People Who Grew Up Rich But Are Now Poor Share Their Experiences
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Life can change in an instant. One minute you have money––the next you have nothing.

Just think of all the people who were riding high before the Covid-19 pandemic dealt a devastating financial blow. How many people are now impoverished? How many of those people now struggle to make ends meet? How did it happen? Will they ever get back to the same standard of living they previously enjoyed?

People were keen on sharing their experiences after Redditor beesduck asked the online community,

"People who grew up rich but are now poor––what's your story?"

"He died soon after..."

"My grandfather ran an incredibly successful cafe in Lebanon a long time ago. Civil war broke out and it was destroyed. He died soon after of heart disease and our assets were lost along the way."


"Be thankful for your struggles..."

"My mom married my step-dad when I was in kindergarten and he ended up becoming really successful in his field. We moved into a huge house in a new neighborhood and never wanted for anything financially. Unfortunately, my parents weren't the most loving and pretty much just held everything over my head. I remember asking if I could get a work permit when I was 14 so I could just make my own money and not have to rely on them. But they wouldn't go for it. We went on nice vacations, had nice clothes and appliances and stuff. There were a lot of good parts. Then my mom got too comfortable, cheated on my step-dad, and had us move all of our stuff out of the house one day while he was at work.

She had me convinced that he was crazy and if I said anything to him, he'd go nuts and kill us, so I was too scared to say anything. I didn't agree with what she did but I didn't have a choice. I was 17 and financially dependent because they wouldn't let me work. I started having weekly dinners with my stepdad and he eventually told me that my mom closed out the account they had mine and my brother's college savings in. It was saved up child support from my dad and totaled about $150k. She didn't tell me about it, but she sure was spending money left and right.

Long story short, she pissed away all the money and I left home at 18 with nothing to go into the world and figure it out. I'm 31 now and still poor, paying off $65k in student loans. It's been really hard, but I've learned so many lessons that people who haven't struggled never will. Plus, I have the pride of knowing that what little I DO have, I earned. That pride is what's kept me going.

Finally, the hustle has paid off maybe because I'm starting a new job with an amazing pay increase on Tuesday and it hopefully looks like things are finally looking up. Be thankful for your struggles and learn from them because they show you how strong and resilient you really are."


We would totally understand if you held a grudge against your mom for what she did, but it sounds like you have done quite well for yourself. Congratulations; hope the job is what you want it to be––and more!

"I'm broke now..."

"My parents were abusive, I was raised to be abused. Married an abusive person. Took everything I had made in my own career to get away and divorce. I cut off communication with my parents during the divorce due to their continued toxic behaviors.

I'm broke now, have no family contact, and no inheritance. I do have a partner now that supports my healing and isn't abusive. I'm building my version of life now."


Breaking out of the cycle of the abuse is incredibly difficult––and those who manage to do it are incredibly accomplished in their own right.

"When my grandfather..."

​"Family had a very well-established drilling and surveying company about 40-50 years ago. Owned multiple aircraft and sites around the country. We were very well off. Maids 24/7, personal chefs, drivers, etc.

When my grandfather (founder) died, the company was mismanaged and full ownership went to one member of the family. He sold it all to pay off gambling debts. The rest of the family didn't see a cent. Our family name used to have prestige and fame to it, but now it's unknown to today's generation.

Parted ways, moved overseas, and started over. Even though fortune and prestige are gone, I find we are a different kind of happy now. There's less societal pressure and we spend more time together as a family."


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"I'm pretty sure..."

"I had a friend that went through this. Her mother and stepfather ran a business building luxury homes. They were all kind of nuts, though. I'm pretty sure her stepfather abused her, although she denied it. They were terrible parents. All of the kids are maladjusted adults with drug and employment issues. Her mother got divorced a second time and ran her business into the ground. Now they live together in a one-bedroom cottage. Two adult kids and the mom."


"I graduated in 2016..."

"A string of bad breaks, mostly.

I grappled with mental health issues in high school and college. They're more or less resolved now and while I don't regret taking the time to get my sh*t in order, one consequence was that I didn't do any internships in college. For whatever reason, no one told me how important they were either, so I started behind in the job market. Oh, and I got a degree in English and wanted to work in publishing.

I graduated in 2016 and it's been a series of bad breaks. Got an internship, but didn't have a job when it ended. Did a program that was supposed to help me get a job and applied to jobs for almost a year before securing a part-time job in my field. Finally got a full-time job at a magazine but got laid off in October because the company lost so much money due to Covid.

My parents help me so I'm not homeless, but I often feel like a failure that I had all these advantages in life and I still can't seem to hack it. I feel so lucky and grateful that I have parents who can and want to help me and don't blame me for my situation even though I blame myself."


I can relate to bad breaks and I feel for you. But you are not a failure! Hold your parents close. It sounds like they're doing right by you.

"I've fallen prey..."

"My family were/are comfortably well off. I'm the youngest of four, and they just kind of gave up on me. I had undiagnosed ADHD but as a girl, it just looked like I was a dreamer and lazy, so they didn't invest much effort in my education. When I was 16, just starting my A-levels, they found their dream home 250 miles away. I asked if I could stay in school so my mum stayed for a few months while my dad moved into the new house, but I could see she wasn't happy, so I made other arrangements and they readily agreed to leave me. The house I moved to was supposed to be supervised by another school parent but she had her own plans and left me with her daughter, another 16-year-old. Our lives unraveled and pretty soon I had left school and was working full time and drinking heavily, scared every day about what I would come home to.

It's been difficult to get my life back on track again. I'm now 40, a single mum, running a business from a home I'll never own. My parents still believe they did the best for me, and I'll always know that they believed in a house more than they believed in me. The signs were all there that something was going on for me, but they liked their life to be tidy and pleasant, and meeting my needs was at odds with that.

I've fallen prey to a few abusive relationships since then and lived a lot of trauma. I got divorced recently and my ex bought my half of the house, and I invested a chunk of that money in therapy so I can claim control of my life again.

I'll never be rich, but I like who I am and I endeavor to leave my corner of the world better than I found it; each person I meet more heard and understood than when I met them, and tell the truth about what it is to be human until the day I die. I think it's a life well lived and I feel grateful to be me, but a little sad that my parents were so ready to use me as a scapegoat for their disappointments. They've grown as people and understand cognitive dysfunction and mental health problems so much better now and I'm proud of them for that."


"Most of my extended family..."

"I grew up in a Jewish family in Beirut, Lebanon. Back then Beirut used to be called the 'Paris of the Middle East'. I was 9 years old when we had to flee Beirut.

Most of my extended family had emigrated to Canada prior to 1975 but my parents were progressive and idealistic, they didn't like the thought of having to be exiled from their place of birth. We were among the last wave of Jewish people to leave Lebanon, and when we did leave, we had to leave everything behind. My father's family business (in textiles), all our belongings.

We arrived in Montreal practically penniless, and although things improved over time, and I'm grateful that we survived, needless to say, our finances were never the same after that. I eventually found work as a teacher, and have lived frugally for decades."


Money isn't everything––but it can certainly make life easier and more accessible. Few people know this better than those who've had and lost money or those who have never had any money (but know what it can get).

Have some stories of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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