Thoughtful Thursday: Rich
July 8, 2010
So there’s this guy who grew up with my husband. They’re not really friends, but they have some close friends in common so they sometimes end up together at golf trips and bachelor parties and such, and we attend some of the same weddings and get-togethers.
I just found out that his business has earned him a boatload of money (yachtload? shipload?). A preposterously huge amount of money. As in, eight figures.
Mr. Moneybags has a very big house in the fanciest neighborhood in his city. He indeed has a boat (but not a yacht). He flies first class. He sends his kids to private school. He buys things without asking what they cost.
He clearly lives the high life, but ironically, I think of him as being rather cheap.
You see, one time a few years ago I was asked to deliver the envelope containing his wedding gift for one of our mutual friends. I did not open the envelope and I did not try to peek inside (no, really) but the check fell out of the card and I saw how much he gave them. It was a smaller wedding gift than I would give to anyone. I would give an acquaintance or a coworker more than that, let alone a close friend of 30 years.
Mr. Moneybags literally has 10,000 times as much money as I do in the bank, yet the wedding gift he gave to his dear friend is half of what I typically give. Our non-monetary gift to this particular couple (the groom is one of DH’s closest friends) was about four times as much as the one that wafted out of that envelope.
Obviously I don’t expect Mr. Moneybags to buy anyone a car for their wedding, but I would expect someone with that level of wealth to give his lifelong friends a gift that’s more generous than most. Maybe I’m wrong and he should blend in with everyone else by giving an average-sized gift. At the very least, his gift shouldn’t be one of the cheapest.
I can’t even begin to fathom what it is like to have anywhere near that kind of money. My imagination just isn’t that good, or maybe I can’t grasp numbers that large. If I had even 1/10th of what Mr. Moneybags has, I expect that I would also fly first class, because DH needs the legroom. I would also send my kids to private school, primarily so that they would become bilingual or trilingual. I would get a big house, but not an obscene mansion. I would hire someone to do things I don’t want to do — I would no longer be the one in the furnace room changing the dirty air filter on the A/C, as I did today. I would definitely not buy a boat. Back when I was doing IF treatments, I would have been able to do as many treatment cycles as necessary without worrying about the cost. I would travel; oh, how I would travel. Outside of giving them worldly experiences, I would not spoil my children with lots of material possessions. I would pick up the tab at dinner when I’m with a friend who is down on their luck — just as I already do. I would give generous gifts — just as I already do. I would like to think that I would treat myself well, but I would treat other people better. I would not do it for the sake of throwing money around, but rather to give people a gift that I know they’d enjoy without consideration for the cost, and to help people when they could use some help.
Oh and I would definitely buy a car with power windows, because WTF? It’s 2010 and I have to crank the window by hand? Ah, if I had millions of dollars, finally the toll booth attendants would stop laughing at me.
If you had much more money than you do now, how would you live your life differently?