“Rich dad, poor dad” – two polar opposites (per Robert Kiyosaki).

“The prince and the pauper” – all men are equal by and large (per Mark Twain).

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wrote: “The rich are different from you and me,” and Ernest Hemingway sarcastically replied, “Yes, they have more money.”

Whose side are you on?

Are the Rich really different from the wealth-deprived? They have the same number of fingers and toes and (in my opinion) same brain capacity. And they are mortal.

So, who are they? What do we call Rich? The notion of Rich is very relative. Even within the category there should be a ranking scale: affluent, filthy rich, absurdly rich, obscenely rich and, finally, sold-soul-to-devil rich. The concept also changes across geographical borders. A family surviving on welfare in US will fall into ‘filthy rich’ category for a starving Zimbabwe household. Therefore we’ll limit the debate to American riches and disregard different standards for Manhattan and Manhattan, Kansas.
What is rich? The majority of people will answer with a dollar amount. Like, a million (billion, trillion) in assets or 200K (500, 800, million) in yearly income.

In my belief, ‘rich’ is not associated with any number. (It is associated with money, though.) I think Rich is the one who has ENOUGH. Enough for whatever he may need. Whatever he needs and can be purchased. This way a lot of us can be considered rich. Though, the toughest part is to define NEED and not to confuse it with WANT. For an ordinary person NEED would usually be ‘a little bit more than I have’, and WANT might go unreasonable distance.

What do we need? For mere physical survival we need food and shelter. So if you can afford groceries and rent (even without cable) – you are rich. While mental requirements (the comfort zone) is a vast inventory of stuff, as unique as any of us. A private jet can be a NEED, if you fly across the globe at least twice a week. A fish tank should be removed from the list, if you’ll never have a fish.
An image of ‘good life’ always has a big house in the forefront. Why necessarily BIG? For a family of ten with year-round house guests it makes sense. But for an introverted childless couple five bathrooms are definitely outside the NEED.
Back to the Forbes definition of Rich. These people, who ‘worth’ the most - are they really the most-worthy? Are they actually different from ‘worth-less’ hoi polloi? To begin with, they are definitely different from each other. I recognize 3 main categories of riches.

The ones who were born rich. Can they even realize their privileges? They know about the life of commoners as much as we know about Zimbabwe. They are certainly different. They live longer, look younger, don’t need to work for money, don’t pay attention on the right column in a restaurant menu, never check price-tags. Aren’t they bored? They are missing the thrill of a good bargain. These blessed heirs are not exactly commendable. They did nothing to get that silver spoon sticking out of their oral cavity. They are the group, Fitzgerald referred to in his famous ‘they are different’ quote: “They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.”

The ones who got rich fast. First, we think about lottery winners. These people know the difference. They started their life in a modest condo or trailer park or, maybe, Zimbabwe. Do they become different after the green rain has fallen on their heads? Most likely they do. Some of them become so overwhelmed with overnight fortune that they end up in deep depression or even in some elite mental institution. Some cannot figure out how to live with this sudden opulence, they do dumb things with their money and end up flat broke. Some are doing just fine with the new fortune, but they do become different. Before winning lottery, people usually intend to use a big portion of their hypothetical jackpot to save the world. Donations to charities, giving to the poor, feeding Zimbabwe… After cashing the lottery check, the best intentions often fade in the background. It is so much easier to share with others when you don’t have much yourself. When you have a lot, you want a lot more. Sudden fortune promotes greed. You start to reach for stuff outside your NEED and WANT. You lose the concept of ENOUGH. In so many areas, we know when enough is enough. When we're healthy, we don't try hard for extreme health. After a good meal, we're sated and don't order another filet mignon to boost our satisfaction. As to money, we always want more. We drop the common sense.
Opposite to lottery winners, there are people who got rich fast as a result of some bright ideas, they managed to put to work. This is the most commendable group, self-made riches, an ultimate American dream. They are smart, ambitious and open-minded. They usually know what to do with big bucks.

Another bunch is those who got rich fast illegal way. They kill, they steal, they prove the idea that money is evil. They are certainly different from anyone with morals that is hopefully the majority. If there is a God, and the God supports justice, these Riches will be doing time someday.

The ones who got rich slowly. Not everyone has bright ideas. Not everyone with ideas knows how to make them work. There are devoted hard-workers, laboring around the clock in pursuit of wealth. Unlike many of us, working hard just to keep the head above the water; they are determined to work as hard and as long as it takes to make the Forbes list. They usually hate their job. They have no life outside the job. They don’t spend money (don’t have time for this anyway). Their only pleasure, and inspiration, and driving force is their growing bank statement. They are saving for the old age. They plan to live until 120 and spend the last 20 years in well-deserved luxury. They are very different from us. They are also different from other riches, who actually enjoy the wealth, while they enjoy the pure idea of it.

Why can’t prosperity spread more equally? How come the Riches don't suffer with the rest of us? And does it really make us different?

Money is the measure of our Wealth. Is it also the measure of our WORTH?