One of the characters of Wall Street movie once said, “When you’ve had money and lost it, it can be much worse than never having had it at all!” People who are not used to thinking about money will definitely find it hard to tighten their belts.
At Bright Side, we got curious about what millionaires feel like when they go broke and have to change their rich lifestyle. It turns out that there were a lot of stories about this online. And when reading them, we experienced different emotions from irritation to sincere sympathy.
At 25, I had my own apartment, car, and my own big store. I was planning to open a restaurant. My husband was a chief technologist at a meatpacking company with 120 subordinates. There were no worries in our life. Then I made a huge mistake — I emigrated because I wanted to be closer to my mother and sister.
Now we live in constant need, we can’t get out of debt, and we don’t have our own place and never will. We see our relatives only on birthdays. All we do is work, work, work. We used to have a stable business, own a home, and have a lot of friends. And here we have to move from one rented house to another, pay a huge amount of taxes, and we only have a couple of friends. The funny thing is that a man who formerly reported to my husband in the company, has now taken his place — he now drives a Lexus and has 3 cottages. © Marina Zilin / facebook
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My husband has a prestigious job and, up until 2 years ago, things were financially wonderful. We traveled the world first class. Shopping? Almost every weekend we would head to designer stores and drop thousands. My closet is the size of a bedroom and looks like an elite boutique. We had 3 nannies and housekeepers and 2 private chefs, and let’s not forget our driver. We were treated like VIPs everywhere we went because everyone knew we were big spenders and big tippers.
Now that things, which I can’t describe, have hit his business and it has taken a major downfall, things have changed drastically financially. The man who used to drop $4,000 on bottle service in Dubai scolds me if I spend $4 on Starbucks. The cars have been sold, the staff has been let go, the shopping and traveling stopped. The party ended. If I had to rate my happiness now after the money is gone on a scale of 1–10, I would say it’s a 2 or 3. Exactly the same as before. You see as cliché as it is, money doesn’t buy happiness. I’m no less happy than I was before. Crying in a Maserati over a miserable marriage is not any less miserable than crying in a regular car. If you want happiness, invest in good people in your life. Money comes and money goes. © M Mckenzie / Quora
My grandfather made a fortune in the ’90s. We had houses, apartments, land, and shopping centers. When I was a child, I had all the toys I wanted. I never wondered where the money came from, and actually didn’t understand why it was needed. I thought that everyone lived like this, that it was normal. When my grandfather died, my father, his 2 brothers, and 3 sisters began to divide the property. Eventually, they somehow divided it, but only memories remained from the former wealth.
Neither of my parents had a higher education, and they tried to somehow arrange their lives. My father tried to start a business, but nothing worked out, and we ended up with a huge amount of debt. Then he started working as a driver, and my mother got a job as a sales assistant. Nevertheless, they tried to make sure I wouldn’t feel how difficult it was for us, and they invested in my education. I saw their struggles and began to work hard. As a result, I finished school with excellent grades, won academic competitions many times, received a grant to study at the best university in the country. I will soon fly to the USA to finish my studies.
My parents always used the situation described above as an example and told me that their main mistake was not going to college. They just didn’t want to study. They thought, “What for? We already have it all.” © Arman Zhakupov / Yandex Q
My girlfriend is from a wealthy family, and I am from a family with a middle-class income. It’s not a problem for her to buy a T-shirt for $500 or to fly to another country on an impulse, because her parents have money for everything. We fell in love like in a movie and began to live together. We had no problems, her dad’s money was enough. But his company went bankrupt, and — oh my God — she is completely not adapted to real life.
She can’t work, freely speaks her mind, and only eats special dishes. She is wonderful, kind, well-read, and loves me as I do her. But when she enters a store, she automatically says, “I want this,” and I have no money, and her look saying that I’m a loser destroys me. I adore her, but it’s impossible to go on like this. © Podslushano / VK
I wasn’t rich, but I definitely grew up in the upper-middle class. Now I’m extremely poor due to leaving my job to go back to school a while back. I used to always have nice shoes, now I’ve worn the same pair for 4 years. I haven’t eaten out at a restaurant in a year. I have like 5 cavities. None of this would have ever flown when I was under the wing of my parents or when I was employed. It feels like I’m living in an alternate universe compared to my old life.
