In Discussions, Money, Wealth

What does living like a millionaire mean?

My partner and I were discussing this yesterday because soon we will both be individual millionaires (he is already one, I need more money still about a year more of working), and yet we don’t feel rich. Don’t get me wrong, we are extremely well off compared to the middle-class, or most people nearing retirement (and I am not even close!), but we don’t FEEL like millionaires.

(Okay okay, money isn’t everything because you need health and family too, which is far more important than $$$$, and now that is out of the way as a disclaimer…)

I always thought millionaire = rich… and for me, rich people fly private jets, and do all these other things we don’t do (heck, even economy class near the exit row is a luxury for us).

Sure, I drive a very nice car and we both paid for our place in cash, but that for some reason doesn’t seem as flashy as a private jet or having a private chef… or all these other things I think of “rich people” doing.

Then I thought about it some more — those are more hundreds-of-millionaires, and they are the ones who are able to afford such things (a jet would be $50 million for starters), and we already live such a rich life but sadly have gotten so used to it as being ‘normal’ that we don’t feel rich because we are amongst people who have as much if not farrrrr more than what we do.

So we feel .. normal.

We feel like we just have enough, when in fact we have far more than the average household or person.

What is also funny is that we have the same things, but each of the things we have is usually srsly upgraded.

Even cutlery, we don’t go cheap on anything for food for sure, but when I bring out my fork and spoon, people remark at how nice they are. They’re using $5 Ikea spoons and are perfectly happy but I distinctly remember people eying my food and making note of what I am using to eat with.

They see I carry glass tupperware, not plastic… they see my watch is not a Rolex or anything expensive but it isn’t a $10 watch from a store.

It’s all the little things, I suspect that seem to quietly signal that we just may have some money (or a LOT OF DEBT).


Isn’t that funny?

How your environment can make you so de-sensitized to how rich you truly are to the point where you feel like you ARE part of the masses and can instantly point out that we do NOT do X, Y or Z, and only “rich people” do that….

We’re just fooling ourselves, but it did make me wonder what a real millionaire has and does.

The truly rich for me, don’t stress about money

I think being truly rich is when you can spend within your budget / reasonably, and not feel the pinch, nor blink when you need to pay $20,000 in extra taxes, or $5000 for dental surgery.

That, is being rich.

If you can handle those 5-figure amounts fairly easily and absorb them without much pain, you are rich.

…and based on that, we are.

Maybe a million back when we were kids was an effload of money (it still is a lot today), but with inflation and houses costing $500,000 for a “basic starter studio” in cities like Toronto, it can be sort of surprising to realize that a million is not enough for those of us in the midst of saving for our retirements 20, 30 even 40 years away.

I think the new “millionaire” should be amended in our minds to be the “hundreds of millions”-aire …. unless we make it a point to say “a million IN THE BANK”, cash, money, in stocks! Not in net worth, because I can tell you a good chunk of my own net worth (70%) is home/car related. It’s fixed assets I can’t spend.

The other 30% is actual cash, but if we just take that and look at it, I barely have quarter of a million saved. That is not to say that is nothing, but it is not as much as one might think if retirement age is 35 years off, and you plan on living an additional 30 years, for a total of 65 years to cover of living expenses.

$30,000 a year (HAH!) at 65 years = $1.95 million needed in cash, saved.

Or at least, by the time I retire in 35 years (assuming 35, and not earlier).

$250K is a long way off, and my lifestyle wouldn’t even change. I’d be living as I do today. Just maybe with slightly nicer things 😉

What is being ‘rich’ to you, in the literal $$ sense?


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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14 Comments

  1. M
    Mia

    So… I’d say the top execs at work (C-level) have similar stuff to everyone else except they tend to have one or two really pricey rich people hobbies they splash out on. But you have you be into the hobby to know. Like one is into riding motorcycles (really $$ custom ones and he has multiple) and one is into modern art.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s it — it is the hidden hobbies….

      Reply
      1. M
        Mia

        And another one collects watches that are well into the five figures each.

        (These are people whose take-home salaries are well over a million annually for just one person.)

        Reply
      2. M
        Mia

        And one golfs daily at a very expensive country club.

        Reply
        1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          good for them! They are spending on what they love.

          Reply
  2. A
    Anne

    I agree with your definition, rich is being able to not to worry about the money. What it means in actual money depends on the country. In the Nordic countries, the welfare state is trying to make being rich possible even for those wih less money. The goal is that people know they will get healthcare even if they get so sick that they cannot work. You shouldn’t need to have a private health insurance, because you pay taxes to have access to medical care and many other services when/if needed. Even though this system is far from being perfect, I believe that it is making more people rich (if we define rich as you and I do) than many other ways of organizing the society. Of course, people are always comparing themselves with those closest to them, so even though the fact is that most people in developed countries are super rich in the world scale, it is easy to forget when keeping up with the Joneses. A good way of reminding myself of my wealth and richness is The Dollar Street tool https://www.gapminder.org/dollar-street/matrix

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      What an interesting tool!

      I think the only problem that comes with trying to guarantee free healthcare everywhere like in Canada, is regulating people who are taking advantage of the resources versus people like us who avoid hospitals like the plague. But when I need healthcare, I can’t get it in a timely manner, so … I have come to the conclusion I should pay for it privately.

      Reply
  3. GYM

    I think living like a millionaire (with $1,000,000 in investable assets) will be the same except my life will be work optional and I will have a lot more time to spend on things I like, rather than work.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Aiming for that! House is paid, car is paid, I am working on building that up. That is a nice benchmark to reach.

      Reply
  4. Alexis McKenzie

    I want to see your cutlery now!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Willimas-Sonoma, the Beau Manoir style from Guy Degrennes

      Reply
  5. SarahN

    I think I’ve come to reconcile my relative wealth to my choices on what to splurge on and what to not splurge on. I also see certain things as ‘obscenely rich’ being the private jet ilk, or a driver or a cook. Particularly in the developed world. Though drivers are common in some professional capacities I think.

    As to my splurges: I have a European car, travel regularly and internationally and go to an ‘expensive’ gym ($60 per week). My car is second hand. Most of my clothes and furniture are second hand. I buy prepared meals due to no cook (jokes) but also because I weary of cooking for one, and buying prepared meals is healthier than eating out. I like fine dining/degustations, so I go one to three times a year. It’s enough for it to still be special, and the budget to not burst.

    I’ve come to be increasingly less materialistic, and I think that goes a long way to making my money serve my wants and needs and still save and have a lot.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      “Obscenely rich” is a good way of putting it. I do not feel like I will ever reach that!

      Reply

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