Net Worth Serenity: When Feeling Bad Is No Longer Allowed

After receiving significant criticism for my post, Embrace Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck To One Day Be Free, I find myself contemplating the existence of a net worth level that brings about serenity and inner peace, prohibiting one from feeling troubled. Is there a financial threshold beyond which emotional turmoil becomes unacceptable?

Despite my attempt to turn a challenging financial situation into a source of motivation, critics vehemently argued that certain emotions like worry, anxiety, and stress should no longer be experienced once a certain net worth is attained.

The contention arose when some insisted that living paycheck-to-paycheck should only be attributed to those facing both cash flow and balance sheet problems. Someone truly in such a dire situation must work multiple jobs and also must feel a level of despair so deep that prohibitive thoughts start entering their minds.

It seems the debate extends beyond the numbers to encompass the nuanced interplay of emotions and financial well-being.

Net Worth Threshold When You Can No Longer Feel Bad

The primary metric we'll use to assess when negative emotions must stop is the single variable of net worth.

Annual income won't serve as a determinant, as critics argue that an income problem alone doesn't qualify as living paycheck-to-paycheck, even though that's its most pure definition.

Besides, we already know that earning over $500,000 a year brings about supreme happiness. Just look at the chart below. 100% of people who make over $500,000 are “very happy”! I'm surprised the professors haven't won a Nobel prize yet.

ideal income to be happy

While only using net worth simplifies the evaluation, the challenge lies in navigating the nuanced factors influencing one's right to feel troubled about their financial situation.

Although this might seem like a strange exercise since we can’t help how we feel, society arbitrarily determines many things, such as who gets preferential treatment in college admissions or who gets hired for the most coveted jobs.

Let’s start the exercise!

Net worth between Negative to $300,000: OK to feel bad all the time

Based on the latest U.S. Survey of Consumer Finances, the median household net worth in America was approximately $192,000 in 2022. If your net worth falls within the range of negative to $300,000, it's reasonable to experience constant feelings of financial distress.

You have the green light to publicly vent about all your problems to the world, e.g. the drive through line at McDonald's is ridiculous, let me talk to the manager! With a negative net worth, you will gain more empathy from people who are willing to listen to your issues and provide advice.

Net worth up to $1.5 million: OK to feel bad most of the time

The Consumer Finance Survey also notes the average household net worth in America was $1.06 million in 2022. Considering a ~50% buffer, it's acceptable to occasionally feel down about your finances with a net worth of about $1.5 million and under.

Given most people are average, nobody hates on average people or those slightly above average. In fact, there's a great sense of comfort being part of the majority. As a majority, you can take credit for what a minority came up with because you simply got them outnumbered.

Net worth between $1.51 – $3 million: Can only feel bad sometimes

Surpassing the $1.5 million net worth threshold places you in the mass affluent class in America. With a net worth exceeding $1.5 million, you outrank over 80% of the population. Empathy from the majority diminishes, making it acceptable for you to commiserate only on occasion.

To avoid appearing ungrateful or entitled, you can only feel troubled once every six months. If you dare display any more than one negative emotion semi-annually, you might get on a secret list of entitled complainers.

Net worth above $3 million: Can no longer feel bad if you live in a non-coastal city

Reaching a net worth of $3 million marks the onset of true millionaire status due to inflation. At this level of wealth, few people will empathize with your problems. If you reside in a non-coastal city, crossing the $3 million threshold implies you must endure challenges in silence, as your experiences may be difficult for others to relate to.

If you live in a non-coastal city, once your net worth breaches $3 million, you are not allowed to feel any pain or suffering. There is an expectation that you manage your struggles privately.

Have a disloyal wife who provides no emotional support? Divorce her, you can afford it. Have to work 60 hours a week under constant stress? You're lucky to make so much money and have so much responsibility. You kids got bullied by the cool kids? Tell them to suck it up!

If you live in an expensive coastal city like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Seattle, you are still allowed to feel bad once every six months given the cost of living is so much higher. However, anymore and you risk being ostracized by your community.

On your social media channels or when you're talking to others publicly, you must always display a positive face and share how good everything is. Never show any weakness or negative emotion or else the piranhas will begin to bite.

