Many people assume that money is like a magical bandaid: slap it on a problem to make it magically disappear (though that just temporarily hides the core issues without solving them). It would be absolutely ridiculous to believe that “all rich people are Evil™,” but it would also be unfair to ignore that some kids growing up in rich families can end up entitled. Or at least not aware of the true value of money. How unaware? Well, you’re about to find out, dear Pandas. We’ve collected some of the “craziest” rich kid stories from people who replied to a thread started up by Martinkarolev on r/AskReddit.
As you scroll down, upvote the stories that grabbed your attention the most. And be sure to drop us a line with your own stories about rich kids in the comment section. Let’s just hope that the rich kid syndrome isn’t infectious. Cuz we’re about to dive right into it and, you’re about to learn, there are actual real-life problems with acting like this. It isn’t something to just laugh at.
Bored Panda wanted to learn more about what rich parents can do to help their kids stay grounded and how they can teach them the value of money, so we reached out to entrepreneur Steve Wolf, the author of 'The Rich Kid Syndrome: A Guide To Helping Teens To Recover From A Life Of Entitlement And Addiction.' In an interview via email, Wolf explained that just because a kid comes from a well-to-do family doesn't automatically mean that they're going to engage in risky or toxic behavior. "However, the rich kids that do engage in risky or toxic behavior typically face lesser consequences as a result of their socioeconomic status or their family’s place in the community." Read on for the rest of Wolf's in-depth insights.
A long time ago I was dating a rich girl, not insane rich, but rich enough. Well, I'm from Norway and we have a recycling system for plastic bottles (you get like 10 cents per bottle). Her family had a literal mountain of empty bottles and crates in their warehouse (they had a warehouse). I asked her dad "umm, whaddya gonna do with these?" for which he replied something like "oh, those are from our employees staff parties from a couple years back, I just haven't had the time to get rid of them". Logically I told him that I'd recycle them for a percentage. He said "keep it all, guy". So I did, I had to do multiple trips to several different stores, but it ended up being like $1300 bucks, which was insane money for me at the time. I bought a guitar for the money.
I am the "rich kid".
Had the ephiphany of how good I had it after I went to college.
I literally didn't even know my family was rich. Like I knew we had money but I didn't see what everyone else saw. We lived in a 7,400 square foot house while the rest of my friends had 2-3,000 square foot homes. I didn't see the difference. I just thought "They have a house, and I have a house. Seems fair". I got a brand new Audi on my 17th birthday and the rest of my friends drove pontiacs and toyotas. I thought "They have a car, and I have a car". It just literally never clicked in my head. So I guess my rich kid syndrome is jaded ignorance.
How misguided I was.
My personal favorite was in college - kid down the hall from me bought a brand new Fender Stratocaster and played with it for a day and got bored and sold it to me case and all for $20. I still have it and play it fifteen years later. It's a great guitar.
Entrepreneur Wolf revealed what a good socioeconomic status means in practice. "What this looks like in reality is that if a kid from an upper-middle-class or wealthier part of town gets in trouble, the district attorney, officer, and or judge is going to take into consideration who the child's parents are and that child's prospects in life in general," he said that Lady Justice isn't always blind.
Unfortunately, kids with less well-off parents often don't have the same luxury of influential community members supporting them. "When you compare this to what a child who is a minority whose parents do not come from a place of abundance and especially if that child's parents has a criminal history of any kind, then they are simply going to be more susceptible and vulnerable to the consequences the law would provide." The advantages of being rich don't stop there. While wealthier families may be able to afford a private attorney, poorer ones have to use a public defender and are at a disadvantage.
My ex wife used to drive a 1998 Honda Accord. She treated it badly and so one day I got into it to drive somewhere and I noticed that it was falling apart.
I had two options; junkyard or sell it, and so I put it on Craigslist for $250. I thought it could go to a low income family that had someone with some know how who could semi restore it, but when I meet the buyer he was not who I expected. He pulled up in a brand new Escalade and told me that he that his son was spoiled. His son had crashed a BMW, Mercedes, and an Audi and so he was done buying him nice cars. Turns out, this guy purchased my car as a way of torturing his son.
Worked with this kid who was a good kid, but completely disconnected from financial reality for most people. He’d just moved out west from another state and was trying to get on like a “normal” adult.
He went to buy a new car and was shocked that they couldn’t just bill his dad for it, since they didn’t know him.
