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hardcore_gamer

What do you consider to be "rich people"?

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Anyone who watches political debates has no doubt heard many politicians from the left and the right alike debate about policies towards the wealthy and the rich.

However, this got me thinking....what exactly is a rich person?

How do you define "rich"? How much money does someone need to own in order to be considered rich? And what is the difference between being rich and super rich?

I feel these questions matter, because a lot of countries have progressive taxes where people are taxed more if they own more. What is your personal definition of "rich"? And do you feel there is a difference between rich and super rich?

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Depends. I remember seeing on a Unicef children's book, a drawing by a Southamerican child (do not remember which country, specifically).

It had side-by-side the drawings of a wretched, hungry, unhappy family in grey, dirty colors and living in the mud, and next to it, a drawing of a stereotypical childish house with green grass, red roof etc. full of smiling people and kids watching TV. Above them it was written "Pobres" (Poor) and "Ricos" (Rich), accordingly.

As a kid, I didn't quite "get" this drawing, as I had a house and we had a TV, so did most of the people I knew, and I would call "rich" those that had more toys than me or whose parents had more flashy living rooms or larger houses. What I mean is, it's all relative.

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I believe access to a large amount liquid assists is more of an indicator of "rich", than income alone. A garbage man in NYC can potentially make 100k a year. He could save money, and move to a more affordable area of the country, and be considered rich. Owning property, having savings, eliminating debt, and investing money would be considered rich in my book. However, "rich" is a subjective definition. In the west, some may look at people living in tribal communities as being destitute. But perhaps, owning a large amount of cattle, or food stock would make that particular tribal person rich in their culture.

I guess "rich", means having an abundance of something that is required to ensure security.

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I'd place the line at the point where one can easily and passively live on simply thanks to accumulated capital/investments for a number of years, without needing to actually work.

Depending on lifestyle and how many years one plans ahead, this may vary. Someone having $1bn would probably be rich by any standard and be set for several lifetimes.

If I personally had $200-300K I could probably consider them enough to retire, and could make them last quite a lot with careful management. With $1M, I wouldn't even bother investing or accounting for inflation.

OTOH someone else might burn up that amount of money in a year, and not consider such an arrangement satisfactory. Interestingly, most people I asked that question (in their early 30s, no kids) set the "I'm rich" point at having a one-off amount of about $500K at their disposal for the rest of their lifetime, on the condition that they may not take up jobs or invest any significant amount of it.

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Anyone with a disposable income, after taxes, of about £20-30k plus a year, double that if they have wife/kids

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What Maes said, except of course that in Canada you need more than $300k to retire in just about any situation. People here seem to like trying to retire with a pile of at least a million.

Pisses me off when people who make far more money than me whine about how much more money they want while simultaneously buying loads of crap they never use. Grrr.

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Aliotroph? said:

Pisses me off when people who make far more money than me whine about how much more money they want while simultaneously buying loads of crap they never use. Grrr.


Let them buy all that crap, it helps to stimulate the economy. You could be the smart one that is frugal, and perhaps you'll surpass them.

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Poor people are those who can't afford to buy the necessities of the life (water, electricity, food, heat and maybe medicine) or pay their bills and loans.

Wealthy are those who can afford the basic necessities (same what I listed for poor) and they have enough to pay loan, or maybe they have no loan at all.

Rich... Well, everything what wealthy are and more, or they LOOK like wealthy and more, but have terrible amounts of debt. Maybe some connections to politicians.

That's how I divide it. Of course, the wealthiness depends from country to country. Like someone in Africa who keeps small general store stall could be considered rich. (Few years back I read article about guy who sold all sorts of items in small shack, don't remember exact details, but he earned quite lot compared to other people. And the amount he earned was still smaller than those who needs aid.)

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It's very subjective to even really consider because globally, nationally and regionally the general economics and standard of living vary pretty wildly. This is true even comparing western nations with each other or parts of one nation to another part as Kontra already mentioned.

do you feel there is a difference between rich and super rich?



