Being Rich is Not a Sin

by David Ning · 19 comments

As a frugalist, I naturally know many people who share the same values. Some practice the art by choice, and others by necessity. Some love being frugal, while others wished life were different. In every category though, there seems to be a select few who would resent the rich. The other day, I heard this comment:

…Who cares. Those people have rich parents and that’s why they can afford it. Me? I make my own living.

Don’t worry if you’ve felt something similar. I have done this too, as I find myself envy of my friends who are well off at times. It rarely happens, but sometimes I wonder why I have to struggle dealing with my wife’s constant request to purchase our first house when others I know just buy because they have a huge inheritance waiting for them.

As a result of this enviousness jealousy, I may have sent out unintended hostile signals to those friends (I’m just speculating here so please leave a comment if you felt the hostility at certain times). You may be understanding and think that it’s a natural reaction, but here’s the thing – being rich is not a sin. In fact, having rich parents is not a sin. If these people have the means, they should enjoy it. It’s one thing to live large without money, but why do they have to put up with others if their ancestors successfully amassed wealth?

This is for all you people who envy someone you know:

  • If you are jealous of your friend who received a huge chunk of inheritance, then work hard and save diligently so you can leave your children with the same luxury.
  • If you are jealous of your coworker who got the promotion you wanted, work doubly hard so there’s a better chance that luck would be on your side in the future.
  • If you are jealous of others who seem to live a high life, invest in yourself so you are capable of earning a better living when opportunity comes knocking.
  • The list goes on, but there are solutions to every situation. Be creative and always have a positive attitude.

There are no guarantees that these remedies will work, but if we can increase our chances, what more can we ask for?

If you ever feel lost, then just come back. At least you know others here are working at it too.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • David says:

    I lost a loved one I cared a great deal about. She died back in March. I was really sad about that and I miss her. I was disappointed that I did not directly receive anything. I was also hurt because I was listed as “in line” if my mother was dead.

    Understand, this is new to me. I would love to have been blessed with an unexpected gift but I was horrified to see this connected with my mother not being alive. That turns me off of it. I felt oddly guilty wanting the money but not wanting it because the will was written in such a way that made me feel sad. And I really have never contemplated a world without my mom. I would much rather have my mom than the money.

    I do feel that at least one person named in the will didn’t love my deceased relative at ll but is in it due to family rank/elder position. My frustration has been fueled in part due to some others who were named in the will going on about it. One person referenced another inheritance that she received and referred to that amount as “piddly”.

    I can take not getting the money. I am ashamed to say that I have hard time listening to people throw off on a dollar amount they received. I am equally disheartened when another family member says “I am rich” and references the inheritance. My attitude is “just say stuff like that to the ones in the club”. And yes I do feel that it is a shame that one relative who only came around the deceased hat in hand looking for a handout was so richly rewarded.

    I am sure other folks–like a neighbor who came to the deceased’s aid during an attempted burglary–deserved to be remembered more than me. But I am bothered by this notion that blood relations with no real affection or concern for the deceased means so much. But my deceased relative made a decision on how to distribute her property and I have no right to judge or question her decision.

    I can’t let this change me.

    I will never spend time with someone because I think they could leave me something or would. I won’t do that. I hurt but I want to treat people right. But I sure feel sad about my reaction and the reaction of others.

    If you read this pray for me. I don’t think about it all the time but one word sets me off and this situation eats at me. After a while I did ask one person to not mention this to me because it was hurting me–keeping me up night, etc. Of course that person did not listen to my sincere and heartfelt request. I am mad and want to say to Hell with them for being sore winners–I am trying my best to not be a sore loser.

    I took pride in saying that I didn’t have alterior motives for spending time with a wise and truly wonderful older lady who lived to be 104. I feel so hurt about this that I question if that is true. I was blessed to my relative because she was a good soul. I know I would have called her and visited her regardless but I do feel sad knowing what a financial blessing others got that I didn’t.

    I hope I take this anger in the right direction and let it dissipate. Let it go and focus on saving more money myself and rededicating myself to generating more revenue through job opportunities I like to do such as speaking and writing.

    Again I could take, not easily but I was doing alright, not receiving anything but I have a hard time listening to folks celebrate like they are scoring a touchdown.

    I am going to pray for a better attitude. I sure hope that any who read this will be kind enough ask the Good Lord to fill my heart with goodness as well.

    Best wishes to you all.

  • Painful Truth says:

    Lia, don’t squirm out of the painful truth just because it’s inconvenient. Jesus told the rich man to sell all his possessions and GIVE THE MONEY TO THE POOR, because it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven. From a practical standpoint, there is enough food to feed the world but people still starve; this is essentially because well-off people hoard too much wealth, far more than they deserve. Nobody’s individual work contributions are worth hundreds or thousands of times those of another, such that they should deserve thousands of times the wealth of the typical person. This especially applies to the super-rich but we all bear responsibility for it; just because almost everyone is guilty of it does not make it right.

    P.S.: Supporting inheritance is hypocrisy because it enables benefactors to live in luxury without working for it AT ALL; yet the very people who support it tend to lambast the poor, saying they deserve their plight because they “don’t work hard enough.” That kind of hypocrisy is so extreme that it’s appalling.

    • fred johnson says:

      JESUS told the rich man SPECIFICALLY what HIS sin was. He didn’t broaden that specific event to ALL men. You are a hypocrite, trying to preach the bible to us and you don’t even understand what it says. That rich man LOVED money and therefore to rid himself of that sin Jesus said to give it all away. Not all wealthy folks LOVE money—-and this is were your thinking is in error. Your POVERTY mentality is as big a sin as someone who loves money, in my opinion.