Net worth above $13 million: Not allowed to feel bad anymore

Surpassing the $13+ million net worth threshold in 2024, a top 1% net worth, eliminates the right to feel troubled. Regardless of health, marital, or family problems, possessing wealth greater than 99% of the population implies a capacity to address all issues with money.

Given we live in an ultra-competitive society, nobody will give two licks about your suffering. They assume struggles at this level are self-inflicted, and blame rests solely on the individual.

Finnish people aren't allowed to feel sad given Finland consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. Can you imagine getting angry at paying for a bland Karelian hot pot when joy is all around? So how dare you ever feel sad being one of the richest people in the world! Shame on you.

Happiest countries in the world
Source: World Happiness Report

Reduce Sharing Your Troubles Publicly

If you share publicly that you’re doing well, people will tear you down.

If you share publicly that you’re struggling, people will call you an idiot or worse.

Therefore, if you want to minimize emotional fatigue, you had best keep silent about most of the things you're doing and feeling.

If you have a high net worth and want more “credits” to be able to acknowledge the troubles you are feeling, then share them privately, preferably with people of your same socioeconomic class. Alternatively, you can try to convince people you have a much lower net worth than in reality.

Envy is a human condition. If your net worth level is higher than someone, a certain percentage of people will find you greedy. It won't matter how hard you worked, how diligently you saved, or how much risk you took to build your above-average net worth; people will not give you credit for your efforts.

There Will Always Be Challenges No Matter How Wealthy You Are

Sadly, money won't solve all your problems. On the contrary, the more money you have, the more problems may occur.

People may come out of the woodwork and start wanting something from you. With more money, you might end up buying more things you don't need, which end up weighing you down. You might also have a more complicated estate with a lot more headaches the wealthier you get.

But until you accumulate more wealth, I'm not sure you'll believe me.

At what net worth level are you no longer allowed to feel troubled?

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Reader Questions And Suggestions

At what levels of net worth should a person no longer be able to feel troubled? Put it differently, how poor do you have to be to never be judged or criticized for your situation or actions? When do you think you’ll feel net worth serenity? What are some other arbitrary rules we can create to dictate who gets to feel and do what?

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74 thoughts on “Net Worth Serenity: When Feeling Bad Is No Longer Allowed”

  1. no thank you

    Do I think having a couple million in the bank would make me happy? No idea, but would love to find out.

    What it would do is make me less stressed out about my everyday life financial burdens and that would make me extremely happy?

  2. There’s the existential threat to our existence – either individually or collectively – that causes me the biggest angst, particularly since October 7th. Money is irrelevant when the place where I live no longer feels safe.

    1. Can you elaborate on the events that happened on or since Oct 7 that has made you feel unsafe?

      Staying on topic, does this mean no matter your net worth progress, you will be troubled?

      1. Sam, I hope that you are kidding.
        Hamas attacking and murdering more than 1163 Israelis and many hostages taken for no reason other than pure evil/hatred towards Israel.

        1. Thank you. What are some of the thing you are doing to ameliorate the situation? Are you also living in fear of your life?

          I’m curious whether you and everybody in your circle are feeling this type of fear on a regular basis since Oct 7 and how you are coping.

          1. Hi Sam, not sure if your questions were directed at me or Rich, so I’ll go ahead and answer. I left the United States for 2 months (December to February) and stayed in a Latin American country with zero antisemitism, in a small village surrounded by like-minded people. As soon as my kids are launched, I’m moving there full-time. Money has nothing to do with it. And yes, I’d say that everyone in my circle feels this type of angst and fear on a regular basis, though it probably depends on how close people are to those who were kidnapped and murdered on October 7th. One of my child’s classmates was murdered at the Nova Festival on October 7th. My child’s best friend is fighting in Gaza, alongside his father and younger sister. My friend’s son’s friend was kidnapped (Hersh Goldberg Polin). Peace activists were murdered; people who had driven Gazans to and from Israeli hospitals for years were kidnapped and murdered; the founder of NGO Women Wage Peace was murdered. Bedouin Muslims were murdered and kidnapped. Thai foreign workers were murdered and kidnapped. It’s obvious that no matter where one lies on the political spectrum, if you get in the way of a terror organization, you are the target. Many of my friends and family have regular nightmares and have trouble sleeping. I had jaw pain since October 7th due to poor sleep quality and teeth grinding when eventually I do fall asleep. The pain only dissipated after being out of the United States for over a month. If you have any Jewish and/or Israeli friends and you haven’t actually asked them how they are doing since October 7th, it’s never too late to start now.

