If You’re a Billionaire You Probably Have One of these Six Diseases


I was walking with my kids by the river and they asked me what was the happiest moment of my life and I said, “right here, walking with my two lovebirds right by the river”. It was all green and lush and no people were around and there was just us the river, and mountains protecting us from whatever evil existed on the other side. It was also gray and I hate sunny weather and there was a very slight drizzle that was refreshing.

I said, “when I’m eventually dead you’ll remember moments like this.”

(Mollie by the river right next to home being, of course, filmed by ABC News)

And one of them, I forget which because sometimes they are both the same in my head even though they are very different said, “daddy, you’re never going to die.”

But if you think about it, its pretty annoying to be alive. I’m not saying this in a suicide way. Its very hard to force death and mostly leads to paralysis, retardation, and various forms of shame and pity that are not worth living through.

But to be alive requires a lot of work. Just the basics: I’m sick of thinking about money, for instance. Some people say they don’t think about it but I never really believe that. Whether your’re rich or poor you think about it all the time. You have your miserable job. Which if you didn’t have you wouldn’t be able to support yourself, and eat and provide shelter for your family.

Either that or you’re a billionaire and that’s even worse. Billionaires are riddled with the worst diseases known to mankind. It’s almost impossible to cure these diseases once you get them. I feel really bad for the billionaires. They are so type A and so driven that once they achieve their goal it transmutes into a variety of diseases that they will ultimately die from if they don’t seek a cure.

Jealousy. One guy told me he had breakfast with Steve Schwartzman from Blackstone who is worth a solid $3 billion or so. “All Steve kept saying throughout breakfast,” my friend told me, “is ‘how the F* is Larry Page worth $15 billion and I’m only worth $3 billion’.” So you see, money is a disease that spreads throughout your head. You get it a little, and then you need more. And it never, or rarely ends. Jealousy for money is a horrible disease.

Libido. Money also leads to a stark increase in libido. Billionaires leave their wives. Poor people do also. In either extreme, the pain is too much. Lack of money leads to fights. Too much money leads to increase in libido and 80 years olds sleep with 18 year olds.  That pain is enormous.

Nobody knows what happens behind closed doors and I’m not judging. But the billionaire looks up at the ceiling at night, his eighty year old high school love snoring right next to him, the woman who will care for him when he gets sick, but he can’t help it: he feels his testosterone slipping away with the seeping shadow of age and knows that there is one potential cure: screwing 18 year olds.

It’s a horrible disease. Look at the smile in the photo below. It looks like Soros is mentally ill. And the body language of the girls makes me afraid. I’m afraid that maybe all men end up that way some day. Maybe I’ll catch his disease when I’m 80. I hope not.

Paranoia . Great money also leads to great paranoia. I went to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in 2003. There were about 4 or 5 billionaires at least in the audience along with another 20,000 people including me to listen to two old billionaires speak on a stage. I got there at 5 in the morning so I could get a good seat.  Krispy Kreme served free donuts outside in the dark. They had to fatten us up for the killing inside.

When the doors opened a few hours later every one ran in. the floors had just been waxed so everyone was slipping and falling. I ended up not getting a good seat because I just walked in. No way was I going to run in that deathtrap.

During the meeting, one of the two ancient billionaires on stage, Charlie Munger, went on and on about how you’re going to have to bury your gold and all your valuables underground to prevent the US government from taking them. Finally, the other billionaire on the stage said, “Ok Charlie, that’s enough.”

Because Charlie Munger had the disease: once you have billions all you think about is the ways you can lose it. He pictured police coming to his house and taking all of his gold. This is a man who once slept in his car in his 40s because he was so poor, divorced, down and out. Just giving that man a meal would’ve been enough. Now he can’t sleep at night because he’s worried the government is going to steal all his money. Eight years later and it still hasn’t happened. I think he’s close to 90 years old now.

Death. Billionaires are more afraid of death than anyone else. If I died today it wouldn’t matter to me at all. I’d be dead. But billionaires have given up a lot of life to make those billions. And it’s common sense they can’t take it with them. They know death levels the playing field for all of us. I know one billionaire who has poured tens of millions into cryogenics research. I can tell you from experience that those scientists he is giving money to are laughing all the way to the bank.