  • Lia says:

    Having money isn’t a bad thing for it’s the love of money which is a sin. Honestly the world would be a better place if people would learn how to leave a Godly inheritance.

  • Painful Truth says:

    Being rich is definitely a tremendous sin as long as people are starving or unable to afford health care, etc. There is no point escaping the uncomfortable truth. Jesus told the rich man to “sell all his possessions and give to the poor” BECAUSE every human being deserves necessities (food, health care, etc.) more than any rich person deserves luxuries in God’s eyes. To pretend otherwise would just be preaching a lie.

    • fred johnson says:

      Really??? What do you know about “sin”? Was Solomon rich because he was in sin? No. God blessed him. It’s not a sin to have money. It may be a sin to “love” money however.

  • Nicole says:

    There are plenty of people who are rich and deserve it. My father paid for his college by serving in the airforce and then opened a small business. He makes artificial limbs and braces for disabilities and injuries. My mother and her mother paid for her college education to become a physical therapist.
    They do not flaunt wealth. They are extremely practical but built their own house, a really nice house with a big yard. They also grow their own produce, farm bees, vote, donate money to Audobon, WWF, local special olympics competitions, run 5 miles a day, recycle, shop local, etc. They are model human beings.
    Since they have moved into the house, I have felt blatant resentment, which is different from jealousy, from others, especially parents of my friends. The thing is, people do not even ask how or why they are rich, so they would never know that it is because they are hard-working, compassionate people. They just start to interact strangely afterward. Securing their lives and their childrens’ educations and not having to worry about money is regarded by people as being filthy stinking rich and they have to deal with a ton of crap as a result.

  • Zellie says:

    All this talk about RICH, just makes me think about my Grandparents and my parents…OMG….was I immersed in RICHNESS from within growing up…I was BLESSED…. Thank you my Dearest Grandparents, Parents and God.

  • Zellie says:

    For me, Rich is as Rich does….never ever truly being able to live in another person’s body, mind or spirit…I can only judge their financial riches…but what about the richness within? This, to me, is a level playing field…solely dependent on your attitude and efforts. I have friends that will never be financially rich…however, their common sense, their principled life, their high morals, and strong characters draw others to them like magnets…we all are ENRICHED in their presence…hard working, decent human beings…

  • Mike says:

    The best things in the world is being good looking,rich, and not having a conscience that way you can destroy and conquer and super hot girls still want to get with you.

  • San Roman says:

    to Robert,

    “being filthy, stinking rich IS a sin, I believe.”

    how so? “filthy rich” is relative, first off, and if a person became “filthy, stinking rich”- how is this person sinful? don’t forget that these people, who, for example, run large multi billion dollar companies, give thousands of people jobs, and oft are also devoted philanthropists. many have revolutionized the way we live (bill gates, paul allen, etc…) and many simply do what they love and they happen to get paid extremely well (i.e, actors, singers, directors, artists, etc..) one of the main reasons, i believe, there is such a large gap between the upper class and the middle and lower class, is because we don’t take the time to understand each other but rather judge each other without hesitating.
    please help me understand your brute statement.

  • Robert says:

    Being filthy, stinking rich IS a sin, I believe. But everyone’s beliefs are different. Those who are poor due to laziness, too bad for them. But there are plenty of people out there who are poor and not lazy.

    • fred johnson says:

      Really??? What do you know about “sin”? Was Solomon rich because he was in sin? No. God blessed him. It’s not a sin to have money. It may be a sin to “love” money however.

  • Charles says:

    I like this post. Everyone always talks about the frugal side but what if you have some money but feel guilty using it because you’re afraid that your friends will perceive you differently?

    You said it best. It’s not a sin to be rich.

  • David – Your tip #1 is the best “If you are jealous of your friend who received a huge chunk of inheritance, then work hard and save diligently so you can leave your children with the same luxury. ”

    The idea to go the other end and leave a similar amount for your children is a very thoughtful, motivating gesture. Everything is relative, and this is something I will post on over the next 7 days. It’s already in the queue, just like this post as you’re on your fabulous cruise. 🙂

    All about relating sideways or downwards, not constantly upwards.

  • Moneymonk says:

    You really put it in perspective, I have to tweet this

  • Jacob says:

    I think you wrote about something that people think everyone else does it but not them. We all get jealous, and I think it’s a natural emotion, but some people just take it too far.

    Life’s what it is, if you don’t have a certain thing, then work hard to get it. There’s no need to think about others.

  • Pete says:

    It’s nice to read the other side of things. While I’m in no way rich, I do see the entitlement and jealousy of most people. People should just accept everyone as the way they are, instead of what material things they have.

  • So true. It’s not a sin or wrong to have wealth, whether you were born with it or you earned it. I find myself envying a few of my friends because their parents pay for this or that or give them a leg up (invest $$ into their business ideas) but really wealth is not in and of itself what I am striving for.

    I want to be in the position where I have accumulated enough skills and knowledge that if I ever ‘lose it all’ and go belly-up because of some bad investment or perhaps a medical problem that costs millions, I want to be in the position to regain that wealth in 1/3 of the time it took me to amass it (or faster). It’s about having a financial I.Q. as Robert Kiyosaki says, not about having the money. Inherited wealth is dangerous because most individuals who have it do not understand what it took to get that wealth.

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