What is life like for someone with a net worth between $10–20 million?

I’m in my mid-50s and my current net worth is in the middle of this range, or about $15 million.

As others have noted, I’ve taken care of most of my family’s financial needs. We have quite a bit of money saved for retirement, and my children’s college education needs are taken care of through heavily funded 529 accounts.

We live in a nice house (about 4,000 square feet) in a nice neighborhood, in a nice suburb near a major U.S. city. We’ve lived in this house for about 19 years and moved in when my net worth was maybe $1–2 million, so we haven’t upgraded as we’ve become richer.

We did buy a vacation house eight years ago in the mountains, and typically enjoy it during the winter months for skiing. We have nice cars, but tend to hold onto them for awhile — I got a new BMW last year after 8 years with my prior car only because I had new drivers in the household and we needed another vehicle.

And five years ago, I finally joined a country club after being an avid golfer for 40 years.

Other than the cars, you wouldn’t know we were anything other than middle class — no family member wears bling or otherwise shows anything that screams wealth. I wear an Apple Watch unless I’m at a formal function (my “dress” watch is a Tag Heuer — a nice watch but certainly not showy).

I still work full-time, in a job I enjoy that typically pays me $600k – $700k per year. And all of my kids work, including the two in high school (they work part-time after school three days a week). All of my children attended public schools through high school.

However, the biggest factor influencing our lifestyle is my wife’s disability. She is totally disabled, is wheelchair-bound when we go out (she uses a walker in the house), and hasn’t been able to drive in over a decade. She has help during the day four days a week, but looking after her is a large burden for us as a family.

So — we go to concerts a few times a year and out to dinner about once a month, but major travel is a lot of work. For our last flying vacation two summers ago, I needed to carry her on and off the plane to her seat. And we need disabled accommodations wherever we go, as bathrooms in particular can be very hazardous for her.

And despite assumptions people might make given our high net worth, I do the dishes in the kitchen after dinner, cook during weekends, do weekend laundry and shopping, and most of the other household chores. With my wife’s limitations, it’s a necessity.

In summary, no one should feel sorry for us, as we have the financial means to deal with our situation. But I’d trade almost all of my wealth to restore my wife’s health if it were possible.

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