I spent many years studying the rich and the poor in my Rich Habits Study and found that there were twelve problems almost everyone has to contend with in life:
- Health Problems
- Financial Problems
- Family Problems
- Neighbor Problems
- Home Repair Problems
- Car Problems
- Addiction Problems
- Job Problems
- Relationship Problems
- Death or Disability Problems
- Time Management Problems
- Weather Problems
Each of these problems creates stress, worry and unhappiness for anyone affected by them.
When I analyzed my study data, I discovered that, out of all of these modern day problems, the rich really only struggle with five:
- Family Problems
- Health Problems
- Time Management Problems
- Death or Disability Problems and
- Weather Problems.
If you do the math, that’s only forty-two percent of life’s problems that the wealthy have to contend with. Or, looking at it another way –being rich eliminates fifty-eight percent of life’s major problems.
Let’s delve into this in a little more detail.
#1 Health Problems
According to my Rich Habits Study data, seventy-six percent of the rich do some form of cardio exercise every day for about thirty minutes. The science on the health benefits of cardio exercise is clear – cardio exercise improves your health and extends your life. But what about cancer?
Cancer is fairly democratic in that it plagues the rich and the poor alike. However, studies indicate that a poor diet increases the risk factors associated with cancer.
According to my study, the rich and the poor had very different diets. The rich ate significantly less junk food, consumed significantly less alcohol, avoided fast-food restaurants, and consumed far less sugar than the poor did.
On top of all this, the rich have the financial means to secure the best medical care, in the event something does go wrong.
Nevertheless, although the rich can afford to find the best medical care available, their money cannot eliminate health problems.
#2 Financial Problems
The only financial problems the rich have involve managing their money and investments. One hundred percent of the rich in my study owned their own home and eight-four percent had no mortgage.
#3 Family Problems
Rich or poor, we cannot control family problems. Having a family means you will deal with a whole host of family issues.
#4 Neighbor Problems
The rich have the luxury to pick their neighbors. They can afford to find the best places to live. And if they decide they can’t tolerate their neighbours, they have the financial ability to move to a better neighbourhood.
#5 Home Repair Problems
If the central air conditioning system breaks, the rich have the money to fix it immediately. When it comes to major repairs, the only issue for the rich is how fast the electrician, plumber, or carpenter can get the job done. There are no financial concerns for the rich when something goes wrong with their home.
#6 Car Problems
If something goes wrong with their car, the rich can afford to get it towed to a repair shop or simply buy a new car.
#7 Addiction Problems
Drugs are a blight on society. No one, not even the rich, can escape this blight. The big difference is that the rich can afford to send themselves, their spouse or their children to the best and most effective rehabilitation centers. The rich have the financial resources to secure the best care in dealing with addiction problems and, therefore, a better chance of eliminating it.
#8 Job Problems
According to my Rich Habits Study data, eighty-six percent of the rich like or love what they do for a living. Because they like or love what they do for a living, they do a better job. They have no fear of being fired because they either own their own business (fifty-one percent of the rich in my study owned their own business) or they are a decision-maker where they work (ninety-one percent in my study were decision -makers), meaningtheydo the hiring and firing.
#9 Relationship Problems
According to my data, relationships are the currency of the wealthy. The rich surround themselves with other like-minded people who share their goals, dreams, values, thoughts, morality and virtues. They devote an enormous amount of time to managing their relationships and they make a habit of avoiding toxic relationships.
Plus, because they are rich, they are treated differently by others. The non-rich, banks, non-profits and many individuals and organizations understand that the rich can help them both financially and through their powerful relationships. As a result, the rich are often treated with kid gloves, in the hope that the rich may help them in some way.
#10 Death/Disability Problems
Death or disability can happen to anyone at any time, rich or poor.
#11 Time Management Problems
Sixty-five percent of the rich in my Rich Habits Study had at least three sources of income to manage. As a result, the rich are constantly pressed for time in managing their revenue streams. Plus, according to my study, ninety-one percent of the rich were decision-makers where they worked. Responsibility follows decision-makers wherever they go, even on vacations. Time management is, therefore, a constant problem for the rich.
#12 Weather Problems
Do I need to even address this? Weather affects everyone, rich or poor.
When you are rich, you can eliminate much of the stress, everyday problems cause and, thus eliminate the unhappiness associated with those problems. When you are poor, these problems often linger and create long-term or chronic stress, which not only derails happiness but which also impairs the immune system, inviting disease, illness and poor health.
So, the next time someone tells you money can’t buy happiness, don’t buy what they’re selling.
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Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner, public speaker and author of the books “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals“duck”RichKids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life“. Corley’s work has appeared on CNN, USA Today, The Huffington Post, SUCCESS Magazine, and many other media outlets and podcasts in the US and 27 other countries. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider and CNBC.