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Want to be a billionaire? Think again.

Life is good? Right?
Photo by Chris Weeks

To quote the singer Bruno Mars, “I want to be a billionaire, so freaking bad.”

This is a desire that is shared by millions of people around the world. They see the glitz and glamour of being a billionaire, and they believe that it’s a lifestyle they want to have. But when you scratch the veneer of the 10 digit wealth bracket, you start to see some blemishes that are altogether unappealing and downright frightening. Being a billionaire has its consequences. Here are a few things that you may not have considered as you sang along with Bruno Mars and envisioned your 150 foot yacht.

Say Goodbye to Anonymity

By Forbe’s reckoning, there are 1,650 billionaires in the world. When you consider that there are over seven billion people on the planet, you can understand how being one of the 0.00002% of the population might gain you some recognition. In fact, most billionaires become celebrities in their own right. If I were to show you a picture of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, or some other billionaire, you’d probably recognize them.

With this recognition comes the loss of anonymity. Like me, I’m sure you enjoy your private time. Whether it’s going to the park with your family, shopping for clothes at the mall, or going out to eat, you have activities you enjoy and that you’d want to continue enjoying. Imagine how those activities would be affected if strangers were coming up to you to receive an autograph, ask for advice, pitch you a business idea, or in the extreme cases, ask you for money. (There are websites with how-to steps for asking a billionaire for money)

Before you saddle up to the billionaire dinner table, ask yourself if you’d be willing to give up your privacy.

The World is a Dangerous Place

Michael Dell’s daughter recently cause a stir when she began publicizing her activities on Instagram. The reason that this common place teenage activity was such a concern was security. Michael Dell is worth roughly 16 billion dollars. He has a full time security detail to protect himself and his family. You can imagine the dangers of kidnapping, ransom, extortion, or blackmail that someone with that type of wealth would encounter.

With the extra commas in your bank account also comes the dangers of others wanting to get a piece of that money through nefarious acts.

Who can you Trust?

Several of my wealthy friends have opined to me about their interactions with acquaintances, friends, family, and complete strangers. They tell me horror stories of becoming friends with someone only to have that individual hit them up for a loan, a business investment, or some other type of financial venture. When my friends turned those people down, they don’t hear from them ever again, or worse, the relationship becomes a hostile one.

When you have a net worth that is worthy of publication in Forbes, you can be sure that there will be people coming out of the woodwork to be your friend. You’ll also have family members and your current circle of friends reaching out to you for financial reasons. This can ruin relationships, damage familial ties, and cause you to question who is honestly wanting to interact with you and who is just looking for a handout.

Free Time… What Free Time?

Unless you inherited your billions, chances are you worked extremely hard to attain that level of wealth. And if you worked that hard to get it, then you probably won’t be able to sit on your laurels and enjoy the money without having to maintain the source of your riches. Thus, many billionaires have unlimited financial means, but very limited time to actually enjoy the benefits the money can provide.

There are stories of billionaires who have purchased yachts, jets, and islands and never had the opportunity to use them. Eventually the multi-million dollar toys are sold, without being used, for a loss.

While the billionaire lifestyle might be glorified through the media, remember that with great wealth comes a whole host of extra baggage – much of it less than ideal.

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