Everybody we interviewed for this story agrees with the obvious: The problems of the rich are--pun intended--a million times better than the problems of the poor. "It's like Cindy Crawford complaining about beauty. It's really hard to complain about having money," confides Jodi Shelton, 35, president of Shelton Communications Group, a Dallas-based high-tech communications firm that had sales of $3 million in 1999. Shelton herself has a personal worth of $8 million from stock investments and various other things. "It's been wonderful," Shelton says of her wealth, "and it's enabled me to do things for my family that I've never been able to."
But Shelton, who was raised in a middle-class family, notes: "You're working very hard to bring in that money. You're working a ton of hours, investing a lot of your time. You're a prisoner of your money as well."
How so? "You're on a fast treadmill. A million dollars sounds like a great deal of money, and, of course, it is. But," Shelton observes wryly, "most everybody, including millionaires, devises a lifestyle that matches the amount of money they make. So you're [forcing yourself] to keep working really hard."
She might have a point. On top of that, these days, a cool million doesn't get you nearly as far as it did a couple decades ago. Indeed, Fallon feels multimillionaire status is really where it's at: "I don't think a million is the bar anymore," he says.
Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.