        2. You living in Gaza or the West Bank, Rich?

          Believe it or not, many things have happened since October 7 and on October 7. The world doesn’t revolve around your fears.

          What does this have to do with the topic of this post?

          Snap out of it, otherwise, you’ll always be living in fear.

          1. I think it’s natural that people think other people have the same concerns and hopes and expectations they do. That’s why if you share a household budget or an income that’s different from someone’s, some people get very upset because it’s different from theirs.

            When a toddler closes its eyes, it thinks the world cannot see them.

          2. Derek, I was just positing an answer that Sam asked. See the question that I answered.
            Also, I am not living in fear.

      2. To answer your second question first, yes, no matter my net worth, I’m still concerned for my personal safety, and the safety of my family and my community. As long as I don’t feel safe, net worth is really irrelevant. Seeing how the terrorists broke into people’s homes on October 7th and broke down their reinforced security rooms means that there’s really no safe place. Spend all the money you want on a security room – it won’t be enough if the terrorists really want to get you, which they did on October 7th.

        The left in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe has become a cesspit of antisemitism. (I’ve always considered myself hard left.) Or maybe it always was, and I just wasn’t paying enough attention. Universities are no longer safe places. I’ve been harassed on the street for being Jewish. I’ve been told that celebrating Chanukah is offensive. I am afraid for my children to go to school/university. I no longer feel safe in the United States. And Australia, where my spouse is from and where my children hold dual nationality, is significantly worse, starting with violent protests on October 7th itself in front of the Sydney Opera House with chants of “gas the Jews.” Every day I open social media and receive a tsunami of hate, in English. It’s extremely distressing and I’m trying to get off social media. All of this is somewhat off-topic, except to point out that if you can’t enjoy your day-to-day life because of your current personal situation (for whatever that might be – safety, security, stability, health, etc), then net worth is almost irrelevant. I’m fortunate that I worked hard, saved a lot, invested well, and retired relatively early, and I don’t need to worry how we will pay the electricity bill or where our next meal will come from, but safety and health are top priorities. Without those, we cannot enjoy life.

        1. Having lived in Sydney for several years, I was astonished to read your statement that “gas the Jews” was chanted in front of the Sydney Opera House. And of course, it turns out to be untrue:

          Sorry, but the notion that you’re fearful for your safety in the U.S. simply because you’re Jewish is absurd, besides being off topic.

          1. You don’t get to tell me about my own lived experiences or tell me when and where I can feel safe. You have no understanding of my lived experiences. Like the time someone screamed at me in a public place that “You love genocide.” There are multiple studies from the ADL, the FBI, and more showing that antisemitic hate crimes in the United States are up significantly since October 7th and that 70% of American Jews feel less safe since October 7th. And the chants of “gas the Jews” were reported worldwide by the media. Telling me that it’s “absurd” that I feel unsafe in the U.S. “simply” because I’m Jewish is the equivalent of telling a woman that there’s no such thing as misogyny because you, as a man, have never experienced it. That is indeed “absurd.”

            1. I apologize. You’re right – I don’t know your “lived experiences.” Antisemitism is obviously a real issue, as is misogyny. None of my many Jewish friends have suggested that they feel less safe in the U.S. because of what’s happening in Israel and the Gaza Strip, but they don’t speak for you. And back to the original subject of Sam’s post, I appreciate your point that, no matter what one’s net worth, one won’t feel safe in the face of religious, racial, sexual or other prejudices.

