14 People Share What It’s Like To Be Rock Bottom After Living A Very Rich Life
Margareth SPublished on
People who were born with a silver spoon don’t usually have to work hard throughout their life. It was out of their parents’ goodwill that they wish their children can live the fullest and happiest life ever. But you really can’t guess where life will take you, and it can really, really be somewhere so low you just can’t imagine it.
It’s almost akin to plunging a freshwater fish into the ocean – they get confused as their system breaks down from being unable to adapt to the new environment. But people are different: we have the ability to adapt anywhere, the only creature with a brain big enough to crawl back up from the most disgusting corner of the slums.
“Definitely was never really rich, but I would consider my family upper middle class. I had a great childhood, mom, dad, brother, and me. We went on vacation once a year to the beach, parents never hesitated to buy my brother and I things. I was very fortunate until I turned about 14. My mother developed Lupus and got very ill. Along with having diabetes she had to get 4 toes amputated (gangrene, 2 toes on each foot). I knew then my life was different, mom couldn’t work anymore and dad worked all the time, really pulling through for the family. He was simply amazing, the way he took charge out of the situation, took care of my mom like a f***ing queen. Amazing.
When I was 16, I lost my dad to a car accident very abruptly. He left for work one morning and never came back. The only thing that did was two police officers knocking down our door telling us my dad is dead. When my mom got sick, I knew things would be different, but this just really topped it for me. We literally had no idea what to do. My dad failed to get life insurance, so he left us with nothing to work with except the money that was already in the bank. Considering my mom can’t work and I’m still in high school and my brother is about to graduate high school, it was a pretty helpless situation.
I got a job and my license right away and started working. Brother moved to college (about 45 minutes away). During this time our house was being foreclosed on because we just simply couldn’t afford it. The mortgage company sent us an eviction notice to get out of the house in 14 days. We had to find somewhere to live in 14 days. Holy sh**. By the grace of God, we found a place about 30 minutes away from where we lived, so that was great for me. The place was tiny, but honestly, at this point, I was so grateful to have anything. This house was a piece of sh** though; holes in the ceiling, from repairs he never finished, stuff like that. It was a hole but it was our hole. We would make it work. February 14, 2012, we received a letter in the mail from our landlord. Never liked the guy and knew this was not good considering how our life is haha. We were prepared. Mom read it and the landlord told us we need to move because he was tearing down our house along with a few neighbors to build a new housing development.
Very long story short, we actually moved BACK to our original house, the house I grew up in. The house that was put up for foreclosure. Not really sure how my mom did it (tbh I was very depressed, she was smart not sharing these details with me because I really don’t think I could have mentally handled it).
Since then, things haven’t really gotten better or worse. Brother moved back home and is helping with things, I’m working at the same place, I did get a 2015 Honda Civic which was HUGE for us! From here, only way to go is up. Mom ran into more health issues (100% blocked aorta) and needs major surgery soon. I’m trying to mentally prepare for the worst but I’m just taking one day at a time. My depression is so very real and I’m finally taking steps to improve myself.” – Cturtleeee
“It opens your eyes to the harsh realities of the world, which we take for granted when we had money. My dad had a loss in business. The bank took everything away. We were left standing on the street. My dad’s friend helped us out for a few weeks, we stayed at his house for some time, before shifting to a motel. My dad got a job as a front desk assistant at the same motel, so we got room to stay for free.
People who we thought were our relatives – my dad’s siblings, our family friends – suddenly were busy with their lives, no one visited us for any event. Not even a phone call. When we were rich, they would literally be there even when my dad had a cold. My mum had surgery; none of my relatives took the calls when we called to inform them, thinking we would ask them to help us with the bills. My dad spent his entire life savings on these people, helping them thru 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 me, we lost faith in relatives and friends. We needed money but not as desperately as emotional support which no one gave.
It has been 5 years to date. It was a struggle but ‘thank god’ we are bouncing back. We are bouncing back with a new meaning and understanding for life and things.” – Quora
“I belong to a middle-class family but was friends with someone rich since childhood. She used to come in Mercedes to school and during college days, too. She had everything she desired and got married to a rich industrialist.
A few years later, I saw her at the market bargaining at a vegetable vendor. I was shocked to see her there doing this. Later, through mutual friends, I came to know her tragedy. After the marriage, she divorced her husband due to major differences and only received a 2 BHK flat as alimony during trials. After the marriage, she lost her father to an illness, and her brother received all the assets and wealth, leaving nothing for her.
Now she stays in a 2 BHK flat with her two kids and works as a receptionist at a small company with a small salary that makes making ends meet difficult.” – Varsha Kshirsagar
“My family was very well off growing up-my siblings, and I all went to private schools that were $22,000 a year (so $66,000 a year because there are 3 of us), had a huge amazing house, went on like 7 vacations a year, would go shopping in NYC and buy thousands of dollars worth of stuff. Then for complex reasons, I don’t really want to go into we lost like 90% of our wealth.