I wish having a billion dollars could allow you to remove your intestines, kidneys, and rectum and replace them with solar panels. That whole business of eating, digesting, and shitting is perhaps the most disgusting thing about being alive and probably the source of most death. Can’t billionaires fix that problem? Can’t we put our heads in fully functional, feeling, screwable robots that can do everything but don’t have to digest, excrete, feel hunger pangs the first thing when we wake up?

(when I make my first billion I will get frozen like these guys. then life will be good forever).

I have one friend who is a billionaire several times over . He once pointed to his kidney. “This kidney was so riddled with cancer it couldn’t process anything I was drinking. I went to the best hospital, had the best room, they gave me a brand new kidney and the other one was so bad they just flushed it down the toilet. Nobody else gets that treatment. I got it because I paid for it.”

Fear of God. I once wrote an article in the Financial Times about Dan Loeb’s portfolio. He runs a huge hedge fund. He wrote to me later that morning: “my name is Daniel, not Dan.” Then he defriended me on Facebook.

He has a rabbi come to him every day to give him a private Q&A on the Torah. Its never too late to reserve your seat in heaven. If you’re the type of person who can make a billion dollars it means you’re used to worrying about things. You can only get a billion dollars if you worry about all the things that other human beings don’t worry about: customers, clients, demographics, the law (behind every great fortune lies a great crime, so says the saying).

So now that you have your billion you need to worry about the last thing that’s left: what happens after you’ve left this shell of a body. When you can’t take it with you and you’re all alone in the darkness.  And the cute little thing who soothes you at night is no longer there and you’re all by yourself with whatever god you believe in.

Maintenance. Billionaires have the maintenance disease. Look at Stevie Cohen’s house:

(Cohen's compound has its own indoor ice skating rink)

(see, How Stevie Cohen changed my life)

I like Cohen. I’ve interacted with him a few times and I don’t have a bad thing to say about him. But it’s hard work to maintain a house like that. Do you think he’s mopping the floors? You need your own private army to keep that house clean, to keep the ice on the ice skating rink, to keep the chlorine in the pool, to clean out the pee in the pool anytime one of his six kids has a party. I’d like to think if I had a billion dollars I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.

“Daddy, we don’t want you to die.” There’s nothing I want more than to see my own funeral. To see my two girls crying hysterically, knowing they would never have a chance to walk with me again by the river. My heart is a violin and it pangs so sweetly when I see them cry. Nothing creates more bittersweet music inside of me. But if I ever die I know they’ll eventually forget me and move on, and have families, and careers, and find things, many things, to be happy about and I’ll just be a faded photo on their refrigerator. And one day not so long after that, they’ll be dust as well. And so will their children.

We finished walking by the river and went to the just-opened MooMoo Creamery. I had a vanilla milkshake.


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  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    I think he very carefully developed his plan and lived probably 7 or 8 years more than the expected life expectancy of someone with pancreatic cancer.

  • http://www.zacharyburt.com/ Zachary Burt

    I think he simply accepted his fate as penance for the Flower Power iMac and the puck mouse.

  • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

    What’s the difference between a malt and a milkshake?

    • Anonymous

      Malts have malt powder in them.. think of ‘malted milk balls?’  It’s a great flavor and goes great in a milkshake.. i wonder of these places even stock it anymore…  where are you now?  in Cold Spring?   (This is Josh Freeman, btw.)

      • Anonymous

        Well, it’s a great flavor if you like malted milk balls… if you don’t, you’ll just ruin a perfectly good shake.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, James! Long time listener, first time caller.

    Of all the wealthy people you have dealt with aren’t there any that seem happy/ content to you?

    You’ve heard the story of Napoleon Hill I’m sure. How Andrew Carnegie gave him a mission of finding the common traits in the most successful people of their time. I wonder if what he would have found if, instead, he sought the common traits among wealthy HAPPY people.

