me on a day tour of SF. We went all over and walked half way across the GG bridge (and back, of course). Later that grad student gave an interesting talk on his idea for a new search engine. When that grad student later started a company (with a friend) his professor, my friend, invested a million or so in the startup. The student’s name: Sergei Brin. So now my friend could well be a billionaire.

I think he was happy. He paid a financial advisor to manage his investments and never thinks about the money. The main thing you note is that if a dozen people go out for dinner, he always picks up the check. On the other hand, he did let me reciprocate. He always bought lunch at a Thai soup canteen set up in the basement of his office and one day, I paid for his lunch: $4.00.

The richest guy I know owns part of a successful corporation. He seems very happy flying aroud in his private jet, hanging out with his beautiful wife, watching his kids play ball, and bouncing around like a hyperactive kid making one business deal after another on his cell phone. He also strikes me as an arrogant and morally bankrupt prick, but he seems happy.

I know several other millionaires who often seem depressed, stressed out, and/or irritable. One of these millionaires in particular seems to be an extremely nice guy in a lot of ways, but he’s kind of a non-confrontational person whose life/work is such that confrontation can be difficult to avoid, and he’s bummed out because he lives in an enormous house and his ex-wife lives somewhere else with his kids, and I think he has a drinking problem. He smiles often and is very friendly when we talk, but I actually worry about his mental condition. Financially, he’s probably as secure as any of us can hope to be; emotionally, however . . . not so much. :frowning:

No, I don’t think money buys happiness.

That said, I think I’ve been happier myself in life when I’ve had a lot of money than when I’ve been struggling.

I don’t think money can buy happiness, per se (I wouldn’t mind being given a few million to test it … ya know, for science), but poverty sure as hell buys misery.

You’d be hard put to find evidence to support that, I think.

I know lots of lawyers who make over a million a year, and I’d say it’s all over the map as to whether I think they are happy or not. For most it’s just too hard to tell because I only really have a professional relationship with them.

I have an uncle who’s an entrepreneur and who founded his own company. I don’t know his net worth, but I do know that the product he sells (a piece of industrial equipment) has an eight-figure price tag (and usually pays for itself within a year). He seems quite happy, but I don’t think it’s that he’s bought happiness: Most of his hobbies seem to be relatively inexpensive. Rather, I think it’s mostly just that he loves what he does.

I’m a contractor and occasionally do work for a guy that has millions. His home and property are huge and are located in a very exclusive gated community. (To give you some idea, Kobe Bryant looked at several home there before deciding to stay a little closer to the Staples Center.)

He and his wife are very down to earth and sure seem to be happy. I see them sometimes at Home Depot, Target, etc… Even his kids are friendly to my crew and I.

The thing that stands out in my mind is how generous they are in the community. His 6 car garage holds five vehicles, all bought locally. His checks are from a local bank not one of the national financial institutions. The money stays right here in our town. I live nearby and sure appreciate the business he sends my way. When he was building his home, he employed countless tradesman for over a year.

He sent his son to the public high school which its a highly rated school, but could have easily afforded the private school nearby. And when budget cuts made a big hole in the football team equipment budget, he stepped in with some help. My daughter (who is on the drill team) assures me that his son is still riding the bench.

And I must say that when I hear certain politicians gripe about how the rich aren’t doing their fair share, it really bothers me. So far every one of the posts in this thread tell of happy, generous people who for the most part worked hard to earn the money they have.

With few exceptions, the rich partners from my old law firm had rotten relationships with their families.

I know a guy who made several million in a business he started, then married a daughter of someone who is insanely rich. He runs his own company and travels the world to golf all over the place. He’s one the nicest guys you could ever know and has an extremely generous profit-sharing plan for his employees.

Don’t know for sure but I think a sister-in-law of mine is well off. I don’t know for definite as she’s not very open and chatty about things, but as far as I can tell she owns a house in the City and a second home in the County, she drives a BMW and has employees, but I’m blowed if I know what business she runs - she might be a solicitor or similar. Like I said, she doesn’t say much beyond “hi, how are you?” and other passing the time of day type things.

Similarly I can’t tell if she’s happy or not, she doesn’t seem to be overly morose, but seems to have a problem ‘relating’ to me. I gave her a gift card [value of over €100] for Dunnes one Christmas as I’d no idea what to get her (I usually make the effort to find something the person will like) she was disgusted. Apparently Dunnes is not the sort of place certain people shop and is a ‘tell’ that she is wealthy.

(Yeah I used to give people expensive presents, but I’ve stopped doing that now)

I’ve always kind of thought that would be the case, but I’m inclined to chalk much of my ex’s problems to her genuine mental illnesses rather than her trust fund. Her parents (themselves trust fund children) were hard-working, her brother and sister both were hard-working in the arts community, and when she was on an even keel, she was no dilettante, working on multiple huge, ambitious art projects and was an academic star. She was no party girl. (That said, most of the trust fund babies I’ve known have been the vapid, snooty, gaudy, and ultimately empty types you’d expect.)

The trust fund did hurt her relations with other people. She showed her love by spending money, and believed that those who spent her money were the ones who loved her most. And a manic episode combined with the money to indulge every whim is a horrible thing to behold.

A friend of mine is from a very rich family - certainly in the many millions class. He had a pretty lively time in his twenties, but now in his forties he has calmed down a lot, and seems to me to live an enviable life. Obviously he doesn’t need to work, but he runs a small antiques business which is basically just a hobby. He travels when he feels like it, and basically just bimbles about most of the rest of the time. He’s got a beautiful partner, of twenty years standing, and a couple of lovely kids. Happy? Yeah, he’s happy.

It’s an odd thing though, never having to worry about money, but he doesn’t seem to care about the things money can buy. Sure he lives in a nice house, but it’s not an amazingly expensive one, and he drives a van most of the time, and his wife drives a small hatchback. The only remotely flashy thing is his music room - thousands of records and CDs - and the best kind of audio equipment - not silly audiophile gold cables and that, but just really excellent stuff, Linn turntables and the like.

All of the people I know are much happier than if they didn’t have any money. Except perhaps the person who lives alone in a penthouse and is slightly off-kilter. If she got out more she might be happy. But then again it might exacerbate her already existing problems so I dunno.