A rich life isn’t spent fantasizing about money

Money might buy fun stuff, but daydreaming about it is time ill spent

I don’t spend a lot of time wondering what it would be like to be rich, but I have to admit it does cross my mind from time to time.

What would I do first, I wonder, if money was no object?

I saw a 139-day-long cruise listed in a travel brochure the other day; the cost was $49,000 per person for the least-expensive “discounted” cabin. So for just under $100,000, my wife and I could spend more than four months traveling the world without a care. Would I spend a fraction of my imaginary fortune on a trip like that, knowing that when I returned home, there would still be plenty of money left to live on?

There’s a car called the Lamborghini Reventon I could buy for $1.6 million; it takes only 3.3 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour, and it tops out at 211 miles per hour. I don’t know if that price includes a warranty or pre-paid legal assistance, but if I could afford to spend that much money on a car and still not worry about my next meal, I wonder what my life would be like?

Or what if, after my $100,000 cruise, I drove my $1.6 million Lamborghini to Las Vegas, where I could buy a $5,000 hamburger meal that includes a 1995 bottle of Petrus wine?

What if that kind of stuff happened to me every day because money was no object in my life?

Or instead of spending everything on myself, would I be a generous rich guy, showering money on nonprofits and churches and working to make life easier for my neighbors?

Of course, all of the time I’ve spent thinking about being rich isn’t really helping me or anyone else. And just thinking about it isn’t going to get it done, either.

And that’s what I like about this month’s cover story. The people we’re profiling are “regular” folks, and I say that in the nicest possible way. While many of us dream about what could be, they’re doing simple things to enjoy life and make the lives of others better, too. Money doesn’t seem to be much of an issue to them; I don’t know if they want to be wealthy or not, but they don’t seem to be spending any time worrying about it.

Instead, they’ve staked out some simple ways to make their lives fulfilling and rich, and I don’t mean in the bank-account way, either.

Be happy. Say “hello.” Care about customers. Help people. Be kind.

Those concepts are so simple, it’s almost laughable to think stuff so basic would make anyone happy over the course of a lifetime. But it’s working for these neighbors, and it would probably work better for me than worrying about cash.

Here’s betting that if someone served them a $5,000 hamburger, these neighbors would simply send it back to the kitchen for someone else to obsess about.


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