    PS I have 2 Bukowski books on hold at the library. 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      The guys who made their money from scratch are all killers and you can see it in their eyes. The guys who inherited it seem a little more content although you can feel they are eager to prove they can do it on their own. I’ve met very few who made it and then said, “ok, now is the time I can relax and think about what real meaning might be.”

  • http://www.zacharyburt.com/ Zachary Burt

    great post today.  super

  • http://www.zacharyburt.com/ Zachary Burt

    malt powder

  • http://www.zacharyburt.com/ Zachary Burt

    disqus is broken, ignore this comment

  • Rick

    Hi James,  great blog. I think Munger was kidding around at the 2003  about burying his gold because I found a quote from him on it from 2010…” If you’re capable of understanding the world, you have a moral obligation to
    become rational. And I don’t see how you become rational hoarding gold. Even if
    it works, you’re a jerk”.    Charlie Munger on Communism, Botox, and Goldbug Jerks – Yahoo! Finance

  • Randall Moeller

    This blog claims he favored alternative medicine, which caused him to die earlier than he should have: http://www.skepticblog.org/2011/10/06/steve-jobs-succumbs-to-alternative-medicine/

    This blog claims he favored conventional medicine, which caused him to die earlier than he should have: http://www.naturalnews.com/033793_Steve_Jobs_chemotherapy.html

    As for me, I’m happy that we had him as long as we did.

  • Rory

    Really good post James.  I love the poignant moments at the end–  the juxtaposition of the depth with the mundane.  Bukowski would be proud.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/kleinrivarola German Klein Rivarola


    Im fan of yours as well of Charlie Munger and I think this time you overanalyzed an isolated fact.
    I dont think Charlie has Paranoia, what I think is that you heard him inversing a problem (inversing is one of his favourites mental models).
    Check for example Poor Charlie’s Almanack, he do things like this all the time.
    Sorry for my bad english.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      You could be right. I will check out Poor Charlie’s Almanack.

  • AwesomeTotheMax

    Hmm, James, I think your overgeneralizing. 

    Money needs to be given meaning by the person who has it.  The shortcomings of these billionaires are personal problems that have nothing to do with the concept or money, mass wealth creation, or lack thereof.

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      In some sense money gives us the enormous opportunity to over come these peronsal challenges

      • AwesomeTotheMax

        Great quote…

        “Society in large towns is babyish, and wealth is made a toy.  The life of pleasure is so ostentatious that a shallow observer must agree that this is the agreed best use of wealth, and, whatever is pretended, it ends in cossetting.  But if this were the main use of surplus capital, it would bring us to barricades, burned towns, and tomahawks, presently.  Men of sense esteem wealth to be the assimilation of nature to themselves, the converting of the sap and juices of the planet to the incarnation and nutriment of their design.  Power is what they want, not candy- power to execute their design, power to give legs and feet, form and actuality to their thought; which, to a clear sighted man, appears the end for which the universe exists, and all its resources might be well applied.”

        -Ralph Waldo Emmerson on Wealth.

  • http://www.szelhamos.com TheAcsMan

    Great blog posting.

    Tried thinking of any other “diseases” that Billionaires could possibly be suffering from and couldn’t come up with any, other than perhaps corallaries of the “Big 6”.

    Ironically, as your wealth gets you increasingly out of touch with reality, they may suffer from “I Can see, but now I’m Blind”

  • Mike S

    I think the biggest problem billionaires/filthy rich people face is uncertainty.  At some point, they really have no idea who loves or likes them.  They constantly wage an argument in their head, wondering whether the individuals around them would still be there if they weren’t so rich.  Unfortunately for them, the only way to know for sure isn’t a very appealing option either.

  • Anonymous

    fantastic post James… man.. where’d you get that pic of Soros.. !!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Bert_Hancock Bert Hancock

    Great image of the mad rush to get seats at the BRK annual meeting. Only in America would people race to hear two rich old codgers pontificate. I just read Americans spent $7 billion annually on Halloween. When that stops, I know we’re in a Depression. Until then, don’t bother me!

