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Why Do Millionaires Still Work?

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Once you've made enough to live on decently for the rest of your life without receiving a penny more, what reason is there to still keep working in whatever line of work you used to get to that position?

Unless you clearly state that you love the work for its own sake, as e.g. J K Rowling says.

But - how many multimillionaires actually loved the work they did to get that much money? And if they didn't really enjoy the work itself, yet keep going at it after reaching said level of money, that can only mean they want more money they will never need. Why?

There's an exception if they then give it all away to good causes. But very few do.

So why do they do it? Is it all for silly bragging rights against each other?

Or are they simply caught up in what by now has become a habit, so that they continue in it even after the need for it has disappeared, à la Pavlov?

Any further possible reasons or motives?...

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I know this will sound disconnected from reality (because it is) - but £1m isn't an astronomical sum. To qualify you just need to be boomer with a paid off house and a public sector final salary pension scheme. And most of them *do* stop working - only they call it retirement. Ridiculously early, if the set I know are anything to go by.

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There was a guy on the news recently who said work gave him a purpose in life. Maybe alot have that whole protestant work ethic thing going on.

Also we are in a bizarre situation where a million pounds in a savings account will earn you less than minimum wage so I guess many who live a certain lifestyle will think they need alot more than you or I would think.

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How many millionaires are actually millionaires once their debt is accounted for?

Beside's, a lot people just like being the 'boss' or being listened to.

I mentioned on one of these nimby boomer 'the planners' documentaries a few months back, most the nimbies were gents of a certain age who retired at managerial level and seem to relish just at throwing their weight about and achieving 'something' (even if that something is denying young families somewhere to live) more than anything else.

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Because their job is their identity, their pecking order in society, their ego, importance, power and worth.....what would they be without their job? A nobody, what would they do all day? who would value them, look up to them, admire them and envy them...nobody when they no longer have a job.

That would only be a few people....but to many their job is who they are, they might rather opt to work on a voluntary part-time basis rather that let go completely. ;)

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It's a hard-wired thing.

At the Christmas party this year, I was sat next to my boss's boss's boss's boss's boss and their direct report (my boss' ...you get the picture). We were chatting about life, and got on to the topic of my working part time.

Boss four levels up: Frugal has the best work-life balance here.

Boss five levels up: I would love to do that.

Frugal : You could.

Boss five levels up : I guess. But it would be tough.

If he/she isn't worth 8 figures in $, I'd be shocked. But to them, the trappings have made it very, very difficult to stop. Both had just bought 6 figure cars. And it's not just money/material goods - power, self-worth - everything is defined by their status.

I can understand it completely - and good luck to them. I never plan on retiring, no matter how comfortably off I become - and the plan is not to *have* to work soon enough anyway. But I (YMMV) need some amount of purpose/structure. I'm just playing the game differently to them - success is determined to me by free time/lack of worry, and I'm a massive success at organizing my life to ensure if I want to be as lazy as I like somedays without a care in the world, that's possible.

My stock answer to anyone now who asks me why I work part time is I'd rather be semi-retired for 50 years than retired for 15.

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I know this will sound disconnected from reality (because it is) - but £1m isn't an astronomical sum. To qualify you just need to be boomer with a paid off house and a public sector final salary pension scheme. And most of them *do* stop working - only they call it retirement. Ridiculously early, if the set I know are anything to go by.

Agreed but coming at it from a different perspective. Don't have that final salary pension so you need to look after yourself from a wealth perspective. Assume that history is a reasonable proxy for what the future might throw at you (not what all the wealth warnings say but what else have you got to plan against...) so you need enough wealth to enable a withdrawal rate of less than 3% annually. Now assume investment expenses of 0.5% (high if you know what you're doing but certainly not high for the Average Joe) and you're now withdrawing at 2.5%. That huge £1M is going to secure you annual 'earnings' of about £25,000 before tax. Not a small amount of money but it's hardly rich.

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How many millionaires are actually millionaires once their debt is accounted for?

Beside's, a lot people just like being the 'boss' or being listened to.

I mentioned on one of these nimby boomer 'the planners' documentaries a few months back, most the nimbies were gents of a certain age who retired at managerial level and seem to relish just at throwing their weight about and achieving 'something' (even if that something is denying young families somewhere to live) more than anything else.

Yes

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A million in assets and an earned income buys you toys and titillations; skiing holidays, flash cars, pretty things for their wives. For some people they, trading the majority of their waking hours each week for this is worth it. Personally, I think not.

But, forget £1m. The same logic applies further down the asset scale. You probably need £250k[1] to buy your freedom in the UK. Once you've got a roof over your head and food on the table (and, maybe a bike to get around), everything else is just gravy. But most people would rather keep selling their lives for more toys.

[1] £100k for a small pad. £150k in shares yielding 4.25% giving £530pm (but spend only 80% = £425 and stick the remainder in the mattress to cover divi-droughts). Frugal - but free.

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A million in assets and an earned income buys you toys and titillations; skiing holidays, flash cars, pretty things for their wives. For some people they, trading the majority of their waking hours each week for this is worth it. Personally, I think not.

But, forget £1m. The same logic applies further down the asset scale. You probably need £250k[1] to buy your freedom in the UK. Once you've got a roof over your head and food on the table (and, maybe a bike to get around), everything else is just gravy. But most people would rather keep selling their lives for more toys.

[1] £100k for a small pad. £150k in shares yielding 4.25% giving £530pm (but spend only 80% = £425 and stick the remainder in the mattress to cover divi-droughts). Frugal - but free.

My thoughts exactly on all points (and the model I follow). Brilliant post.