  3. Loved this (tongue in cheek) post. I’m in the “can only feel bad sometimes” camp. But when my 95-year-old mother passes away and I inherit some wealth, I’ll be in the “can’t feel bad anymore” camp, because I don’t live in a coastal city. Maybe I should start not feeling bad now, in anticipation of not feeling bad in the future? ;-)

    On a more serious note, what keeps me from actually feeling bad now is that I’m still working (as a lawyer) and earning good money, and I don’t anticipate ever not working (brain cells permitting) – just on a reduced schedule. Fortunately my law firm permits this flexibility.

    Another observation: “net worth” is one of the last bastions of privacy. People will talk more freely about their sex lives than their net worth. Financial advisors galore dole out investment advice without ever revealing how well they themselves have done (with you, Sam, being an exception).

  4. Frank Lee Appalled


    Please always remember that there is no legislating for stupidity.

    Disagreement is fine and even encouraged, but some folk are just dumb. Worse, some are extremely ugly on the inside.

    I found the tone of this blog very amusing, I hope that was your intent.

    1. When you reach 5, you’ll want 7.5 and then when you get there you’ll want 10…been there (current net worth is just under 5)

            1. Cash flow generated from 5 million. If you can control your debt, don’t require a lambo, cash flow off 5 million should be sufficient for most.

                1. I don’t live off my investments yet. I divorced a few years back slashing my net worth in half. Just minor set back in my journey, but I’m in a much better place. My fiancée and I work regular jobs making ~400K yearly. we have no debt and our net worth is ~3 million. I would say I’m about 10 years out from considering walking away. The other part is her parents are very well off and she’s an only child, so that doesn’t suck.

                2. Sam – love your articles. have you ever done an article on roth ira investing? For example. the best types of investments in a roth ira and why (say a dividend income approach is better than a tech mutual fund due to the tax advantages)? I am in a position where a bulk of my net worth is in a roth ira, so Jason’s point on generating cash flow on 5mm doesn’t really pertain to me since I am 38 years old and can’t use my roth ira due to the penalties until I am 59.5.

  5. John Porter

    Even after everything you have done to raise the LCD, critics still seep out of the walls. Personally, your point about less disclosure equals fewer critics is truth (but maybe too late for you). I appreciate everything that you’ve tried to transmit, I understand that wealth has a slightly different set of problems (don’t have that situation – yet), and I don’t give a rat’s A$$ about what your critics think. I hope that you can ignore them, and rock on with the site/blog/books. You have helped so many more than you realize!

  6. LOLLLLLLL…Love this article and love your dry sense of humor!

    I still get a sense of disconnect though in your understanding of why readers got frustrated with your experience of financial stress and the whole “paycheck to paycheck” thing. It is about control and choices and lack thereof.

    Of course, we can and are permitted to feel whatever we want. So please understand I am not trying invalidate your feelings. Our feelings about our own financial situation are neither right or wrong – they just are. The question and content and frustration (and some humor) behind your title and article seems to be when do you deserve sympathy/empathy for negative feelings about your financial status from others.

    For me that is pretty easy. I have sympathy for those who are paycheck to paycheck to meet basic living expenses and it is a hardship due to situations generally out of their control. So first thing is “standard of living”. For most, ‘Paycheck to paycheck” does not go with an abundance of assets – that was the trigger for those who responded negatively to you situation. I agree it can be defined however you want, but in terms of garnering sympathy or identifying with your situation….meh.

    Paycheck to paycheck – I have empathy for the single mother whose abusive husband left her with two kids and is working two jobs to try and feed, clothe, house them and put a bit away for their college. I empathize with the family who is living paycheck to paycheck because of an illness in the family resulting in large medical bills not covered by insurance. I have empathy for a person who was, not of their choosing, raised in a poor area and therefore did not get the proper education, so are “stuck” making 18/hour and raising 2 kids.

    I do not want to hear the whining of financial stress from someone who is “paycheck to paycheck” but makes $300k and drives a porsche, has a 40k watch, and has a 5 bedroom house and a personal trainer. I do not want to hear whining from someone who is “paycheck to paycheck” as an executive at Peloton because their stock options are underwater? Why, cause these are choices they made and they can make other choices. The porsche driver can change is situation tomorrow by downsizing. The peloton exec could have asked for more payment in cash and less options when he was hired (and of course if he is talented enough to be there, then he can go and get a job anywhere else and solve his problem). When you are traditionally paycheck to paycheck the financial stress you feel is somewhat out of your control – you can’t just re-arrage assets to relieve it.