A lot of it I have gotten used to, but one thing that still drives me nuts is living in tiny houses. I grew up in 4,000-5,000 square foot homes, now mine is less than 900. Before this, I lived in an even smaller house with an awesome girlfriend and I swear this is what tore me apart from her. She had always been low income and thought nothing of it, but for me, it felt insanely claustrophobic and I started to lose it. It’s like being confined to a bedroom. I genuinely hate this lifestyle and I can’t understand those who say money can’t buy happiness. But this experience has taught me to really appreciate everything I once had, and I just want to work my way back to that more than anything. © your_physician / reddit
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I was born into a wealthy family and married a wealthy man. After my parents passed and I got a divorce, all within 18 months, I was left flat broke. I hadn’t worked since I was 18 and was 25 at this time. I had a useless degree and I ended up getting a job working as a cleaning lady. I never thought I would be “the help.” I lived in a studio apartment that was the size of my old closet, in a bad part of town, when before I had lived in an 8-bedroom, 12,000 square foot home. I never had to worry about how much money was in my account. When the power, gas, and water got shut off and I couldn’t afford food, I ended up getting a $20 gym membership so I could shower. I finally swallowed my pride after the temperatures dipped below freezing and applied for assistance and food stamps.
I now own the business I started working for 7 years ago. I have a nice house, I drive a nice car, I have food, I have water, I have power, I have money. None of those things will be things I ever take for granted again. I am glad I went from rich to broke. It was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. © Courtney Styles / Quora
My classmate married a millionaire. She traveled around the world and was all covered in jewelry. But she was neither happy with Venice, nor impressed with Paris. 5 years later, I met her at some mediocre resort, and she looked quite different.
I didn’t even recognize her, she looked like an intimidated mouse, not the self-assured beauty she used to be. It turned out that there had been a millionaire, but no wedding. So when the love ended, he just dumped her. Now she feels sorry that she was so snobby and didn’t enjoy her traveling and adventures as much as she could have.
I was born during the financial boom. And I grew up in the financial crisis. It was very strange how one day I could have all the toys I wanted if I just batted my eyelashes at my dad, and the next day I couldn’t even get some gum because my dad kept saying we couldn’t afford it.
Maybe I was a bit of a slow child, but I didn’t understand what was going on, and my parents didn’t explain it. We were never really poor, but my parents were cautious and there was a definite change in spending. Like if my dad gave me money to the grocery shopping and I got some small item he hadn’t told me to (I remember this happening with nail polish remover), he yelled at me, saying I should know money was tight. But I was so confused because it was only a couple of dollars, and just a short while before that I could’ve gotten a Barbie that cost 7 times that. © Hope Laust / Quora
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Growing up we were definitely well-off. Nice home in a gated community, pool, all of the after-school activities my parents could pay for (ballet, art, karate, etc.). Then, my dad invested in his “best friend’s” business. Not even a year after giving him all of our savings, the company was exposed as being in the throes of bankruptcy.
My dad not only lost everything he put in — he was now on the hook for all of the debt the company had incurred. We lost everything. We had to sell our house to pay the remaining debt and move into a tiny condo. That was about 10 years ago, and it changed me dramatically for the better. I studied extremely hard through my college years, became a hardcore believer in personal finance, and am extremely frugal with money, even though I make $140,000/year and my husband makes more. © elemenelope / reddit
A friend of mine became a serious businessman in the ’90s. For years he was saying how smart he was, while others were just losers. The other day, we ran into him in the supermarket — he was rolling a cart full of cheap diapers. He saw us, blushed, and began to make excuses, like, “Cheap diapers are more environmentally friendly, I don’t skimp on my children.”
The thing is that we know for sure from our other friends that after his plant went bankrupt a couple of years ago, he’s lived on loans, and he had to transfer his children from a private school to a regular public one. Recently, his third child was born and my friend is not doing very well.
My dad suffered a business loss and the bank took everything away. People who we thought were our relatives, my dad’s siblings, our family friends, suddenly everyone was busy with their own lives and no one visited us for any event. Not even a phone call. My mom had surgery, none of my relatives took the calls when we called to inform them, thinking we were going to ask them to help us with the bills. My dad spent his entire life savings on these people, helping them through school or helping them set up businesses. This is what he got in the end.