There absolutely is, why wouldn't there be? The wealthiest people in the world are worth 10s of billions of dollars. Exuberant wealth that will persist through many generations of grandchildren. But more importantly at that point, you aren't just talking about a lot of money, but of unrivaled privilege, power and access for the sake of being who you are and having wealth in the first place. I might consider someone that makes 250k a year pretty well off and 'rich' at least for where I live, but they aren't that rich.

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I feel rich and happy with what my life is like and and the way it is.If nobody else likes it,tough shit.

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Quast said:

Exuberant wealth that will persist through many generations of grandchildren. But more importantly at that point, you aren't just talking about a lot of money, but of unrivaled privilege, power and access for the sake of being who you are and having wealth in the first place.


I wonder: is it possible to be truly "rich" without also having some "power" in terms of political, social and business connections? Or is it possible to stay rich for long without them? E.g. take a poor devil, and give him just $100M in cash and nothing else. How long will he be able to keep it without also becoming part of a certain "high status club" that will teach him various tricks like e.g. avoiding taxes, scammers, profiteers etc.? I remember this was the premise behind an Itailan novel called "Everybody can get rich except the poor", which explored, exactly, how a couple's life changed (for the worse) just because of the expectation of winning a large sum of money.

Is the "eccentric rich hermit" or the "secretly rich clochard" a myth? Is it really possible to just have a stash of cash somewhere and not proactively worrying about it? E.g. living a low-profile life by slowly tapping at a -secret- cash stash, without thieves, scammers, profiteers and the tax office eventually finding out, and starting to give you hell/pressure you, forcing you to become more active/connected/back in business just to defend the cash?

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CorSair said:

Wealthy are those who can afford the basic necessities (same what I listed for poor) and they have enough to pay loan, or maybe they have no loan at all.


Christ, I'm wealthy. Having said that, we don't really have much money after all the necessities for anything else in this house; my partner and I really are scraping by with the bare essentials and no room for additional 'quality of life' purchases.

To me 'rich' and 'wealthy' are basically the same; people with money in excess. It's relative as Maes puts it, but if you have money after essentials for frivolities then consider yourself at least a little rich/wealthy.

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The mega wealthy are fascist state allied monopolists who make money regulating and shutting down the free market all their competition rather than actually innovating or making something efficient. If anybody manages to make money legitimately it is a fluke and means they found a loophole that will quickly be shut down, absorbed and centralized by the powers that be.

I bet being a garbage man, mentioned above, is similar to this:

"Consider… what would it actually take to start working for yourself as a self-emplyed taxi driver? A car, a mobile phone and maybe $50 worth of business cards to get you started. Proof of insurance might be helpful to show difficult customers worried about safety.

Those are about the only natural costs. But the artificial costs are huge…

You can’t just start driving a taxi independently like that under capitalism without risking being kidnapped by people who would call it an “arrest”. You have to pay a large amount of money for special licenses. You have the costs of complying with various special requirements that go along with those licenses.

So one often has little real choice about whether or not to take a job working for someone else under the present system."
(from http://c4ss.org/content/7336 )

In a free market and free society, all human interactions should be voluntary under the non aggression principle (no forced car insurance or taxes, no compulsory schooling, etc). The only moral use of force should be self defense.

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To me 'rich' and 'wealthy' are basically the same; people with money in excess. It's relative as Maes puts it, but if you have money after essentials for frivolities then consider yourself at least a little rich/wealthy.


For your sake if you ever travel in France don't say that outloud, unless you want to get stoned by "poor" people throwing iphones at you.

Admittedly, many of them have started arguing having a smartphone with an unlimited calling plan and mobile Internet to be part of what is essential to function in society; along with the right to have a fulfilling sexual life, so that's dance clubs, movie going and eating out covered. You shouldn't work more than 35 hours a week for those basic necessities of life, and you should be allowed a minimum one month of paid holidays per year.

People live like that and call themselves poor. What's the alternative, if you want to keep victimization fantasies alive? Rich being a dirty word, the only acceptable solution is to keep redefining the standards.

As for the homeless guy on the street... That guy is ultra poor now. I guess those EMT teams and equipment only cost $1.25 a day. A miracle of modern progress!

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Throwing iPhones at me? Could do with a modern phone, I've got one with a 640x480 camera; and that's the most high-tech thing it has about it (seriously).