    So in your case most see the financial stress you created both of your own making (too much house) and also in your control to relieve (sell it or some other assets). I am completely fine with you experiencing stress over all that and you never asked for readers empathy – just trying to explain why you won’t get much.

  7. The critics of your recent article where essentially saying, “No one wants to hear a Kardashian complain about lack of privacy.” They viewed your scenario as a self-inflicted wound and have no sympathy for the financial stress it caused you due to your sizable networth. What they don’t understand is that the level of financial stress is not directly correlated with one’s networth, rather a result of your particular personality traits. By no means are you alone in having those particular personality traits, in fact many readers of financial literature/blogs likely share those with you.

    1. It’s all good. I really appreciate the criticism as it helps me come up with new ideas for a new posts and discussion points.

      I’m definitely going to be more private after I publish my already written posts. So far I’ve been compared to Warren Buffett and now the Kardashians. It’s funny, but I never would have thought about these comparisons at all.

      So I think people who went to college and are mid career need to be careful about how much they reveal because there’s a whole world out there people who aren’t happy.

  8. Lmao! I love articles like these!!

    To answer your question, there is no amount of money that preludes someone from complaining. It’s all relative. However, living paycheck to paycheck implies a struggle factor that a healthy net worth can overcome. Apples vs Oranges.

    1. Financial Samurai

      Depends on how liquid the net worth is. You could have a big net worth all tied up in Peloton stock or a private company whose opponent just got came out with a killer app.

      Cash flow is more important.

  9. The gold standard is cash flow…not net worth
    Once your cash flow hits 10 k a monthly for every person living in your house you’ll be “happy”…
    But chasing “happiness “is a fools game.

  10. The unfortunate side of the internet is it’s turned many people into critics, trolls, and haters. Social etiquette has essentially gone out the window which really worries me for our kids futures.

    So I think no matter how rich or poor someone is there will be always people who will try to tear them down whether it’s for having too much and being greedy or not working hard enough and being lazy even if that’s far from the truth.

    So hold on to your dear friends who are there to listen without judgement to whatever feelings and troubles you have at any level of wealth or poverty.

  11. I don’t think it is so complicated. Living paycheck to paycheck means having no savings. The situation you described is where you are spending more than you make and so are running down savings. That can be concerning but isn’t the same thing. It’s also why some retirees find it hard to switch from saving to spending mode.

  12. I don’t think there is a net worth number that people can achieve AND be happy about it. I think it is all relative. I know people happy with much less and I know people miserable with much more. For some, net worth is immaterial to their self worth and others it is just the opposite. I am financially comfortable and stable with the current economic environment we live in. However, if that environment were to change, I may be uncomfortable and unstable. Most of my wealth is tied up in pensions and IRAs. Outside of my home, I don’t have any tangible assets beyond money.

    1. Financial Samurai

      Hmmm… maybe. When I achieved a $3 million net worth in 2012, it made me happy b/c I was able to generate enough passive income ($80K) to live without having to work. It was a priceless feeling not having to report to anybody anymore.

      1. So it wasn’t necessarily the net worth, but the passive income resulting from your net worth. If you have the right assets that is possible. You could own land that gives you a net worth of $3M, but not reach your desired level of passive income.

  13. Hello,

    Great article. I often struggle and debate with myself of where I have that Net worth cut off point of where I can be “happy”. Are all these #’s based on a retirement age at all? I feel like it changes the game completely depending what age you are vs what the net worth range you’re in. For example, a net worth of $1.51-$3M at age 35, should I be happy? I suppose only I can answer that..

    1. Financial Samurai

      You’re right the net worth numbers may change depending on age.

      But for this exercise, these are the net worth thresholds where you need to find serenity and no longer feel troubled, NO MATTER what age.

      The younger you can accumulate these net worth figures, the sooner you get to serenity!