    James – I think you forgot a major one that relates to fear of death and fear of god… Immortality. They need a hospital wing, university library, foundation for the eradication of tapeworm, et al in their honor. I guess we are beneficiaries of this generosity, but if they didn’t care, they would have left their name off.

  • Reali

    It’s the sign of a depressant to write like Bukowski. Are you drinking again? If not, why all the negativity? If you recognize the negative, why bask in it? Go for a thousand walks by the river ace.

  • http://twitter.com/sandman_va Dave Sandrowitz

    Really?  James, that seems like a chickenshit way to end this post.  You eviscerate billionaires brilliantly, just start touching upon the borderline insanity in wondering about the pain caused by one’s own death to those they loved the most, and then you throw up some crap about ice cream?

    They won’t forget you.  That is the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever written.  Your kids and Claudia and your close friends and relatives will all cry like hell.  But, those tears are worth far more than a billion dollars and you can bet nobody is going to cry when Schwarzman kicks the bucket.  People might not admit it, but they love to see assholes, particularly opulent and arrogant ones, get buried.

    Am I just reacting strongly tonight because of my lactose intolerance?

    • S34ndad

      My dad’s been dead 25 years and I haven’t forgotten him. I think about him most evryday, even when I don’t realize it until later. Most recently caught myself laughing recalling how he used to call the car windsheild washer mechanism “the dogpisser.”

    • Chris

      The ice cream is the “Billion dollars”, Steve.

      Ie, the small things that you share with those you love are the most valuable things on earth.Well, that’s my take on James’ ending.I could be wrong. I’m hazy because of my sinuses … just had a cheese sandwich. Goddamn dairy intolerance! :)

      • http://twitter.com/sandman_va Dave Sandrowitz

        Interesting take on the past. 1 Billion dollars = ice cream.  Or is it 1 billion dollars < ice cream w/ your kids?

        The equations are not that easy to come up with when calculating what really matters.

  • modernmind

    The woman next to Soros looks like she’s cutting one and Soros appears to like it for some reason. The woman to the other side of Soros, not so much.

  • Craig

    Great take on being careful what you wish for.  Love your work — and thanks for taking time away from walks by the river to answer questions from your ever-growing fan base on Twitter.  Keep on writing; we’ll keep on reading.

  • clark

    I don’t know, I’ve seen teenaged guys with girls that have the same looks the girls in the photo do, especially the one on the left.

    I can’t quite put my finger on what the deal is. The word, “Jerk” comes to mind though.

    Also, this was funny:

    “And one of them, I forget which because sometimes they are both the same in my head”

    Now I know the-rest-of-the-story.

  • Anonymous

    …none of us are as important as we think we are and in the greater scheme of things, we’re as significant as a speck of dust given the vastness and age of the universe.

  • Dolph Samuelson

    my name is Daniel, not Dan——-

    This seems sooo reasonable to me.

    I mean, who wouldn’t like to be called Daniel as apposed to Dan. Is shaking hands reasonable? I always wondered about that too. Why shake hands? Lord only knows where peoples hands have been. I was thinking the other day if I had two hooks for hands maybe than people wouldn’t want to shake my hands, but, than I would not have my hands. I have also always wondered why people add the “ie” on the ends of names of people they know, or maybe they don’t know. If someone added the -ie- on the end of my name I would defriend them in an instant, or maybe not. Maybe I would just add an -ie- on the end of their name and see how they like it. Or hug them…. if they were close enough to hug. Speaking of the -ie- add-on, that house there looks like the house of a Steve or Steven Cohen rather than a Stevie. Hopefully you won’t get another defriend.

  • doug



    Dear Wonderful James,
    So here is how the machines called people work.

    Genetic materials construct the physical switches which
    create molecules that, when detected by other genetically constructed physical
    receptors, produce felt anxieties we call emotions.  These emotions, which we have given various
    names, drive us through life.  (Conflicts
    between different emotion generators are resolved in the right prefrontal

    We are driven through life by this emotions generating

    At any single moment, we vary (from the prior moment and
    from each other) in construction in consequence of our differing DNA, AND in
    consequence of our differing experiences. 
    (Experience results in more physical neural construction which becomes a
    part the environment with which our emotion creating system must deal.)