Money is one thing, emotional support is another. We just lost money. But due to the actions of these people, my parents and I, we lost faith in relatives and friends. © unknown author / Quora
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A friend of mine — a hot girl — married a real English lord. I don’t know if he was a millionaire, but he had his own castle. A couple of years later they divorced, and she was left with nothing. Once she opened up and said, “I knew from the start that our marriage was not going to last for long, so I had to get as much as I could. Jewelry is nothing. What’s more important is that he helped me get an excellent education. I kept all his connections too. So I’m not going to stay low for a long time.” Well, I wish her good luck.
My family was very well off growing up. My siblings and I all went to private school, had a huge amazing house, went on like 7 vacations a year, would go shopping in New York and buy thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff. Then we lost like 90% of our wealth. It was hard just having to adapt to a new lifestyle and having to think about money on a daily basis. Little things, like no longer getting take-out 5 times a week from nice restaurants and not being able to buy as much stuff, were surprisingly hard. We no longer had a landscaping crew come to our house once a week so we had to learn to use a lawnmower and rake leaves. A limousine no longer drove us to the airport and we had to learn about all the parking options. We really just weren’t used to doing a lot of “normal” things.
Honestly, it was a lot of fun having money but I wish I had been raised middle class because I feel like then I would have realistic expectations for things like houses, vacations, clothes, etc. Once you know what it is like to have the best of everything it’s really hard to actually choose reasonably priced things. © Once_I_Was_Darkness / Reddit
I grew up in a wealthy family and married a poor but charming man. We were poor and lived in a one-bedroom apartment we could barely pay for. I discovered that a small apartment is easier to clean and that dates at the park are beautiful.
Sure, it was hard to see my baby belly growing, and have only 2 maternity T-shirts! It was hard to search for used lower-priced books for my studies. It was hard to wait for a bus in the heat of July for the first time in my life. I told myself, “Aline, never forget that you don’t need money to be so happy!” Later we made money, we worked hard, and we had good opportunities. But now I know that as long as we have love and life, we have nothing to fear. © Aline Vargas de Murillo / Quora
My aunt married a millionaire right out of high school. Then she found out he was cheating on her and she burned all of her clothes and jewelry and possessions in a huge fire and divorced him, but refused to take even a penny. She has always been crazy. Very beautiful but very crazy. The little house she lives in is in poor condition and always has been from my memory. She just sews for a living and is on state assistance. She also has like 1,000 parrots in her house that she calls her babies. © tsim12345 / reddit
We had a fellow student in college who was the son of wealthy parents and a goofball. It was a miracle that he passed his exams. Years passed, everyone found their paths in life while the family of our “friend” went bankrupt. So he had to hide from creditors, sell his apartment, sell his car — he sold everything, and he couldn’t find a job because everyone knew what he was like.
And then it was like in a movie. A nerd from our course hired him into her company. Now he runs errands for her. She says she felt sorry for him. Besides, he knows something about good clothes and restaurants and knows how to choose a good present for her partners while she has no time for those things.
I had a friend who had been very rich since their childhood. She had everything she desired. She also got married to a rich industrialist. But after a few years, I suddenly saw her at a market bargaining with a vegetable vendor. I was shocked to see her there doing this.
Later I found out from our common friend that she divorced her husband and only got a 2-bedroom flat as alimony during the divorce proceedings. Her father died due to some illness, and her brother took all the property and wealth leaving her with nothing. So now she lives in a 2-bedroom flat along with 2 kids and works as a receptionist in some small company (which means small salary) and she’s finding it difficult to make ends meet. © Varsha Kshirsagar / Quora
A friend of mine from a remote town and a very poor family left for Switzerland and married a millionaire there, by some miraculous chance. She forbade us to mention her youth and her family because she wanted to forget about her poor past. For a while, we called each other on Skype, and she always showed me her very expensive clothes, or described how hard it was for her to get a Birkin bag. Then she began to call less often, and I didn’t insist, because we had very few topics to talk about.
And after 5 years, she suddenly called and started asking me how her family and friends from her past life were doing. It turned out that she had never been married, and the millionaire had left her for another woman. She was only given a small allowance for the child. So she began to sell her cool clothes. The problem was that no one needed them in Switzerland, and it was also shameful. Therefore, she decided to probe another excellent sales channel — her old small town.
Has something similar ever happened to you or to any one of your friends? What was the hardest thing about this experience? Tell us in the comments below.