      It’s the same logic regarding how happiness gets a boost for longer if you retire earlier.

  14. Ha! :-) If money could buy happiness, $500k/yr helps. I suppose that assumes happiness is defined as a lack of worry about money, but of course, and even according to the dictionary, that ain’t it. Per dictionary, “Happiness” = “a state of well-being and contentment : JOY.”

    Eww…joy…that’s a tough one. As I recently told a nephew of mine who just got into a fancy college after exceptional performance in high school and was looking at me through the dollar signs in his eyes, financial wealth is the easiest kind of wealth to attain. The more difficult wealth is everything else that adds up to JOY that you can’t get by stacking benjamins, especially:
    – peaceful mental state
    – love, trust and respect in relationships
    – healthy body
    – satisfaction in your work, whatever “work” means to you

    All that touchy-feely stuff is easier to attain when passive income from financial wealth covers your expenses, so when your net worth does that for you, should you be allowed to whine? Nah. Obviously, most people’s expenses are gonna be covered with a lot less than $13M returning 4%, which happens to kick out that magical $500k happy income.

    I spent lots of years in the tech industry with a bunch of people making well over $500k/yr and there was very little JOY to be found. They had relative financial wealth and associated status, but we’re so focused on it that they didn’t invest much in the rest of the wealth needed for JOY. I tried to beat them at the JOY game, but could have done better (I quit my job last year & will be working less in future, so maybe I’m finally taking my own advice). No doubt everyone feels sorry for them and me. :-)

    1. Financial Samurai

      “financial wealth is the easiest kind of wealth to attain” interesting belief!

      I’m not so sure. Think about all the joy, love, and health you might have had as a child. I loved my time as a kid and had no money.

      Joy feels great. But it’s like happiness, comes and goes. Can’t stay in the joy state indefinitely.

      Currently, I feel joy with my parents and sister visiting. To see them spend time with my kids is wonderful.

      1. Oh man, that sounds great! I’m glad the fam is hanging out – those memories will last. I’ll be seeing my daughters and grandson soon.

        I hear you on the love and joy that can exist w/out money. I grew up poor – food banks and hand-me-downs. I also went from dead broke to millionaire twice in 16 years once I took the reins of my life from my parents, who, bless them, couldn’t hold a buck if you glued it to their hand (which ultimately contributed to the end of their marriage).

        Attaining and maintaining financial wealth is hard. In my experience & observations, it’s relatively easier for people to make money (show up, grind, collect, invest) than it is for them to attain and maintain a healthy mind, body and relationships. I think all those types of health are needed for sustained happiness – financial, body, mind, relationships. If you remove the health of any of those 4 elements from your life, the other 3 are at risk.

  15. Great post. This is a good reminder that on a relative basis I should feel happy and not continue to be a striver. I had “number” but surpassed it and now I have a new number and will probably not be satisfied when I hit that either.

    Sam – not sure if you have done this before, but I would love to see what the net worth dispersion is in some of those “happier” countries. Like what’s the top 1% in Finland etc vs. America? Another piece I would enjoy seeing is something about the pros and cons financially and otherwise of living the expat life to make $ go further.

    1. I am fairly certain the Scandinavian countries routinely score the highest in “happiness rating” because they have such a robust social safety net implemented by their governments. Sure they have higher tax rates, but happiness is derived not so much from accumulation of money or material possessions but the minimization of negative factors such as stress.

    2. Financial Samurai

      I can put one together. Here’s the top 1% net worth by select countries. They seem low to me, especially since the U.S. is at around $13M.

      I will say I am satisfied with my net worth number. I’m just not satisfied with my cash flow number anymore.

      New Zealand
      Hong Kong, SAR
      Czech Republic
      Saudi Arabia
      South Africa
      Source: Knight Frank

  16. Sam, money is only a part of it. Rich or poor we can feel troubled by the situation in our country: a dysfunctional government, class and racial strife, corruption, politicized schools and universities, the chaotic border crisis, drug deaths, etc. I could go on and on. Not to mention wars raging in Europe and the Near East and probably another soon to develop in Asia. No matter how much or little one is worth one would have to be insensate not to be troubled by them.

