Would You be Happier if You had Billions of Dollars?
First thought: of course it would make me happy. I could pay off all my debt, and buy whatever I want. But . . . there’s always a but – right? Before we go too far, let’s just try to understand the magnitude of billions of dollars, 150 Billion Dollars to be exact – $150,000,000,000.00 (That’s a lot of zeros!!)
Considered the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos is worth an estimated 150 billion dollars!! Which is a whole lot of moola. I got to thinking. Sure, I could buy whatever I want, but what exactly could you buy if you spent all that money?
I know that Bezos’s money is mostly tied up in Amazon stock and other companies, and he doesn’t necessarily have ready access to all that cash. His net worth is $150B. But it’s still an interesting exercise to try and comprehend that amount of money.
For instance: the most expensive car that I found that you can buy is: Lamborghini Veneno Roadster – for a price tag of $4.5 million.
With $150 billion, you could buy thirty-three thousand of those cars!! And you’ll still have $1.5 billion left. Did they even make that many Lambos?
And what about houses? After you bought all those cars, you’ll need somewhere to crash (see what I did there?). The Chartwell Estate is currently on the market for a cool $350 million.
Just to summarize, you could buy those 33,000 cars and the most expensive listing in the US, and still have money left over to live comfortably. Over a billion dollars to be exact.
A billion is equal to one thousand millions. In other words, if you had a box with a million dollars in it, to get a billion, you’d need one thousand of those boxes.
Or imagine you’re at a Penn State football game (I live in central PA). This is one of my favorite pastimes on a fall saturday afternoon. Beaver stadium holds over 100,000 people. It’s the third largest stadium in the world. It would take 10,000 Beaver Stadiums to hold one billion people!!
Just for fun here are some more things that you could buy with that remaining one billion dollars.
Are you starting to see how ridiculously large of a number one billion is? And that’s just ONE billion!! To say that Bezos is set for life would be a colossal understatement.
Jeff Bezos is just like You and I
But when it comes down to it, he’s still just a man. He still has to dress himself, and brush his teeth, and sleep. He eats every day, and he has to answer nature’s call afterward. He’s no more or less human that we are.
Don’t think that, just because of his wealth, his life is somehow worth more than yours or mine. All human life has value. And it’s not measured in dollar signs.
And our happiness isn’t tied directly to our net worth either. However, we’ve been conditioned to think that it is.
“Just a little more”, we think . . . “then I’ll be happy.”
This is a fool’s game. It’s always a little more, and a little more, and a little more. Until, . . . what?
You have $150 billion dollars like Bezos? Then will you be happy?
I doubt it.
How to be Happy.
Until you learn that happiness has little to do with your circumstances and possessions, you won’t ever be happy.
Happiness is a choice. Plain and simple. It’s a choice that’s based on the fact that all human life has value. Value given to us by our creator. And we’re currently alive. You’re alive. And you woke up this morning. You have clothes to wear, and food to eat, and water to drink.
You can choose to be happy in whatever circumstances you find yourself. And know that most times (not all), your circumstances were caused by your own choices anyway.
So, if you’re unhappy, you have no one to blame but yourself, because it’s due to either your own choice or your self-inflicted circumstances.
You could counter with the person that is living at or below the poverty level. They couldn’t possibly be happy. They would certainly be happier if they could afford just a few of the conveniences and luxuries that the rest of us may have, right?
While it’s true that their life would be easier with more money, it may not necessarily be any happier. Because you’re confusing happiness with an easy life.
Look at it this way. Money can buy you an easy life. Even to the point that you wouldn’t ever have to do anything on your own. You could have servants and “people” do whatever you want. And on the flip-side, if you had no money, you’d have a hard grueling life. Your life would be work just to survive.
I posit, that you could be happy in either case, or in either case, you could be mad at the world. We’ve heard stories of wealthy, rich people who certainly aren’t happy. If money equaled happiness, why would any millionaire commit suicide?
And we’ve also read about people living in poverty who are happy to be alive. And happy in whatever life throws at them.
But we’ve been conditioned to automatically think that more money equals more happiness. This is so wrong.
Think about kids. How much money do they need to be happy? Like everyone else, if their needs are met, they can be happy in almost any circumstance.
Because in reality, happiness is independent of money.
$150 billion dollars is a pile of money. And it’s more than we can easily imagine. But it won’t make you happy. Remember that money doesn’t equal happiness.
So, today, choose to be happy. After all, you’re alive and breathing. You have a chance to do something special with your day. Carpe diem! (Seize the day!)
And it’s not that we shouldn’t care about our finances. You should pay attention to your money. And manage it well. Because this is a personal finance blog, and we all could do a better job of managing what little money we do have. Because when you compare mine and your net worths with Mr B.’s, we all have just a little money.
But it’s not just the money that’s important.
What do you think? Do you correlate your happiness with your finances? Why or why not?
Leave me a comment and tell me about your answer. And as always, thanks for reading and sharing.