    The basic system doesn’t change as you acquire money.

    Many years ago (thirty perhaps) I read an interview with billionaire J.R. Simplot.  He was 70 at the time and still working.  He was asked, “How did this happen?”

    reply, “I don’t know, I just never stopped.”

    had it right.  The last off switch is

    None of that should amaze
    anyone.  What is amazing is a consequence
    of people’s – call it imagination (I’m working on a book about this bit).  Because generally people have problems
    (genetically driven anxieties) which have a money solution, it’s easy to
    conclude that money will fix everything.

    They don’t believe me or you
    when they are told, “It didn’t work out that way.”  There is no point in arguing with them, but
    the truth is this.  Our anxieties
    machinery was constructed by our genes and we can’t change that.  So as our environment changes (as we acquire
    more money) those little machines keep pumping their dope and we keep on
    keeping on.

    During the long evolutionary
    period there was no store of wealth which would see you through the next month,
    let alone the remainder of a very, very long life.   In consequence no genes were constructed
    which caused your anxiety to stop cause you had enough.   You can only sate those anxiety machines for
    a short time before they start pumping their juice again.

    So let’s name a couple of
    the pumps.

    They are different for men
    and women.

    For men a big emotion pump
    causes men to seek status (status is not simply money, it is more than money
    and doesn’t even require money).  During
    the long evolutionary time, if you found status (people listen to your stories)
    you will be able to provide for your offspring (people tend to help you) you attract
    mates and the genes which built you in such a manner that you seek status will
    move forward in time in greater numbers than the group of genes which didn’t
    make the other fellow seek status.

    Men also seek women who are fertile
    – see the above bit about genes moving forward in time.

    Women find high status men
    attractive.  During the long evolutionary
    time they high status men commanded more resources and the genes of both the
    men and their mates moved forward in greater numbers than the genes of people
    who didn’t care about status.

    So I’m I guy funny, smart,
    and people like to listen to my stories. 
    People read my blog.  Or they
    listen to my sermon on Sunday.  Or they
    gather round the stage at my concert. 
    Women see these clues – everyone listen to me is a big clue.  It’s a hoot. Toss in wealthy and young women surprise
    me with their attention.  I’ve noticed
    that the same sweet young things don’t say much to the men who are drunk on the
    street by 10am.

    As to me personally I have
    bonded (see thebondinggene.com/).  I have high anxiety when sexual opportunities
    present.  Other men with different
    genetic construction don’t have such anxiety and they are more likely to cheat
    on their wives.

    The higher the status – the more
    often those sexual opportunities present themselves and eventually … well even
    in pair bonded voles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_bond)
    monogamy does mean there is no sex at all with a

    So we all dance to the
    various tunes of long dead drummers.

    We can fight it.  That means to silence the beat. Think
    meditation.  It is a hard fight because
    these pumps never stop and they are us.

    But billionaires are
    constructed of the same stuff as you and me. 
    Only their circumstances are different.

    Yes I can imagine you acting
    no differently if you had a billion dollars. 
    Well not really … you would stop some stuff and write more.



  • Hume

    The vanilla milkshake is brilliant, imho.  James, why does it seem you always write the thoughts in my head?  You inspire me.  You remind me that one of the best moments of my day is the three minutes I spend driving my 13 year old to the bus stop each morning.  Why do I need to worry about the silver short I put on yesterday via zsl only to get a gangbusters nfp this morning?  the only answer is I don’t.  I am going to have a milkshake with my kids today.

  • http://manonthestreet.com manonthestreet

    James would you agree that mankind has taken a complete wrong turn?

    I mean ‘Money’ having this importance you speak of is absurd. Imagine the simplicity thousands of years ago when you simply went out and got what you needed instead of going to a job to earn money to then trade for things you need [and lots of things you don’t need].

    God, Government, Corporations…these things were never meant to exist..now they lead us around like well…people. YEECH!

