Rich lists make me vomit in my mouth.
Forbes 30 under 30 is one of the worst. Admittedly, as a 20-something young punk, I used to worship the ground these show ponies walk on.
Now I cringe at all of it. You probably do too.
A short story of a typical young rich prickstar
Unfortunately, I have some experience with these young rich listers.
While working in finance I came face-to-face with them all the time. One nearly became a client. I asked to have coffee with them to pitch our services.
He insisted on taking me to a fine dining restaurant.
He rolled up in a hot pink suit jacket, rainbow pocket square, Louis Vuitton loafers, and jeans so tight you could see his man junk.
I nearly coughed my lungs up from the prestigious snobs dining all around me. I hated every minute of it. The meeting went well though.
A few days later I got a call from the CEO’s office of my employer….
(This was a 40,000-person company mind you.)
The person told me rather harshly that this young rich lister had contacted our CEO and demanded tickets to the Melbourne Cup. I was told in corporate morse code to politely “take out the trash.”
So take out the rich trash, I did.
“Mate, what the bloody hell are ya doing? You can afford tickets to the horse race. You’re worth tens of millions of dollars.”
His response: “I know but just because I can pay doesn’t mean I will. I want some free sh*t.”
OMG. I got rid of him and we never spoke again.
What many people don’t know about rich lists
I got a look into the underground world of rich lists a few years back.
A friend works in PR. She told me that a lot of these rich lists are full of hype. The estimates of how much money they’ve made are often nowhere near close (Kylie Jenner’s wealth is a great example). These so-called rich listers often have tons of debt and no liquid cash.
Many of them couldn’t even pay for a plane ticket at a moment’s notice.
Their wealth is often calculated based on their business. Many of them own tech companies. These tech companies are built on top of BS valuations. Many may have revenue, but most have negative profit.
They burn more cash than a poker player high on coke who’s in Vegas for a bachelor’s party.
The image people have of them is built by PR firms. These firms spend their days pitching newspapers, publications and big social media platforms to write about how rich their snobby client is.
(I get unsolicited pitches from these PR companies all the time saying “will you write about our client?” They all get blocked for life.)
The funniest is awards. Many awards these show ponies hold up above their heads as if they’re Rocky Balboa are thanks to written applications.
PR writers write long submission emails to award givers. They often pay money, too, to get their client the converted prize.
It’s never enough
The thing about rich lists is it’s never enough. Many people who end up on them get caught in a wealth game. They spend their entire day trying to make more money so they can upgrade their luxury status.
No matter how much money they make, they keep running on the dumb-money treadmill — often, until they lose every dollar by taking too much risk.
These people are 10 times better than rich listers
Instead of rich lists, show me someone who has defied the odds and got their Ph.D. in their 70s.
Or show me someone like John Crawley.
He found out his two infant kids had an incurable genetic disease, a disease that would kill them. To try and save their lives he started a biotech company (with zero industry qualifications) and came up with an enzyme therapy that saved their lives from certain death.
Or show me a writer in their 80s full of passion that’s publishing their first novel with a major book publisher. Or show me someone full of love, change one life at a time through smaller actions most people overlook.
Or show me someone like Chris Powers’ father. At the age of 37 he came home one night and announced he was quitting his lawyer job to become a doctor.
He went backward to get his “undergraduate prerequisites.” At 38 he applied for medical school. Then at 46 he finally became a doctor. Chris says he didn’t realize how crazy this wild career transition was until he turned 37 himself.
Acquiring stupid amounts of money is glorified hoarding. Rich listers don’t need an award.
They need a psychologist — and a red humility pill.
No one cares about rich lists or the InstaFame millionaire life. It’s nothing more than a selfishness epidemic.
Make money quietly and shut up.
We don’t care if you’re on a rich list. We care if you’re a good human.