He ordered a bottle of wine at a restaurant and the sommelier said “certainly, sir.” Then the sommelier whispered “just for your knowledge, sir, the bottle is $700.”
He looked straight at him and asked “is that a lot?”
I dated this girl, and she loved KFC. She ended up getting her dad to buy the franchise off the one across the road, and relocate it to the same side of the road as her apartment was on so she didn't have to cross the road...
However, this kind of safety net doesn't translate well into developing strong virtues that lead to success. "By giving that rich kid a soft place to land, you robbed him or her of the experience of taking full responsibility for their actions and sent the message that just because you have money you are different and don't have to adhere by the same set of rules as other children. This is the worst thing you can do to that kid and you're setting the child up for a life of entitlement," Wolf told Bored Panda.
Being spoiled in our childhoods by wealthy family members, however, isn't the end of the tale. There's still room to bounce back, Wolf says. This requires actually coming face-to-face with real struggles, though. "This is a nature versus nurture type of situation. even if a child is somewhat spoiled, and very well taken care of they can still turn out to be a good person that has empathy, love, and tolerance for another person. This all has to do with that child's life experience. It is impossible for a rich kid to ever really understand the struggle that a poor person goes through because that simply isn't their experience, thus it could only ever be hypothetical until they experience real struggle in their own life."
A girl in my school was "surprised" by her parents in the school's parking lot with a new BMW. A freaking BMW. Everyone who is out is basically watching this go down and she starts crying. At first we are all thinking its because she's so happy but then she runs back into the school. Apparently they were supposed to show up earlier (I'm assuming when there would be more students to witness the surprise).
I felt bad for the Dad because he looked totally embarrassed and sad about it. You know in his head he's like, "I created this monster".
Ex-girlfriend's friend said to me, "Can you believe there are people who have never been on a private jet??"
"Uhh, yeah, I'm one of them..."
I used to work for a restaurant that celebrated free pancake day. On free pancake day I had a most interesting encounter. This college kid comes in and takes an entire 4 person table all to himself. Sets up a Mac book brings out a Mac air puts on headphones connected to his iPhone. He wont take off his headphones to order and wont look at me. Just wants the free pancakes and water. He stays for over two hours during our busiest day. Finally we are getting ready to end the event and are collecting donations for the local children's hospital. I stop by his table and let him know. He puts up one finger and makes a big show of shutting is laptop. Pausing his music and finally takes his headphones off. Turns to me and says "I don't think people should get free stuff." Then setups everything back up and makes this shoe gesture at me.
I thank god every day I don't wake up being that a-hole.
Wolf opened up that the "only thing" he's seen that really works that helps rich kids stay grounded is when their parents "manufacture situations, rules, and ideologies that would simulate the same kind of experiences and struggles that a child who comes from less abundance would have to endure."
One example of this would be a kid having to earn the things they want instead of getting them just because their parents have money. "So if that rich kid wants a new bike, then dad has to explain that the bike cost money and even if he is willing to pay for some of it, the child is going to need to go out and earn the rest of it doing chores, mowing lawns, asking if the neighbors will hire them to do odd jobs, etc. to raise the funds. By taking the simple action, you are teaching the child that you have to work for anything in life that you want."
I was that poor kid who ended up getting a scholarship to a ridiculous private school.
The one thing that stood out massively for me was probably how much people cared about what everyone else parents did. Like your parents achievements counted for yourself.
"My daddy just brought a new plane" (Yes a literal statement)
"So what does your dad do?"
When I replied "F*** all" they laughed and thought I was being cool about it.
Moved states in the summer before high school started and the family was basically living out of suitcases for two months as we were transitioning, finding a house, scheduling movers, etc. The second week of freshman year I walk into a class and sit down.
I look up at a girl across the table. She looks disgusted.
She points at my shirt and I immediately look for spilled something.
"Didn't you wear that last week?!"
Confused, "Yeah, it's my shirt..."
"I never wear the same thing twice."
Turns out, she wasn't the only one at that school like that, but they were the minority by far.
A Saudi guy in the UK got in a crash, with light damage to one side of brand new Mercedes. He called for one of his assistants to come get him, even though the car was fully driveable. My friend rolled up on call with his tow truck and asked the guy where he wanted the MErc towed. The guy gave him the keys and said "Keep it; I don't want it.'