And entertainment is so cheap these days too - I'm watching the same shows/films, reading the same books, going to the same museums, hiking the same mountains, visiting the same places etc as these multi-millionaires anyway. Probably on a better setup then theirs actually in most cases. And I reckon I undoubtedly eat better. The escalator is nuts, but as I said, good luck to them.

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A million in assets and an earned income buys you toys and titillations; skiing holidays, flash cars, pretty things for their wives. For some people they, trading the majority of their waking hours each week for this is worth it. Personally, I think not.

But, forget £1m. The same logic applies further down the asset scale. You probably need £250k[1] to buy your freedom in the UK. Once you've got a roof over your head and food on the table (and, maybe a bike to get around), everything else is just gravy. But most people would rather keep selling their lives for more toys.

[1] £100k for a small pad. £150k in shares yielding 4.25% giving £530pm (but spend only 80% = £425 and stick the remainder in the mattress to cover divi-droughts). Frugal - but free.

Yes, true freedom is having the choice of being able to work or not work, to do what you want to do for money or no money.....the fewer responsibilities you have and the fewer needs you have, the more choices and greater freedoms you can then have. ;)

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Yes, true freedom is having the choice of being able to work or not work, to do what you want to do for money or no money.....the fewer responsibilities you have and the fewer needs you have, the more choices and greater freedoms you can then have. ;)

Agreed. Most call it Financial Independence. At current run rate I'll be there in less than 2 years and won't yet have had my 45th birthday. Bring it on.

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Personally, just can't understand why. Maslow seems to agree with me - not required for self-actualisation.

maslow-hierarchy-of-needs-diagram.jpg

They've forgotten about the top step, and keep working harder and harder at the fourth one. It's a bit of a problem - I'll go on a bit of a reach and say it's an affliction suffered by the majority of buy to letters ;-)

Edited by Frugal Git

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They've forgotten about the top step, and keep working harder and harder at the fourth one. It's a bit of a problem - I'll go on a bit of a reach and say that's why you have people wanting to get into BTL ;-)

I can also think of many ways to build Esteem without having to buy stuff.

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I can also think of many ways to build Esteem without having to buy stuff.

Of course. But you're clearly a thinker, where as most sadly are on autopilot.

Edited by Frugal Git

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My work brings me into contact with a number of self made business people who've all made seven figure (or higher sums).

Most of them no longer work 9-5 in a full time employed job, but they are all still incredibly active and involved in business and voluntary activities.

My take is that if you have the level of energy and drive to make yourself £2m+ from scratch (by growing a business - not sitting on a BTL portfolio), sitting around at home and pottering in the garden is likely to drive you (and your partner) mad in about 6 months.

All of the people I know love the intellectual challenge of being in business and are to some extent competitive. They know the value they bring and don't sell themselves short, but money isn't their main motivation.

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[1] £100k for a small pad. £150k in shares yielding 4.25% giving £530pm (but spend only 80% = £425 and stick the remainder in the mattress to cover divi-droughts). Frugal - but free.

250k ? , surprised you think that is enough to live on , decent deposit i say

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My work brings me into contact with a number of self made business people who've all made seven figure (or higher sums).

Most of them no longer work 9-5 in a full time employed job, but they are all still incredibly active and involved in business and voluntary activities.

My take is that if you have the level of energy and drive to make yourself £2m+ from scratch (by growing a business - not sitting on a BTL portfolio), sitting around at home and pottering in the garden is likely to drive you (and your partner) mad in about 6 months.

All of the people I know love the intellectual challenge of being in business and are to some extent competitive. They know the value they bring and don't sell themselves short, but money isn't their main motivation.

Yes. And the opposite is true as well!

Existentially I personally am stuck somewhere between the the two (i.e. a strange mix of lazy and highly motivated, depending on the context) which does cause me a degree of regular soul searching. Hopefully one day in the not too distant future I will figure this out...

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250k ? , surprised you think that is enough to live on , decent deposit i say

I thought he meant p.a. income at first - that's about what I feel I need for a decent lifestyle!

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Objectives change over time, and £1 million is **** all when compared to financing a half reasonable lifestyle for several decades. Of course you could live like a pauper on baked beans for 30 years, but that would be dull. I want to do things today that I could not have imagined wanting to do 20 years ago - and they mostly cost money. I'd be wanting at least 10 million in free assets, as well as all of the big purchases out of the way before packing it in.

I think there are a surprising number of people out there who genuinely enjoy their work, I know I do.

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I could have stopped work at 50 but kept on until I was 56. Few reasons,

-fear of running out of money in my seventies or eighties. Shouldn't have worried, retirement's way cheaper than I imagined

-not wanting to look like a layabout to my kids so kept working until they at least went to uni. Waste of time, they couldn't care less

-wanted to complete some projects that I'd initiated that were going through a difficult patch. Mea culpa, shouldn't have let it happen in the first place

-remarried to a younger woman, I suspect there was some pathetic need to appear active, again shouldn't have worried

I'm surprised more of my colleagues haven't packed it in, I guess all my reasons plus,

-remarried to a younger woman and then had second batch of kids, that'll keep you in harness for another decade or two

-on to wife three or four with big child maintenance bills. You're allowed one mistake in the marriage game, three or more and it's a personality disorder

-scared of not having a fvck off business card

-defrauded or defrauding the company, and fearful of it being spotted if they're not in place to hide it

-didn't hit the big time until late in career, so haven't built up enough savings

-ran up giant borrowings and didn't have the discipline to get out from under them

-naked greed

-lack of imagination, can't think of anything else to do

-convinced themselves no one else can do their job, which is just delusional

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