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      It depends what you mean by wrong turn. Lifespan is higher than ever, literacy is higher than ever, quality of life (as well as quantity) is higher than ever. If a few individuals get rich and, lets say, get diverted in some way i don’t necessarily thnk its a judgment on mankind.

      But I agree that govt, corporations, etc are certainly trying to make it as hard as possible for us to live meaningful lives.

      • http://manonthestreet.com manonthestreet

        By wrong turn I mean that we are not actually carrying on in a way where we can actually succeed as a species.

        • http://beerandlentils.blogspot.com Brett M

          Yea, but about 300 years ago we realized it was bad to drink the same water we pooped in, I would call that a success.

          • http://manonthestreet.com manonthestreet

            I think that was realized more than 300 years ago and way before the wrong turn I allude to happened.

            +1 for saying poop

      • trish

        If you read James Taylor Gatto, you will find that literacy is indeed not higher than ever. It was higher nearer the beginning of the United States.

    • http://twitter.com/bgin2end Michael Goldsborough

      I wouldn’t say that we as people have taken a completely wrong turn.  Just as James explains, we are better off as humans, as a species.  I think our values and priorities are misplaced.  We need to get back to the core-kindness and grace that is necessary for us to act as an ethical/well-meaning populace.

  • Yo

    The mentioned are human problems not billionaire problems. Hater! 

    • http://jamesaltucher.com James Altucher

      Maybe you are right. My main issue was my own fears that I could get thoe diseases if, god forbid, i ever ended up with a billion in the pocket.

  • Test


  • Bob

    Awesome post James.. When is your new book going to be available to download?  I’m looking forward to reading it!

  • Anonymous

    And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 1:13-14

    Great post. Sad we get lost in things. I see so many men who rather go play golf that spend time with their kids. Yet my happiest moments are when it is just my kids and me.

  • http://www.HistorySquared.com HistorySquared

    I have those diseases and I’m not a billionaire. 

  • http://zacharygrove.wordpress.com Zach

    There’s nothing I want more than to see my own funeral. To see my two
    girls crying hysterically, knowing they would never have a chance to
    walk with me again by the river. My heart is a violin and it pangs so
    sweetly when I see them cry.

    Does anybody else contemplate their death in a non-suicidal way, just fantasizing about other people’s reactions? Glad I came across this today…I wonder what the psychology is behind that fantasy

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Sullivan/100000402063502 Paul Sullivan

      I used to feel sorry for myself ,socially awkward with the opposite sex ,anxious etc. I remember thinking that when I’m dead they’ll be sorry.Family and friends would feel regret at having denied me my emotional needs.Then I realized whatever sadness they felt would probably pass quickly and What was the F in difference I would be dead and nothing matters when your dead.Life is a struggle and living  is its only reward.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonspooner Jonathan Spooner

    1. Billionaire-itis
    I am currently barely breaking even renting a house amongst lowly millionaires who aspire to be billionaires. You can see all of these diseases coming fast and furiously! But I think all of these can be boiled down to one thing – too much food and not enough hunger.

    While I am worried about how am I going to pay rent while also saving up for heating oil and having to put food on the table.

    The Mill. next door is worried about feeling smarter than their hired help, keeping up appearances so they can socialize with the Bill.s in their golf club, and not being associated with the unwashed “renters” next door (aka me).

    The Bill.s don’t seem worried about day to day issues (food, rent, social strata etc.) but being bereft of trivial problems makes them dig into their psyche for weirder more obtuse “problems” (“is this food truly organic?”, “can I get away with bedding an 18 yr old?”, “how far away from other people can I be?”)

    2. Death of your Father
    When your father dies before you it is the correct life-chronology but it still leaves a life-long imprint on the child. In fact an added bonus of early death is that a great deal of your failures are erased and you are remembered as the bright shiny “you” that your children idolized you as.

  • Bill Walker

    I know a lot of biologists and all the cryonicists… can you message me about the billionaire who’s supposedly “poured tens of millions into cryonics research” (because AFAIK nobody has even put in enough to perfect kidney freezing… the only perfected cryonic techniques are for indivudal cells, and sushi!)? Cryonics would allow all the donated organs to actually reach patients, and it would allow some us to become robot’s pets… it has nothing to do with theology (you’re still in the Simulation even if you’re frozen), but it would make life more interesting and less animalistic.