Wolf explained that this lesson of earning things by the sweat of your brow will "continue to pay dividends" because they'll understand the real value of money. What's more, they'll appreciate the bike or whatever else they wanted to get far, far more because of everything they had to do to earn it. "You can extrapolate those types of manufactured situations well into the teenage years of the child to help them stay grounded and give them as much real-world experience as you possibly can while still helping them and being a good supportive parent."
For entrepreneur Wolf, there can be no understanding of the true value of money without learning how it works. "Sometimes, the best thing a parent can do is just cut their kids off financially give them the gift of struggling to have to figure life out for themselves. Personally, with my own kids I like to think of it as preparing them for the world," he opened up about his own parenting style, adding that he's afraid that if his children are handed everything, they'll be soft and unprepared for how tough real-life can be.
This one is kinda mild I guess, but goes to show how clueless wealthy kids can be, completely unaware of the disparity between them and average income people.
Anyways he picked me up in a new $85,000 sportscar one day. The newest Corvette special edition model fresh off the line. I said wow dude your car is incredible. He said he wished everyone knew he had to work a full month with his Grandfather and earned it himself.
a kid from my school was driving drunk and killed his two passengers. he got no jail time, no probation. his parents bought him out of it and he was still able to have his license. he was 14.
Humble rich kid, I was a club at my college town and my roommates new friend who drove a raptor was at the bar. I started shooting stuff and we were getting along so I offered to buy a Y-Bomb (Vodka-RedBull Shot).
Being as wealthy as he is he said “you don’t have to do that man save your money. Round will be on me.”
I explained to him it didn’t bother I was having a good time and insisted I buy the shot.
Immediately after that, he pulls out a black Amex and purchases the nicest VIP booth in the club around 3k. Then ask what drink packages they have and ask if he could buy 2 bottles on top of Max package. Looks at me and goes “tit for tat”.
Safe to say I don’t recall much after that.
"In order for them to be prepared, they need to be strong, which means that they need to experience struggle, hunger, want, jealousy, and all the range of emotions that any kid from a poor family would have to go through. I want them to really have a deep empathy for the struggles that other human beings need to go through in order to survive on a daily basis and I truly believe that this can be done in a controlled environment where we are not neglecting our kids while giving them the most competitive edge in life spiritually, physically, mentally, and financially," Wolf said.
Jamie Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, told New York Magazine that well-off kids can stay inside their comfortable bubbles practically forever. “For rich children, it’d be very easy and convenient never to take any steps to build an identity outside of your association with your family’s wealth,” he said.
I was in a theology class where we were talking about compromises.
teacher: What are some compromises your parents have made?
very rich girl: My mom wanted to go to Hawaii and my dad wanted to go to Mexico so we went to the Bahamas instead.
One of my friends had a roommate his freshman year of college who, their first night in their apartment, was in the kitchen and said something to the effect of "so, how exactly do you make a sandwich?" He was a decent person, but he'd had a nanny and maids who did every little thing for him in the house, so pretty much had to start from scratch learning how to do basic household tasks.
Gf family is wealthy, she’s working her way to it. But, she was waiting to get a chance for a promotion and the words “I cannot believe anyone would make somebody work for almost a year to get a promotion” came out of her mouth. And I laughed.
Johnson continued: “That, honestly, is I think what you see in my film more than anything else. That’s where those feelings of entitlement come from, that’s where you get the snobbery, that’s why those characters seem, at times, offensive.”
Harvard psychiatrist George Vaillant, a specialist in adult resilience and coping, argued in 1981 that childhood capacity for work is one of the best predictors of adult mental health and the capacity to love.
There was this rich kid in our class who was literally disgusted by us- buying used stuff (like computer parts) on ebay. Once during conversation i said i bought on ebay memory module for my pc and said to me that i should have a little dignity, and if i buy used stuff i should keep it to myself.
I went to a private school with a gigantic discount because my father has taught there for nearly 20 years at this point. Oh the stories I could tell. One kid flew to Florida for a dentist appointment. One kid bought a jeep with a credit card. At one point we had an ATM on campus for some reason. Someone found a receipt for a withdrawal from a checking account which still had $900,000 in it. I went on a field trip where we stayed in a hotel for a few nights and my roommate couldn't understand why I didn't want to go to a different hotel where we would both pay $100 per night when I only had $100 to last the entire week. I could go on.
a friend of mine is paying her abusive, cheating, heinous boyfriends school fees from her parents bank account, she claims they do not notice.
it costs £40,000 per year.