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Jayextee said:

Christ, I'm wealthy. Having said that, we don't really have much money after all the necessities for anything else in this house; my partner and I really are scraping by with the bare essentials and no room for additional 'quality of life' purchases.

I couldn't find a fitting word there by time I wrote that... :P

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gggmork said:

I bet being a garbage man, mentioned above, is similar to this:

"Consider… what would it actually take to start working for yourself as a self-emplyed taxi driver? A car, a mobile phone and maybe $50 worth of business cards to get you started. Proof of insurance might be helpful to show difficult customers worried about safety.

Those are about the only natural costs. But the artificial costs are huge…


Not at all, being a garbage man in NYC is different, its a municipal job, the city provides you with your truck and uniform. Moreover, they have excellent health benefits. The only trade off is you have to handle the garbage of one of the most populous areas of the country; that's a metric-fuck-ton of garbage. So you might have to handle trash bags that could possibly contain dirty needles and such. It's a really dirty job, so I think 100k is totally justifiable for that line of work.

Earning 100k in NYC is not a lot actually, it would barely make you middle class. Some of those people working in big corporations in NYC could expect to earn 250k and more. Someone earning 60k in a more affordable part of the country would probably enjoy the same buying power of someone earning 125k in NYC. The cost of living in NYC is insane because of high cost of real estate, and taxes. On top of that, finding a decent job is very difficult, because competition for those jobs are fierce due to the high population and other factors. That's why they say, "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.".

NYC it literally the most competitive city in the entire world.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/top-cities-global-competitiveness_n_1342169.html#s777920&title=1_New_York

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Perhaps cost of living in certain areas relative to pay is a big reason why their is so much perceived wealth inequality, when you look at it from a national average. Like I said, 100k in NYC may seem like a lot to someone living in Oklahoma or Missouri, but it would not even make you solidly middle-class in places like NYC. Wealth is relative to your environment, therefore these national averages are grossly skewed.

My friend wanted to move to Texas from New Jersey, because he thought he would still earn the same salary, while paying less to live over there. But he decided not to, because his company would have adjusted his salary to the cost of living in Texas.

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How much you make isn't as important as how much you keep. If you're that NYC garbage man who makes $100K but somehow don't have any rent or very minimal rent (let's say he lives with relatives who own their own home) then you have so much more to save & invest. If you're an IT dude making $150K in California but decide to live in an old RV and stay only in the cheapest lots in town, then you can save up tons of money very quickly. But most people don't do that. They fall into some kind of lifestyle trap, where they rent expensive places or have a mortgage, buy lots of stuff, date & eat out all the time. Then their comparatively high salary gets whittled away, so that they're effectively no better off.

Best scenario: live overseas in a cheapass place, but telecommute and make normal US salary. If you can pull that off, you're the man!

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hex11 said:

How much you make isn't as important as how much you keep. If you're that NYC garbage man who makes $100K but somehow don't have any rent or very minimal rent (let's say he lives with relatives who own their own home) then you have so much more to save & invest. If you're an IT dude making $150K in California but decide to live in an old RV and stay only in the cheapest lots in town, then you can save up tons of money very quickly. But most people don't do that. They fall into some kind of lifestyle trap, where they rent expensive places or have a mortgage, buy lots of stuff, date & eat out all the time. Then their comparatively high salary gets whittled away, so that they're effectively no better off.

Best scenario: live overseas in a cheapass place, but telecommute and make normal US salary. If you can pull that off, you're the man!


I wholeheartedly agree. Liquid assets are a bigger indicator of wealth than income alone. This is what people who struggled during the Great Depression understood well; how to be frugal and save. This is also a virtue that many immigrants in the U.S. understand as well, because many know what it means to struggle.

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Our income is pretty low but we're getting by. The amount of hours I need to work to have even a little bit of spending money generally prevents me from spending it anyway, so there's at least a little bit of growth.

I'm very careful with my spending though. I don't have cable or a telephone or trash service. For months we didn't even have internet. I buy non perishable food in bulk, seek for sales, and shop only at the cheapest grocery stores and farmers markets. We only eat out on anniversaries and birthdays, and never touch fast food. I never spend on entertainment, and pretty much everything I own has been preowned. I've been driving the same one car for 3 years and it's almost as old as I am. I (try to) take care of it, I rarely drive for anything unless its a necessity, such as my work commute or getting groceries, and I'm very finnicky about taking the fastest and most fuel-efficient route. I've been researching how to build my own furniture, such as picnic tables, shelving, and wall decorations. I also learning a lot of DIY home renovation stuff too. I time spent in the shower is very terse, I often shower with cold water, I turn off light switches as often as possible, and occasionally sit under candlelight if I don't need to read.

After all this I barely have any spending money after mortgage and bills, but my house is currently the only debt I have. It would be nice to live wildly and make irresponsible decisions like I see 90% of the general public doing, but I'd be a liar to say that I have a bad quality of life even without up-to-date electronics or freshly prepared food. I'm very comfortable and many of the things listed above are very habitual for me now. In the future I want to pursue a career where I can make the same amount of money I am now, but just work fewer days a week. The only thing I feel I'm lacking in is free time.

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I went from broke-ass poor to mediocre recently and that's the only thing I can define right now. Wealthy is something that I've experienced as a kid and it wound up being a bit of a fantasy. Thanks to observing my family, I now know how to dig myself out of the hole I created in my early twenties.

It'll just take time.

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fraggle said:

Wealth Distribution in America


By the way, I've seen this video once before, I can't really determine if there is a direct message to be elicited from it, but the tone of the video implies that this is a problem.

Is there really anything that should be done about it?

I like to believe that generally the people who have that kind of money have earned it in some way or another. I've been looking into investing in stocks but generally that doesn't become profitable for many years unless of course you take a great risk. I think it takes a lot of careful planning, opportunity seeking, and vigilance to invest in something that blows up in profits. While that's not necessarily proportionate to the level of work it would take your average minimum wage worker to make, it's more of an example of working smarter than working harder.

But in general, I'm pretty certain I'm surrounded by people with higher incomes than me, and it's tough to tell if they are really worth what they have. Still, I don't think it's worth resenting them because they have the stuff that I can't spend freely on. I'm certain I have the potential to become a multimillionaire. I think it comes with having the right education, being observant, and having the motivation to do what it takes. To look at my decision-making in question, I don't really have any reason to not constantly be looking for job opportunities. I just seem to go to the same low-paying job day after day with no intentions or expectations of change. I could probably find a company worth investing in if I cared enough to search for one, I could advance my education by taking classes or just finding some role models and talking to them. I just don't. I continue doing what I'm doing so there's really no one to blame but myself.

It's kinda like digging a hole to china with a spoon. While other's are experimenting with building shovels and pneumatic drills, I'm just sitting here doing my own thing, piecemeal at a time. I like to think most people are pretty comfortable with their little trowels and shovels, but people who are impatient and motivated will do whatever it takes to get there first, even if it seems unfair.

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40oz said:

I like to believe that generally the people who have that kind of money have earned it in some way or another.

Sure, we all like to believe that. To some extent there's a degree of truth to it. But is that true to the extent of the full disparity of the difference in wealth between the rich and the poor?

To use a simple example, suppose someone starts a successful business. Perhaps they become a multi-millionaire because of it. There's nothing inherently wrong in that, especially if they've worked hard to build that company up. But ultimately they didn't do all the work themself. It's hard to think of many examples of businesses where one person did all the work - the only examples I can think of might be artists or musical performers. In general they had help - from the employees or others who make up their business.

I'm not saying everyone should earn the same amount. If you work hard and build a successful business, then sure, you deserve the millions you make. It's just the sheer scale of the disparity that's questionable. One of the statistics cited in the video is that 1% of the population own 40% of the entire nation's wealth: do they deserve to be compensated quite that much? And if money buys power and influence, isn't that a potentially dangerous situation?

But worse, when we look at the data we see that income inequality is associated with all kinds of social ills. So it's not just some abstract feeling of injustice.

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40oz said:

I'm certain I have the potential to become a multimillionaire. I think it comes with having the right education, being observant, and having the motivation to do what it takes.

That people still believe such myths is bizarre.

It's 90% luck, circumstance and having/making the right social connections.

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