7 Life Lessons I Learned Working for an Extremely Rich Woman
My first day working for a Beverly Hills housewife — not the reality show kind, but a real-life multi-millionairess kind started with enough drama to fill multiple episodes.
Marvin*, Aurora’s first assistant, explained my duties to me when we heard a loud bang, followed by multiple crashing sounds, and the collective noise a crowd makes when something major has happened.
We went out to investigate.
As Aurora’s gold-plated electronic gates slowly opened, I saw my blue Honda Civic covered in black soot, with smoke coming off its roof.
A maid from one of the neighborhood mansions had lost control of her breaks and careened down the road. Rather than directing her car into the plastic trash cans filled with sand, she kept going forward.
The driver hit the across-the-street neighbor’s stone mailbox, which propelled her car upwards, where it flipped over and landed on the top of my car, catching on fire.
By some miracle, the maid was shaken up but unharmed. With tears falling down her face, she admitted she didn’t have insurance.
Since we were in Beverly Hills, the Fire Department arrived on the scene even before the gates opened.
Both of our cars were banged up and blackened, and neither were drivable.
I stood there trying to take everything in and figure out how I would do my job, which consisted of many errands. Aurora appeared next to me and said, “ Don’t have a shit’s hemorrhage! Get back to work. I need a lunch reservation at La Scala.”
Although I was on the job when the accident happened, and my car would never have been damaged if I had been allowed to park on the estate, Aurora didn’t offer to pay for the repairs or cover a rental cost car.
I learned several life lessons working for Aurora — things that may be obvious to other people but didn’t click for me until I saw them in practice, such as not giving to every charity, cause, or campaign.
Lesson #1: Wealthy people have to limit their empathy.
When you’re very rich, people seek you out and ask for money all the time. Rich people can’t afford to feel everyone’s pain, or they’d end up broke and emotionally devastated. It’s safer for them to harden themselves as much as possible to other people's troubles, especially those who have no connection to them.
For the wealthy, people are divided into three categories: people and issues they care about, people who can do something for them, and the rest.
Generally, wealthy people have enough concerns of their own and don’t have the capacity to solve the world’s problems. They will make donations to the right charities, especially if they can get a tax break or those they feel strongly about, but they’re not going to give to every charity that crosses their desk.
Lesson #2: The rich are extremely careful with their money.
Having money in the bank doesn’t mean you don’t want to save money. They use money-saving apps, coupons and will take advantage of every deal that presents itself just like everybody else.
Some are extremely frugal, budget-conscious, and thrifty, and that’s how they could become wealthy and stay wealthy.
Lesson#3: If you have a lot of money, you expect to be accommodated.
Rich people want what they want, and they want it now. It doesn’t matter if it’s complicated or impossible; they won’t allow any excuses. It’s not the wealthy person’s problem if you’re out of stock or closed 10 minutes ago. You better do what you can to give Richelle Rich what she asked for and make it snappy.
Sometimes the very financially-well-endowed ask for bizarre or off-the-menus items, and it’s up to you to do whatever you can to fill their request, even if it means you have to get creative.
Lesson#4: If you’ve made your millions, you know how to work hard.
It’s easy to assume that rich people don’t know how to work, but they do, and they tend to work as hard as they did when they started. Some people luck out and make a lot of money and then use their time to spend it.
The problem is if you’re spending at a rapid rate and not replenishing your money supply, it’s going to run out. You have to continue expanding your business, watching over it, and figuring out new ways to make money. It’s a never-ending process, and there’s very little time to sit back without a care in the world.
Only when they’ve worked hard are they able to allow themselves to play hard.
Lesson#5: Patience isn’t a virtue that the wealthy have.
Time is often money for successful people, and they can’t afford to wait on people who don’t know what they’re doing, are inept, or aren’t motivated to do their jobs well.
Affluent people have no time for complainers, whiners, or defeatists. They don’t want to hear your problems — they’re only interested in solutions or exciting new ideas. And even then, that’s only when they request it.
Lesson#6: No, is never an option when they’re asking.
One of the reasons people are successful is that they don’t accept no for an answer. If there’s a problem standing in their way, they figure out a solution. If they stopped every time they got a no, they’d never get anywhere.
Rich people who’ve worked their way up by being creative, working harder than everyone else, and never stopping because somebody said they couldn’t do it.
Lesson#7: Wealthy people will spend money to save money.
Aurora would buy dozens of pairs of the slippers she liked, and she’d keep them in a special area of her closet, so she was always at the ready when she needed a new pair.
What if she spilled champagne on her slippers, and it was her last pair? Washing them would damage them even further, so she had to have a back-up pair, a back-up pair to the back-up pair, and so on until she bought out the manufacturer.
If she got bored with something she had a surplus of or lost the taste for it, she could always give those items to charity or put them in her gift cupboard for future use.
Summary of what I learned.
Whether billionaires or multi-millionaires inherited their wealth or earned it, if they’re wise and financially savvy, they’re careful with it. They don’t throw it away, they watch it carefully, and they look for opportunities to increase it. The idle rich tend not to stay rich for long.
* All names have been changed.