Just some food for thought…...I'm going to talk about the so-called dream.
In the beginning, many people who make it to the top one-percent, financially, start off similarly. They will live in an eight-bedroom, six-bathroom house with a pool and a hot-tub, inside a screened-in patio. In the patio will be a kitchenette section with a grill, a mini-refrigerator and a bar setup overlooking a lake. They will have a dock with a boat sitting on a lift. The house will have a three-car garage with three luxury-cars parked inside. Outside the garage, there will be a driveway with an extended drop-off area to drop someone off in front of the enclosed courtyard surrounding a three-tier stone fountain in front of a labyrinth front door. The landscaping is always lush and well-manicured because there is always a crew of some kind maintaining the property that is commonly a one-acre lot. There is often a maintenance team working inside as well, making improvements or fixing something. Because of all the required maintenance and upkeep these houses require, it's not uncommon for these homeowners to hire property management companies to manage their home.
I realize today that this so-called dream is dramatically changing as it is becoming less of a preferred lifestyle. Most people who live a lavish lifestyle end up leaving it, never to look back again. I know this because I have worked for this class of people. I have observed and noticed that over the years they get tiresome and slowly let their investment rot when they begin losing the motivation to keep things up. Usually, this happens when they realize the dream lifestyle is more of a headache than it is glamorous.
I remember going to a house to do a job at seven in the morning. When I arrived, I parked in their driveway because if I parked on the curb, I would have had to walk a few hundred feet to get to the front door. I drove around the full-circle, drop-off area next to the in-law suite behind a canary-yellow Lamborghini Diablo. I quickly noticed the mangled spoiler dangling over the bumper, held by the brake-light wire. The car was dirty and covered in morning dew. Leaning on the car were two garbage pails and the bottom part of a children's plastic basketball hoop that is typically filled with sand or water to keep it stable. I remember looking at it and forming a thesis on why I was looking at what I was looking at.
Here is my take on how or why a $250,000.00 car was neglected and left outside where the elements will beat on it all day and night. First of all, before I start, you must realize that we are all limited. There is only so much you can do on a daily basis. Most of the time, I don't see people buying many things and enjoying them all, equally. Most of these people would build a mini-empire only to give it all up and live in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a basic economy sedan in the garage. This usually happens after their motivation to maintain their empire dwindles and they start to see their investments start to deteriorate with time.
When you own a huge million-dollar home, you have to run it like a hotel. There is always someone manicuring the landscaping and lawn. There are always housekeepers cleaning up the house while the maintenance people are making a mess. It's as if the owners never enjoy true privacy because they are too busy managing others to keep their house in check. Owning a home like that is very draining (to say the least). It's as if most of the people who live like this need to get it out of their system and be able to say they did it. It is short-lived and soon ends when the owners realize it wasn't what they thought it would be. I'm not suggesting that everyone who lives like this bails out but, from what I have personally witnessed, it is more common than not.
Here is what I have personally witnessed on countless occasions. I will start with the first item that stops being used which is the boat. Most people who buy a boat will practically live on it for a few months then never look at it again. If you don't run a boat engine once a week, you will soon run into problems when trying to take it out for a ride. Also, the entire system needs to be flushed, lubricated and re-serviced after a year of non-use. This is usually done after a few years of non-use before being sold for a fraction of what it originally cost. The next thing to be ignored is the pool, yet the headaches of maintaining one remain. It is at this point the homeowner swears that the next house won't have a pool. However, the hot-tub might be used during the year when the weather is cool. Also, if the grill setup had been installed to complete the tropical-getaway pool-vibe, then it will become a home for rodents. Next to be ignored is the motorcycle. Similar to the boat, it must be thoroughly flushed if not used for more than a year. Also, the battery will need to be replaced. The next thing to go is the fountain. Usually, after the water pump burns out for the fourth time (because it was left to dry out), it is drained and used as a gigantic planter, which looks elegant in my opinion. Soon the only rooms in the house that are occupied are the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom. I had a customer who had no idea what the other side of his house looked like. His exact words were, “It's been four years since I have been to that side of the house.” The last thing to go would be the house because life's too short to battle something so big that deteriorates so fast. When these people end up living in a lovely three-bedroom, two-bath house in a safe and serene area, they seem more relaxed and happier.
The whole point of writing all of this is to add some dimension to your views on wealth. It is to help you understand that you may be a lot closer to living a lifestyle you cherish than you think. The only way you will know what your relationship to money should be is by coming to terms with what experiences you truly desire to experience. The experiences you wish to have may not require a lot of fiat currency. In fact, I am pretty confident that most of you do not want what you are "supposed" to want.
On a side note, I would like to emphasize that I was talking about the top one-percent in the United States. If you make $32,400.00 or more a year (as of 2019), you are in the top one-percent earning-bracket in the world.
I obtained that figure from this article.