I was chatting with someone about who’d you most like to be quarantined with and we were debating the perks of being quarantined with a billionaire. He figured that any billionaire would have a fantastic personal chef, but I wasn’t so sure. Billionaires tend to have weird eating habits. