Country Living Series

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What do you DO with all that money?

An article came out a few days ago on how Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, is now one of the richest persons on the planet with a fortune of $106 billion.

Putting aside his ethics and morals and other human considerations, this article leads to an interesting question: What do you DO with that much money?


I mean really, what? I realize at some level wealth starts to beget wealth, but at what point is it too much? You could purchase the most expensive houses on the planet, the most expensive vehicles, the most expensive electronics -- and then what? There comes a point where additional purchases make no sense.

Wealth acquisition and distribution is an interesting study. According to Quora:
If you were to redistribute all the wealth in the world equally to everyone, it will eventually come back to the current distribution. And believe it or not, that is not a global conspiracy, but a natural distribution. It was discovered by Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto.

The Pareto Distribution and its evolving variations: the 80/20, which becomes 90/10, continuing to 95/5 and eventually 99/1. This is a universal distribution system and thus also applying to wealth distribution.

The gap is actually getting wider because the wealth mentality creates a positive leverage and an increased upward momentum, while the poverty mentality creates a negative leverage and a increased downward momentum.

In other words the two worlds move apart from each other, as more wealth (growth) is created. This trend is clearly apparent in the evolution of the universal distribution model.
That's nice, but again: What do you DO with all that money?

ThinkAdvisor puts the spending of the richest Americans into 14 categories: Home improvement, household staff, education, gambling, collectibles, clothing, jewelry, automobiles, boats, entertainment, vacation or leisure travel, club memberships, charitable contributions, and political contributions. (More ridiculous examples are found here.)


But once all those things are purchased, are they worth it? I'm sure you've heard this story:
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish. The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”

The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

The businessman was astonished. “Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?”

“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.

The businessman then asked, “So what do you do for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”

The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”

The fisherman asks, “And after that?”

The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman was puzzled. “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
The topic of wealth came up a few days ago between Don and I when he told me an acquaintance of ours -- who is not struggling financially -- had won $80,000 at a casino and promptly bought a new car.

"That's funny," I said (at the time, we were driving to church in our $2000 car). "A new car is about the last thing I'd spend money on."

Our discussion then turned to what we would do if we had a sudden $80,000 windfall. We grew very quiet for a few moments as we both struggled to come up with something.

"Pay off the mortgage," we both concluded, followed by making a few cosmetic improvements to the house. Beyond that, sock it away for our retirement.

We have no desire or need for household staff, additional education, gambling, collectibles, clothing, jewelry, cars, boats, fancy entertainment, club memberships, or political contributions. It would be nice to do some leisure traveling and have more money for charitable contributions, but that's about it.

Which is probably why we're not rich, either. We simply don't desire it.

Of course, by every yardstick out there, we're really really rich in everything else that matters.


And I'm willing to bet Jeff Bezos doesn't get sunsets as pretty as ours.

21 comments:

  1. I too, am "very rich" in that what matters.

    And if he did get sunsets like that....would he even see it? Great post as always. Thank you.

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  2. Wealth Mentality? Poverty Mentality? What nonsense. We have people in this country who aren’t African American or Filipino, yet they claim they are—yet it doesn’t change their biology. I can possess an “Independently Wealthy Mentality” and still have to work for a living, since my “mentality” can’t pay the bills.

    “We have no desire or need for household staff, additional education, gambling, collectibles, clothing, jewelry, cars, boats, fancy entertainment, club memberships, or political contributions.”

    The people who do desire those things haven’t figured out yet, as you and I have, that those things give no pleasure whatsoever—just worry. The more you have, the more you have to look after it, until its upkeep takes all your time and energy. Better to just catch enough fish for your family and go on with your day.

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  3. Love the post and love the sunset and feel sorry for the wealthy...They don't have a clue.
    Snowing like crazy here...Beautiful and will be in the 40's tomorrow...winter in a 24 hour span of time...LOL
    Love from NC

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  4. Obviously, saving for retirement and giving to charity are key.

    But if someone HAS to spend the money, from the financial side, I can't see spending a penny more than necessary on depreciating assets like cars. Why? It will be worth nothing in 10 years or so. Invest wisely and don't worry about it.

    I have no idea what level of spending is enough for the super rich. I think at some point accumulated wealth simply becomes a scorecard for bragging rights.

    I'd rather be camping in the woods with my family.

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  5. ...For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required...

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  6. What almost every rich person in America does is they give it to "charity" (think about the Clinton's or Gore's charity) so they can avoid the taxes. Because they don't pay taxes on that money and the government must and will have their money you and I pay the difference. So every time Bezos or some other mega rich guy gives 100 million to his favorite "charity" you the taxpayer gets to pay $30-50 million of that. That is the scam that the "charitable" deduction is to all Americans.

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  7. If I suddenly came into a lot of money, my first priority would be to help the members of my family who are less fortunate. Second priority would be early retirement and buying a nice new house deep in the woods in which to live out my days. Of course, that'll take more than $80,000. But you can dream big.

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  8. I read this to my husband and asked him what we would do with more money...he said "probably worry about keeping it". We are retired with no debt and live quietly among our friends and family in a small town, the definition of happiness for us. We wouldn't want to burden our children with too much money either.

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  9. "What do you DO with all that money?"

    The same thing Soros, Ted Turner, Bill Gates, Spielberg, and Zuckerberg do.

    Try to 'control' the rest of us 'deplorables' smelling up their planet in conjunction with how to 'change the world' with their idea of utopia.

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  10. Thank you for your candor and perspective on life...refreshing. Your article reminded me of the passage in 1 Timothy 6:6-11New International Version (NIV)

    6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
    Be encouraged in Him today and know that you are making a difference by the truths you share.

    We are blessed beyond belief to live in America.

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  11. one thing you must think about...Bezos, as most wealthy, is rich on paper. most of his wealth is "net worth"...stocks in his company and probably several others. and it can all be gone in a very short time...think wall street 1929. sure Bezos, and most wealthy, have a bunch of hard assets, houses, planes, boats, cars.... but if the income from the wall street racket goes away, how long will it be until the tax man takes the car, house, plane, and boat??
    the most valuable thing you have is your experience, and if that involves a marketa ble skill, you will never be unemployed, or poor. what real skill does Bezos, or trump, or any other rich business man have??

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  12. We used to say this about some of the salesmen that would call on us at work. "don;t they know that you can only drive 1 cadillac at a time"

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  13. Interesting that they don't mention the angel investing done by so many of the wealthy that you don't hear about. These guys are investing in new companies, about 1 in 5 actually ending up making money. But that keeps people employed as they try to make their idea work and it brings new things to market.

    Of course, the media like the ostentatious spending, not the quiet investing. And they only report on the one company that makes if it makes it way over the top.

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  14. Joetentpeg and xtron are headed the same direction I did. At that level of wealth consumption is a joke. Bezos got wealthy by making stuff (businesses in his case). It is what he does. Wealth begets wealth, it is what he produces. I very much doubt that he is concerned with his pile of assets (NOT cash). He is probably concerned with it as a means of keeping score, but the end of that wealth is to empower the creation of more, not for consumption, but to create it and, this is good.

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  15. It was not until our children were out of the house that we were able to start saving for retirement. We are now retired, but have less than half of what we "should" have to retire. That is OK as we do not live an expensive lifestyle. Our savings are to large degree invested in the stocks of around 30 good companies. That helps support jobs for others, as well as providing funds for our retirement needs. We thank God that we live in the USA where we can decide most of these things for ourselves without "big brother" controlling us.

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  16. I have a list of things that I would like to buy if my "ship" ever came in. The reality? It is less than $5,000. The things that I really desire - to live the life I want to live, a quiet life much closer to the land and away from people - is actually only achievable if I do not have a typical job and try to climb the corporate ladder to get wealth.

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  17. God blessed me with the ability to make a good living. I chose to work hard, reject debt and frivolity. Honestly, I have all that I need.

    We are much like Sue and her husband (above) and share their same concern. Globalists are well on their way in destroy all all middle class. Dark days are coming. Think wealth preservation, not wealth accumulation.
    Dock Guy

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  18. Patrice, this is off subject but would you ever consider a post that just answers questions? We are about to head up to Idaho for our fourth time in as many months and planning a move. But as you wrote that you were driving a 2k car, we are completely ignorant as to what vehicle we need in Northern Idaho. I was assuming a heavy 4 wheel drive but it doesn't sound like that is what you drive. Many other people probably have questions also. Thanks.

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  19. Wealth can foster greed or build hospitals and schools around the world. I don't hate the wealthy. I have no idea what sacrifices in time, money and family life they have made to achieve what they have.Some day, I hope to be in a better place financially. How cool would it be to slip someone an envelope with $10,000 for a adoption a couple can not afford. Or randomly paying for someone's mortgage or sponsoring an unwed mother at a home. I dislike walking away, wishing I could do more.For now, I can only give my time,and God has blessed me with the ability to do that until MY "ship comes in"

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