  • jcw

    James, you are one of my heroes by virtue of your willingness to just open a vein and bleed at the typewriter. I take what you say seriously, though of course I do not always agree with it. I was a bit surprised by this statement: 
    There’s nothing I want more than to see my own funeral. To see my two girls crying hysterically, knowing they would never have a chance to walk with me again by the river.
    This is true? There is nothing more that you want more than to see your girls crying hysterically because they lost you? I believe you when you say that walking with your girls, having a milkshake, is so valuable to you. If you love them that much is it true that what you want most is to see the pain they feel in an irreplaceable loss? 

    Whatever you answer, it is all good, I am just curious. I have a daughter and for me she is the most important person in the world. The idea of her suffering in that way is really painful.  I am curious, did you write that for effect or is it really where you are? 

    Anyway, I hope you don’t take my question as disrespectful, because believe me sir, full respect. 

    warm regards

  • http://badsalesman.blogspot.com/ Mike M.

    James, so right about death. One with money may postpone it, but it always will be the great equalizer in the end. I do wonder if we will be able to one day download our brain / consciousness into some sort of robot?

  • JET

    Beautiful post James, especially the ending. Although these diseases aren’t limited to billionaires… I know people that developed these personality traits after making their first million or two. Any thoughts on the keys to avoiding these diseases, other than simply being aware of them?

  • JET

    Beautiful post James, especially the ending. Although these diseases aren’t limited to billionaires… I know people that developed these personality traits after making their first million or two. Any thoughts on the keys to avoiding these diseases, other than simply being aware of them?

  • JET

    Beautiful post James, especially the ending. Although these diseases aren’t limited to billionaires… I know people that developed these personality traits after making their first million or two. Any thoughts on the keys to avoiding these diseases, other than simply being aware of them?

  • JET

    Beautiful post James, especially the ending. Although these diseases aren’t limited to billionaires… I know people that developed these personality traits after making their first million or two. Any thoughts on the keys to avoiding these diseases, other than simply being aware of them?

  • kb

    Wow James, you pounded out some pure honesty in that last paragraph.  Curious – was that hard to type, to publish, to leave up?


  • AFan

    Ah, let Soros be.  He doesn’t look crazy – he looks like a guy enjoying life.  Anyone can look “crazy” in a random still photo.

  • http://www.acuityinfotech.com still learning

    Greetings from India James. Beautiful article !

  • http://templates.motocms.com/ flash template

    Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very
    useful! waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your
    next post ,thanks.

  • Kingsef

    I used to believe that when I made a million dollars people would automatically find everything I had to say interesting, or the air would change when I walked in the room; replaced by my presence. Yeah OK…The only people fixated on what you have to say (when they think you  have “it”)  are those trying to be where you are or those trying to take your place.

  • http://isomorphismes.tumblr.com isomorphisms

    Impetigo. I really thought you were going to say impetigo. Or at least dropsy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Sullivan/100000402063502 Paul Sullivan

    I think about my Uncle as I am reading your writings and the comments
    He was like a god to me in that my own father was remote to me.
    He was a CEO of a brokerage house a very old one at that.
    I was going to one day go and work there.My Uncle was always suffering from ulcers.
    My other uncle to was in Finance.He too had health problems.I made the connection that these were occupations that caused illness and early demise. That their wealth was responsible for their shortened lives.I became a Caulker Pointer .I thought at least I will be happy at work ,hanging from the highrise ,suspended ,free ,the ultimate corner office .I had some ridiculous notions when I was young

  • Anonymous

    Transforming GREED: ‘ I want,I want, I want!”  Satisfying greed is like filling a pitcher with a hole, it’s never full.  Be positive, Be Generous.’  This was a recent workshop:  from the Anubhuti Meditation & Retreat Center.

    Use the “I Want” Feeling to give something to someone.  Turn greed into generosity.  You will feel great for it, and it will make you well.

  • mohammad

    Good honest article thanks

  • jim

    Hey even the best of friends can’t go to each other’s funeral.

