Does more money really mean more problems?(Read article summary)
Even those blessed with a lot of dollars can have money problems. The rich just have different kinds of issues than the middle and lower classes.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
If you're struggling to pay the bills each month, you probably don't have much sympathy for your wealthier neighbor or for the millionaire who complains about paying too much in taxes. But here's the truth: Even those blessed with a lot of dollars can have money problems.
The rich just have different kinds of money problems. They might not worry about having enough money to make their car payment, but they do worry about sending too much to Uncle Sam every tax day.
Planning to get rich yourself someday? Here's a list of some of the problems that you might face when you have more money to worry about.
1. Higher Taxes
Income tax rates jump steeply the more money you earn, which means that unless you and your accountant get creative, you'll be sending more of the money you earn each year to the federal government.
Say you earned $514,000 in 2015. When you pay your taxes on April 18 of this year, you'll be taxed 10% for the first $9,225 of your earnings, and 15% on every dollar from $9,226 to $37,450. This rate goes up until you hit the maximum. You'll be taxed at this maximum rate of 39.6% for every dollar you earn from $413,201 and up.
The upshot? The more money you make, the more taxes you pay. At least that's the theory. It is possible through deductions for the wealthy to dramatically lower the actual dollars that they send to the government each year. Trying to lower your tax bills is definitely one problem that grows the more money you earn.
2. Lifestyle Creep
When you get a big raise, do you boost the amount of money you save each year in your 401K plan or IRA? Or do you buy a nicer car?
It's all too tempting to improve your lifestyle when your annual income rises. This is known as lifestyle creep. And it's a problem that the wealthy have to work hard to avoid.
The rich might feel pressure, for instance, to invest in a larger home once their income swells. The better financial move might be for them to stay in their current home and instead invest their extra income. The allure of all those extra bedrooms and baths, though, can overwhelm the good sense of even the most fiscally conservative of consumers.
3. The Arrival of "Long-Lost" Relatives
There's a reason why lottery winners often joke about changing their phone numbers. They're worried that their relatives — especially long-lost ones with whom they've had little contact — will start hitting them up for money.
The same thing can happen when you've built up your wealth over the decades. Your relatives who are struggling with their finances will expect your monetary help. If you don't cough up some bucks? You can bet those relatives will resent you. That can lead to strained familial relationships.
4. What Does Your Spouse Really Love?
Getting married after you've become fabulously wealthy can be tricky. How will you know if your future spouse loves you or your money?
The stereotype of the gold-digging spouse might actually be a myth, at least according to this recent story in the Guardian, which argues that couples are more likely to get married when they have something in common than because they're seeking partners with great wealth. But it's not surprising that some wealthy people wonder if that future spouse wants to marry them because of their overflowing bank account and not their wit or charm.
5. You Might Need an Army of Advisers
Once you've become wealthy, you'll undoubtedly need help to manage all those dollars. After all, you can't just stash those big bucks in a savings account. You want your riches to continue to grow. To master that feat, you'll need the help of financial advisers and accountants. And if you've invested in a larger home or a luxury boat? You'll need staffers to clean and maintain these investments. That isn't free, and finding the right help can prove challenging.
6. You're Even More of a Target
Think of how many scams fill your email box every morning — and you're not wealthy at all. Now imagine the target you'll become for fraudsters and scammers once you become rich.
Wealthy people have to be especially careful to avoid scams, both online and traditional ones such as fake charities seeking donations. Nothing entices scammers like rich people who aren't especially careful with their wealth.