> I always want to say to people who want to be rich and famous: ‘try being rich first.’ See if that doesn’t cover most of it. There’s not much downside to being rich, other than paying taxes and having your relatives ask you for money. But when you become famous, you end up with a 24-hour job. . . . The only good thing about fame is that I’ve gotten out of a couple of speeding tickets. I’ve gotten into a restaurant when I didn’t have a suit and tie on. That’s really about it.
And there is also a certain asymmetry, because popularity at least can be bought to some degree but converting pure fame into lasting wealth is hard work if, depending on the circumstances, possible at all.
 My preferred definition is actually the ability to do what you want, when you want, and with whom you want, which is a little broader than simply money.
That's because it used to be true and was for quite a while. Fame means lots of people know who you are, which requires widely amplifying and broadcasting your identity and work. For most of modern human history, technilogical limitations made that broadcasting very expensive. You had to spend some money for each reached human. Think printing pamphlets in Dickens' era.
This meant that, generally, only the rich could afford to become famous. Fame following money and the direction was very rarely reversed aside from occasional cases of infamy like mass murderers.
Broadcast TV made that much cheaper. A single show could reach millions. But production was very expensive so even though the marginal cost per viewer was low, the barrier to entry was still very high. That meant few got in and those were mostly otherwise well connected or part of an established privileged class.
You do start to see an increasing number of "marginally famous" people here who got recognition from being guests or contestants on shows. Think "Jerry Springer" famous. These people tend to be quickly forgotten but have the misfortune of experiencing everything about fame with almost none of the money.
Then the Internet and video streaming happened. Now the barrier of entry is virtually zero — everyone has a smart phone that can shoot video. The marginal cost is zero — ads pay for distribution so the producer fronts nothing. Some money comes in, but its very little. So now there is a larger and larger group of people for whom fame came first and wealth came later or never.
I don't think our culture has caught up to that reality yet. There's still a presumption that anyone famous always has enough money to deal with the downsides but that's sadly not true. I honestly feel bad for people like mid-level YouTubers who have stalkers and death threats but are effectively making minimum wage.
Generally speaking, to me being rich (disclaimer: I'm not) means having that kind of money today and the confidence that, no matter what happens (barring large scale events like wars or asteroids) I will still have it for the rest of my life.
The moment you have money there is people out there that want to take it. It has always been, there is this part on the Bible that says that when you have money, there will be robbers making holes in your walls to take it. That was thousands of years ago.
It is human nature.
For me, being really rich is that you know the way to make wealth(not money) when you need it. This knowledge is more useful than the outcome of it.
There are many rich people who live ordinary lives.
You should also not be investing more than 25% of your assets into a single asset class, so you need to have $6-12MM of assets (range depending on considerations) in the first place.
I think having even $3MM is a reasonably called 'rich', but others may disagree.
Also, if you’re going to posit funds in other asset classes, you should also include the worst-case returns of those funds in the analysis.
sure, but "great" is not easily defined. A new car or a jet? A $500K home or a $15M one to host parties with rich and famous. But people usually like to show off, one way or another.
If you hit it big with a company, and have, say, $10 Million you can live extremely stress free everywhere in the world. And very few would know, at least no one in your town or extended family. But quite a few hint at their wealth, political donations, charity (announce it publicly) etc etc. It's tempting, but once you hit the news is over.
In USA people might sue you for one thing or another, but in banana republic countries you can "taxed" by criminals: Give us $1 Million or your child is...
What additional benefits are you imagining in which having more money would not "resign your children to mere comfort"?
The difference in stress of needing to hold onto a job, versus of being their voluntarily, is huge. And it's not binary. If you have a few years cushion saved up, it's a huge decrease in stress. If you have a mortgage paid off and enough to retire off of, most people in the world would call that 'rich.'
But yeah, living without money-related stress is how I'd define it. That doesn't even have to be a lot of money :)
Because there is an unlimited number of things you can do with it. You're limited only by time and your imagination.
I've never understood the premise I'm responding to, it doesn't make sense, unless a person has zero ambition and zero creativity - and I don't think that's true of anyone.
I could never have enough money. I could never run out of good things to use it on. Give me $100 trillion and a thousand years, please.
You could spend $100 billion and 60 years of your life on just going after Malaria and you might not manage to vanquish it. You could spend tens of millions of dollars and decades on trying to eliminate homelessness in a small city and still not eliminate it (swap out homelessness for any number of problems that need fixing in most any nation, or city). There is what might as well be an infinite number of good uses for money, at every possible scale. I'd run out of time long before I'd run out of positive uses for large amounts of money.
If someone says they don't want $30k because they live comfortably, even though they could immediately donate it to GiveWell, it's like saying they don't value saving other lives because their life is fine.
Substitute in anything else you value. You could sponsor modern art competitions, or film preservation, or buy land for ecological preservation, or help fund policy research on key issues from think tanks...
People reflexively associate money with consumptive hedonism, so it can seem like a negative, but it can also support almost any value you have.
Money can build you and tacky gold lined apartment and buy you a loud sports car, but money can also cure the sick, feed the hungry, and house the homeless.
My point is that you will probably never be rich. The concept of rich people is to be more healthy than most people. So you should probably not have a shitty lifestyle because you want to be one of them but you aren't succedding. If you enjoy trying, good for you.
Ambition and creativity is different than wanting to be rich. A researcher usually does not care about money but would love the frontpage of Nature or a Nobel price. A musician is usually more thinking about its art and the people than the sales. A politician wants power. Lots of examples.
Saving the world and making the society better with a lot of money is good, but thankfully rich people are not the only solution.
How do you know this?
If you mean without having to continue working, that is indeed what many would consider being rich.
Quite a few commenters on this forum live in parts of the world where that is not the case. It's certainly not the case for the majority of the world's population.
And welfare, even where it is available, is usually severely capped both in amount and duration. You may not die of hunger but losing your place to live is entirely realistic.
Most people want to be in a financial situation where they can support more than just themselves.
Also immigrating to a country with good social benefits does not solve the need to take care of elders and relatives , which would not benefit from the social system of the country to which you would immigrate
It's that, or people's "needs" (wants really) just got inflated over time.
Some people enjoy making money regardless how much wealth they already have.
In the end, learn who you are and what's comfortable for you, before listening to anyone else's advice.
But I think it goes the other way when you become super famous.