  • jim

    I worked for a couple of years for a top 50 billionaire ( who I respect him too much to name), who was seriously paranoid. He came to work at weird hours–usually between 2:30am to 5am, mainly to limit contact with the hoi polloi; was also afraid for his family. But he made his initial fortune by taking the big risk and being outrageously successful._

  • Rob

    Great article.  A tad pessimistic, but a lot of great points.  A few years ago I was over my head in debt and worried about how I’m going to pay that debt off.  Now I’ve got some savings and I’m worried about how the government is going to steal it.  Great point, your article is my life on a grander scale.

    Now I just enjoy running on the beach or snowboarding.

  • Contrarian

    Enough IS enough. Isn’t it? The question, if not answered, seems to be the root of the numerous diseases that develop when one considers how much one necessarily needs. Being remembered and loved (or hated), but mostly remembered infamously (vainly) for using and taking waaaaay too much and hoping for immortality in one way or another is the affliction of the rich.

    Becoming filthy rich merely exposes the fear that ultimately, no one gets out of here alive.
    Dignity in death should be the goal, since there is no cure for it yet. Unfortunately, they DO take a lot with them when they go.   

  • Ian

    It looks like Soros is grabbing that woman’s derriere.

  • http://www.theswingingpendulum.blogspot.com/ Foucault

    Being a billionaire should be a great blessing, but sometimes its not. Just like having great ability should make you successful but sometimes it doesn’t.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503703560 Hanson So

    I want to try and work hard for the next couple years of my life – so I can have a comfortable amount of money so I don’t have to work as hard after that.  A goal of a billionaire is too unnecessary.  Maybe a couple hundred millions is good enough to live.

  • nprasanna

    It’s a pity that man gets this disease… thanks for this post James.

  • john

    sorry for the rant, but get real.

    most billionaires are scum. they are sociopaths that are out to divide and conquer. people to them are simply things to exploit. they are morally bankrupt.

    and don’t make the faulty assumption that i’m just jealous. mere rich people inspire a healthy jealousy in us all, but billionaires should truly inspire outrage. our stupidity and lack of ethics allows them to exist.

    this article attempts to be cute, and tries to think of billionaires as just “quirky good ole folks with a lot of money”. that couldn’t be further from the truth. they should absolutely be paranoid because they know full well the corrupt corporate structures they lobbied for that allows them to swim in wealth far beyond what they have contributed to society. they don’t play by a set of moral rules. they make the rules up as they go along to suit their self interests. they then get you to believe it is “free market” capitalism at work and therefore is as ethical and american as jesus and apple pie.

    most of them don’t have time nor interest in their many mansions that sit vacant nor even their yachts. they are sick individuals who would rather die than fairly compensate their employees. most of them now seek to buy media for propaganda purposes. billionaires want one thing: people just smart enough and motivated enough to take a wage without ever demanding an equity stake.

    are there good billionaires, possibly, but i highly doubt it. it is like asking if there are cute and cuddly militaries.

  • j
  • http://speedyloansearch.com/ SpeedyLoanSearch

    They mistake anger for jealousy, how “let them eat pie” of them…They don’t get and they do not want to get it. To the greedy fucktards only zero’s on a screen have any meaning. The more zero’s proceed the number the more wonderful they feel, with no second thought of when is enough enough, or how they continue to add to the piles in their offshore tax heavens. They have bought every politician which could be bought, every advantage, every luxury, and all they have left is their hate and disdain for those they stole from… http://speedyloansearch.com/

  • Kirstine

    Well i think that having money can be a problem because the greedy people surround them to feed.. that’s actually why http://www.management-marketeers.com is in business.

  • Sathyanand S

    Thank you James.. I was reading about Munger for the past 2 days and found something terribly wrong with his way of thinking but couldn’t pin point. In fact I googled ‘James Altucher Charlie Munger’ and landed here. Thanks for the comfort. Mediocre rocks :)

  • Manuel

    Yea… increased libido and banging 18 year olds…. Sounds just terrible. Quit kidding yourself.