I made $15 million in my mid-20s after I sold a tech startup. I talked to a lot of people about this question, and thought a lot about how to stay the same person I was before and after making money.
Here's my answer: being rich is better than not being rich, but it's not nearly as good as you imagine it is.
The answer why is a bit more complicated.
First, one of the only real things being rich gives you is that you don't have to worry about money as much anymore. There will still be some expenses that you cannot afford (and you will wish you could), but most expenses can be made without thinking about what it costs. This is definitely better, without a doubt.
“When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”
David Geffen’s story is the classic entrepreneur journey from mailroom to millions – literally. Determined to get a job at the William Morris Agency, the largest talent agency in the world, 21-year-old Geffen started with a job in the mailroom. On his first day in 1964, he arrived in suit and tie to sort the mail, and began to diligently study the company structure and communications through the mail he was sorting. Hearing that Nat Leftkowitz, the head of Morris’ New York office, came to work on Saturdays, Geffen began to do the same, eventually introducing himself after an ‘accidental’ meeting at the elevators. Leftkowitz invited Geffen for a sandwich, and then took him under his wing, mentoring him, introducing him to his wife, and inviting him to dinner at their apartment. Geffen’s mailroom colleagues were stunned at the speed with which Geffen had moved.