I inherited eleven thousand dollars when I was around twenty two and I was on top of the world. I bought for me, my girl, even kicked backed some to my mother who I owe my life. I was working fulltime and all of that was spending money. After a down payment on a new car, and light travel with heavy shopping I was down to seventeen hundred bucks in three months. I know what you are thinking I let that money burn a hole in my pocket, and I did. I remember being upset with myself and my uncle, who is retired air force and does well for himself. He said to me don’t beat yourself up, you spent the money on what you thought you needed. I felt like he was patronizing me as he is pretty well off. So I responded saying you make $200k a year so losing ten grand is not that serious to you. He promptly corrected me by pointing out how many additional expenses his income provides him and as he made more money he gained more bills. After expenses we came to the conclusion that our spending level was closer than our salaries depicted. As I got older and grew my income I noticed that my uncle was exactly right. I really started to pay attention to people’s net worth and trying to understand how much they really have left to spend. Also I was noticing how my growing income was not stretching as far as when I earned a lower salary. I really wanted to know how much money is enough money to live in today’s society. Twenty one percent of the world lives in poverty that’s 1.4 billion people who live on less than a $1.50 per day. Compared to them my uncle and I look very wealthy. In retrospect Jay Z and Beyonce are two of the highest paid entertainers and it’s safe to say there five hundred million dollar combined net worth is probably the equivalent of the difference between me and the worlds people in poverty. They live off a dollar twenty five cents and I live check to check. Whereas Beyonce and Jay Z can buy “almost” anything they want. To really understand how wide the spectrum is you have to first understand how much a billion dollars really is, which is one million dollars one thousand times. Next you must look at the top ten richest in the world. Their combined net worth is four hundred and fifty Billion dollars with # 1 Carlos Slim of Mexico with estimated net worth of seventy one billion and on the “low” end #10 Bernard Arnault of France with twenty nine billion. So Jay Z and Beyonce would have to do what they did in their lifetime roughly sixty times and that’s for the #10 spot. So when you look at these sports athletes and these entertainers with large salaries, even the owners who a lot of times are billionaires themselves. Their net worth pales in comparison to Bill Gates #2 on the list with sixty seven Billion. So it would seem that the difference of net worth between my uncle and the ones in poverty is just as wide as the difference between five hundred million dollars and seventy billion dollars. In my eyes this brings up the moral question that since there is enough to go around is fair to force the wealthy to dare I say…share the wealth. In all honesty the world’s richest can give every family in the world one million dollars and not put a scratch in their fortune. Now a wealthy business man would say my large fortune trickles down to the working class/poor by opportunities I create. That sounds honest enough but when So many people live off so little and so few people have so much it seems that what’s left to trickle down is like loose change we lose in the couch.
February 27, 2014