    1. Financial Samurai

      Good points. I’m always going to be disappointed in government corruption, weak politicians, and unfair policies that discriminate against certain groups.

  17. I think you will always feel bad if you fall short of your own expectations about yourself and what you want to achieve, no matter how high or low compared to others.

    1. Financial Samurai

      That’s the truth. The narratives we tell ourselves and the expectations we have are super important in guiding and pushing us to where we want to go.

      1. I think the key is to have a growth mindset. Ok, I don’t know, have made lots of mistakes , and am not there yet. But I will learn and grow and get to where I want to be. Then. you will always feel fine.

  18. After 10 yrs I’m visiting family in India and I find that despite tremendous improvement in their net worth, the rich are still complaining. It seems to be a way of life and frankly, disgusting.

  19. Of course everyone has a “right” to their feelings.
    I will say that angsting over “how to get by” on a $500k salary or how the max 529 limits are “not enough!” is unlikely to find you much common ground with Joe shmo though and sounds incredibly out of touch.

    Maybe you should qualify your “not allowed to complain” thresholds with “not allowed to complain about finances at these thresholds”? Obviously there are plenty of legitimate things to complain about in life at any income/wealth threshold but complaining about income/wealth at certain levels does become a bit laughable.

    1. Financial Samurai

      For sure. I’m not looking for sympathy from “Joe Schmo.” Instead, I write from my experiences living in NYC and SF and what some people face. I think it’s great to have a conversation about topics.

      1) “Everybody wants to make $500K”! But guess what? Not everybody is happy making $500K+, some are even living paycheck-to-paycheck. Maybe your desire to earn a high W2 wage is misplaced.

      2) “My kids will be geniuses and get scholarships and get into the best schools!” Actually, statistics say otherwise. Plan accordingly.


  20. Appreciate the points you made along with the humor. Left me wondering:
    1) how should we define net worth? (Exclude home value?)
    2) if medical insurance wasn’t tied to our occupation in the US would we all be a little happier?

  21. It’s not that a high-net-worth individual cannot be troubled. It’s that a high-net-worth individual is not troubled in a financial sense. Assets allow flexibility to maintain a certain lifestyle even through “tough times.” Assets allow you the luxury of time.

    Other troubles in life would still receive empathy, e.g. divorce, illness, etc. I have been dealing with rent control in my City that has dropped the value of my real estate portfolio approximately 10%. As my wife says, “no one is going to cry for you” and I realize that no one will!!

    1. Financial Samurai

      Not all assets are the same though. Some are more liquid than others. To sell real estate in a down market can be VERY difficult to do.

      The sooner we recognize nobody really cares, the better!

      1. Sam – I hope to bump into you someday and let you know in person how much I have learned from your blog. Keep slicing!

  22. Fun thought experiment.
    Do get tired of everyone citing Finland as the happiest country when they also lead the world in suicide rates…

    1. That is not an accurate statement. Suicide rates by gender and country (age-standardized, per 100,000 population, World Health Organization, 2019) has Finland listed at #38.

      1. Sorry, you are right, I should have said ***one of*** the highest suicide rates (top 5 in Europe) despite more than a decade of the government focusing on lowering these tragedies. The main point is that “happiness” can not be measured (esp cross-culturally), despite how much marketers would like you to believe, and when compared with serious data (like suicides/100,000) the touting as “the happiest country on Earth” rings hollow.

  23. I love the humor and truth in this post. Bottom line, it’s hard to change who you are after age 25. Some form of worry, anxiety or concern is what often contributes, at least partially, to achieving a high net worth. Hard for that to go away once a “number” is achieved. There’s always risk in life – especially financial risk. A certain level of financial risk concern and anxiety will never go away for me. No complaints. It is something you live with. And yes it’s easier as the number increases.

  24. Looks about right. I think the important thing for you to note, though, is that in your case at least you are getting paid to take whatever abuse you get here. That’s the deal if you want to make money online and I know you recognize it. If you don’t put anything personal out there, you lose eyeballs and revenue. I’m personally not posting anything about myself so I don’t get any grief. But I don’t choose to make money this way. Simple trade off.

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