Millionaires in our Midst

You know what I don’t get? Billionaires.

I mean, honestly. Who could make, say, a million dollars and not feel like they had enough, forever? Ten million dollars, that’s not enough? Who keeps working when they have a hundred million dollars?

Park Buddy and I noticed how having kids has made us think about money quite differently. Neither of us was particularly material: we both chose impractical and poorly-paying career paths, we don’t feel a need for fancy clothes or cars or any other luxury.

But we both have kids, and kids are expensive! And for the kids, we do splurge when we think it’s going to make a difference. We pay for the organic produce, we spring for quality activities, we get tickets to museums and zoos and so on.

Even zoo tickets and pesticide-free veggies aren’t going to break the bank for a millionaire, though, right? I mean, let’s say I made, oh, I dunno, two million dollars. It’s a pie-in-the-sky dream, of course, never gonna happen, but let’s just say. I put my two million dollars in the bank at 5% interest, and that’s $100,000, free and clear, every year. That’d be way more than I spend at the moment, and that’s with kids.

So why work, after that? Why do millionaires strive to become multimillionaires, then billionaires? What’s the point?

I suppose the fact that I don’t know the point is the reason that I’m not going to become one. (Well, that, and the fact that I don’t have a job outside of the home, and when I do work again, it’ll be as a poorly-paid teacher.)

Anyway, as you can tell, the topic of money comes up from time to time, and usually in the same way: a vague fantasy that if I won the lottery, I’d feel much more capable as parent. Park Buddy was talking about how we could hire people to do all the things that distract us from our kids: our housework, our shopping, our paperwork. Our spouses could come home and be full-time parents with us. Everyone would be happy, right?

But when the pangs of wishing we had more revisit us, PB and I always come to the same conclusion: We’re pretty damn happy with what we’ve got. We learn and grow by navigating the challenges that life throws at us given what resources — internal and external — we’re blessed with. Sure, maybe more money would make a few of those challenges go away, but not all of them. Some challenges are unavoidable, and figuring out how to deal with them with whatever resources and capital we have — that’s what makes life interesting.

Not always pleasurable, but always interesting.