It was hard just having to adapt to a new lifestyle and have 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, haha. A limousine no longer drove us to the airport, and we had to learn about all the parking options. I know this makes me sound like an ***hole, but 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. I don’t tell a lot of people about my childhood, and over the last 6 years since we lost our wealth, my family has adapted and become used to a normal lifestyle for the most part; it was a rough transition, though.” – Once_I_Was_Darkness
“My husband has a prestigious job which requires a certain license, I’m omitting for privacy. He has his own business utilizing this license. Up until 2 years ago, things were financially wonderful. We traveled the world first-class. Would spend Valentines at the Eiffel Tower, Chinese New Year in China, St. Patrick’s in Ireland, etc. Sometimes we would travel to some exotic country by ourselves, come home and repack then take off the next day to some other exotic locale with our kids and nannies. All first-class, of course. Shopping – ridiculous… almost every weekend we would head to the designer stores and drop thousands. My closet is the size of a bedroom and looks like a Chanel/Louis Vuitton/Hermès/Louboutin/Prada/YSL/Gucci boutique. Surprises were always fun too – one time we were supposed to leave for Hawaii the next morning but I was upset with my husband and threatening not to go. His response was coming home with a very expensive bottle of wine and a green box. The wine was great but the $45,000 rose gold Rolex inside it was better. It is my 4th Rolex and my favorite. We bought our dream 6000-square-foot house and redid everything exactly how we wanted it. My credit card bill would be anywhere between $17,000 to $50,000 a month, which he would happily pay. We laughed at how ridiculous it was. We had 3 nanny/housekeepers and 2 private chefs… don’t forget the driver. Cars – let’s see: 3 Maseratis, Ferrari ($400K), Bentley, Escalade, BMW, Mercedes, Range Rover, Limo, Customised Mercedes Limo bus, 2 extremely nice boats, etc. We were treated like VIPs everywhere we went because everyone knew we were big spenders and big tippers. That all being said, on a scale of 1–10 I would have rated my happiness at a 2 or 3. You see, my husband is a complete narcissist, and living with him is indescribable.
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 $4000 on bottle service in Dubai b***hes at me if I spend $4 on Starbucks to the point that if I do treat myself, I have to hide it. Cars have been sold, the staff has been let go, 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 cliche as it is, money doesn’t buy happiness. I’m no less happy than I was before. Do I miss it? Everyday. It at least gave me something to look forward to but it didn’t bring me happiness. 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
“My grandfather was a politician during the Soviet era and made a very good fortune in the 90s in the form of land (about 7000 hectares), various equipment (cars, equipment, etc.), real estate (5 cottages, 8 apartments, and shopping centers). And of course, there were heaps of gold and silver jewelry and money. So, as a child, I was not denied anything: I had all the toys that I wanted, I never wondered where the money came from (and generally did not understand why they were needed) and it seemed to me that everyone lived like this – it is the NORM.
Then, my grandfather passed away. And my father and his family – 2 brothers and 3 sisters – began to divide the property. And as it always happens, conflicts began to arise. After the property was somehow split, they all went their separate ways. Only memories were left. There was nothing they could do about it because they’ve never worked and lived a blissful life. The assets were either confiscated, sold, or lost.
After that, my parents (uneducated) tried to somehow put their life together. My father tried to start a new business, but nothing worked out and we ended up with a huge debt that we’re still paying off now. He then found a job as a driver while my mother was a saleswoman. However, they always make sure I’m comfortable and focused on my studies. For this, I am infinitely grateful to them. But still, even when I was little, I understood everything perfectly and tried not to bother them. I denied myself in many ways and started to take everything more seriously. But on the other hand, it helped build a character in me that helped me achieve my goals.
As a result, I graduated with excellent grades, won numerous Olympiads, and entered the best university in the country for a grant. I will soon finish my studies in the USA. My parents have always told me that the best I can invest in is my own education. They always took the situation described above as an example and insisted that their main mistake was that they were not educated. They just didn’t want to learn. They thought: Why? We already have everything. It’s not about the diploma, but the fact that they did not know how to do anything and did not want to work.
