What Would a Rich Person Do?


Get out of jail free, for one.

My friend once worked as an assistant for a very busy and successful man who was traveling out of the country. Close to his travel date, he realized that his passport was expired, and asked her to handle renewing it. After a lot of research, she reported back: He was going to have to spend a day waiting in a government office getting it renewed. That’s just the rules. He sighed at her and asked, “What would a rich person do?”

The sad fact is, “the rules” just don’t always apply if you have enough money. And this guy had enough. So they threw it at the problem. She learned that while a passport expeditor can’t get a passport processed faster, they can do all the legwork and save you a trip to the office. And for this man, that was worth it.

Every now and then you’ll come across a problem like this, which can be solved if you’re willing, just this once, to throw too much money at it. That’s when you spring for the same-day shipping, or the long cab ride, or the hundred-dollar barber, or the forty-dollar room service. Or you find some behind-the-scenes solution that leaves you disgusted with the things money can buy. But it doesn’t hurt anyone, so you do it.

You ask yourself “What would a rich person do?” because you are not a rich person, and so you are only doing this because you realize the unusually high value of this one-time service. You ask it that way so that you don’t make it a habit. (After all, you’ll be happier if you get used to the cheap way.)

You’ll solve the problem, you’ll move on, you’ll prepare better next time. Or you’ll realize that one area of your life just costs more money than others. There is no ethical consumption under capitalism, but hey, while we’ve got it, let’s use it.

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