Vaillant found that those who had a strong work ethic in their teenage years ended up doing very well for themselves later on in life and had very warm relations with their partners and community members.
On the flip side, those who had the poorest ratings in their capacity to work when they were 14 were far more likely to be unemployed, to have bad relationships, and to have shorter life spans. Intelligence did little to mitigate this.
Dad bought his college aged daughter a house in a VERY nice neighborhood so that she and her friends could live rent free while they attended university. He remodeled the entire house. In all he probably spent close to $2 million. Two weeks after moving in, they left a candle burning while they went to the store to get snacks for a football game. Came home and the house was on fire. A month later, it was good a new for them to move back in.
Not exactly "rich kid syndrome," but there was this family that had two children who attended the elementary school that was connected to my middle school. Every day the two parents would leave the house and drive separately to pick up their two kids before returning home.
I should mention at this point that they each drove a Lamborghini, one black and one orange, back-to-back in the pick up line to get their kids from elementary school.
At first I thought they were just being showy, but then I realized that they were two seaters, so this was really the only way to do it.
When I was at summer camp one year we were waking up one morning and rich kid goes “man these mattresses suck, I’m gunna have to call my chiropractor when I get home.” The looks he got made him realize that most 12 year olds don’t have a chiropractor on call.
I’m pretty sure that we’ve all (no matter our class or background) had run-ins with extremely spoiled kids before. Without revealing too many details, I can tell you that some of the worst cases that I’ve personally witnessed included a person who kept moving to a new country with all of their things every few months while proclaiming that they finally found themselves each and every time. Only to realize that no, they didn’t, and move again.
Some other similar cases of seeing spoiled rich kids in my life include them buying food and drinks for everyone so they like them, ordering cabs instead of walking a couple of blocks, as well as complaining about not getting enough presents in the most Dudley Dursley-ish fashion I’ve ever seen.
In college there was this girl sort of in our friend group that came from a wealthy family. When discussing plans for the summer there were some people planning a trip together and she overheard someone say they wish they could go, but they couldn't afford it. Her response was, "I don't understand, why don't you just have your parents pay for it?" She had always had her parents pay for everything and she genuinely thought it was the same for everyone.
Met this guy off of tinder hooked up a couple times and while hanging out one day it came out that he was rich. But not just normal rich, rich to the extent that his family had staff who's only job it was to polish the silverware.
While I was reeling from that news he proceeded to preach to me that he knew that those staff members had such wonderful fulfilling lives, because they were helping to keep 'the house' afloat and running smoothly.
Did not see him again after that.
Girl I went to high school with got a Mercedes for her 16th birthday. Complained and moaned about the fact that she didn't get a Lexus, because her name was Lexi and she thought it would be "sooooo cool!" for Lexi to drive a Lexus with a custom license plate saying "Lexi".
Her parents did cave and buy her a Lexus for her 17th birthday.
Though redditor Martinkarolev’s thread was posted 2 years ago, the topic is still as relevant now as it was back then. I’d argue even more so because the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted just how different life can be when you’re rich and how double standards still apply to the wealthy and the influential. The thread got over 66.9k upvotes and really got people talking, with over 23.6k comments. It looks like when the topic’s all about money, almost everyone has something to say.
Had a kid that lived across the hall from me my freshman year of college from Honduras. During one of the ice breakers after freshman move in he leaned to me to ask if I knew when the maids came to make his bed/clean. I guess his family was very well off in his home country and the entire semester was an eye opener for him in actually taking care of himself.
Girl in college kept putting her clothes on the floor and then would knock on the RAs door and tell her the clothes were piling up. Our RA was a foreign exchange student but such a sweetheart and she was actually washing the clothes to be nice for like 2 months.
The floor told the RA to stop and scolded the girl to do her own laundry. She was absolutely insulted that she had to do laundry to the point where she ended up re-wearing clothes or throwing them out and just buying new ones
My friends mom owns a very big oil company and they make close to 3 mil a year and he says he’s middle class
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What about you, dear Pandas? What are the worst cases of rich kid syndrome that you’ve ever seen in life? Why do you think rich kids tend to act like this? Do you think they’re more or less likely to be successful later on in life? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.