I think that even if all the property had survived, I would not have been the same as now and still have lost everything. So really: whatever happened was for the best.” – Arman Zhakupov
“Not rich, but I definitely grew up in upper-middle-class and am now extremely poor due to leaving my job to go back to school a while back. One thing that really sucks is luxuries are just gone. I used to always have nice shoes; now I’ve worn the same pair for 4 years. I haven’t eaten in a restaurant in a year. I have like 5 cavities. None of this sh** would have ever flown when I was under the wing of my parents or when I was employed. It feels like 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 4000-5000 sq. ft 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
“My girlfriend is from a fairly wealthy family, and I am from a family with an average income. It’s not a problem for her to buy a T-shirt that costs 30k or to take a break and fly to another country, because her parents have money for everything. Like in the movies, they fell in love, started living together; there were no problems as her dad’s money was enough. But his company went bankrupt and, oh, my God… she is completely not adapted to life. She does not know how to work; she let her tongue loose. She only eats luxurious food, not ordinary potatoes. She is wonderful, kind, well-read, and she loves me as I do her, but her automatically saying, “Buy this” when entering stores, but I have no money, and her look that says ‘you’re a loser,’ destroys me. I love her, but it’s impossible to go on like this.” – Podslushano
“From experience, it is scary and humbling all in the same instant. 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 due to an air-tight prenup and my parents’ estate not being available to me till I am 50.
I hadn’t worked since I was 18 and was 25 at this time, I had a useless degree. 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; before, I lived in an 8-bedroom 12,000 sq foot home. I drove a 1988 Honda Civic when I used to drive a brand new leased Range Rover. I never had to worry about how much money was in my account. When I had the power, gas, and water got shut off and 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. It was the most humbling experience of my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided that day that I would never worry about paying a bill again!
I now own the business I started working for 7 years ago, with multiple location across my state. I have a nice house but not too nice (even though I can now afford it). I drive a nice 4Runner, 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 ever happen to me.” – Courtney Styles / Quora
“I was born during the financial boom. And I grew up in a 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 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, so all I heard about it was that we couldn’t afford stuff. We were never really poor, but my parents were cautious, and there was a definite change in spending. I thought we were poor. This leads to some embarrassing situations that I’ll spare you off, mostly because I cringe at the memory.
I don’t know how to explain what it was like; I just really didn’t understand. Like if my dad gave me money to do the groceries 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 seven times that.
There was also a lot of selling stuff. My brother did a year at a boarding school, and I wanted to do the same, but my dad kept saying we didn’t have the money (my mother didn’t think it was fair that we offered it to my brother but not to me, so she kept pushing for it), and we eventually sold our boat, so I could go. That was just one example. If I ask my dad about the trust fund I know my grandfather set up for me, he’ll say I can’t have it because they spent it on my boarding school stay. Things like that happened.” – Hope Laust
“At 25 I had my own apartment, car, my own big store (27 employees). My husband was the chief technologist at a meat processing company with 120 subordinates. Lived without knowing the worries. Did the stupidest thing ever: I emigrated because I care about my mom and sister. Now, we are constantly in need and trapped by debt. We don’t have our own home nor will we ever will. I see my family only on birthdays because I’m drowning in more and more work. I hate myself.” – Marina Zilin
“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..). Spring breaks to Paris/Hawaii, and annual trips to my parents’ home country (Asia).
Then, my dad invested in his ‘best friend’s business. His best friend (20+ year-friendship, this dude was my GODFATHER) convinced him that his company, which was doing super well at the time and making the friend a multi-millionaire, needed a business partner to take the company to the “next level.” My dad, trusting his best friend, put everything we had into the company. But not just as an impartial lender. The “friend” convinced my dad to sign on as a partner within the business. Not even a year after giving him all of our savings, the company was exposed as in the throes of bankruptcy. My dad not only lost everything he put in – he was now on the hook for ALL of the debts the company had incurred.
We lost everything. We had to sell our house to pay the remaining debts and move into a tiny condo. In the most devastating moment I remember of my life, I recall my parents quietly discussing in the living room how they would sell their wedding jewelry. I took a part-time job and paid my own way through college. My parents clawed tooth and nail to financially recover.
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 $140k and my husband makes more. My parents made some smarter business decisions and today live a slightly-below-average-but-still-comfortable retirement. So life turned itself around for me, and I’m grateful for that every single day.” – elemenelope
“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. I realized that window shopping can be exciting and that bringing your own food to the 1.00 dollar cinema with old movies is okay if you don’t get caught!
Sure, it was hard to see my baby belly growing, and I 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 had good opportunities. Cinderella went back to her castle! I hope I don’t find myself answering a question in a few years about how it feels to become poor for a second time! But well, now I know that as long as we have love and life, we have nothing to fear.” – Aline Vargas de Murillo
“My aunt married a millionaire right out of high school. Let me just say she has always been crazy. Very beautiful but very crazy. My whole life, I just thought she was a lunatic, and then my mom told me as a teenager that at one point, my aunt had been very rich because her husband was.
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. I was a baby at the time. The little house she lives in is in bad condition and always has been from my memory. She just sews for a living and is on assistance. She has like 1,000 parrots in her house that she calls her babies.
It’s very sad.” – tsim12345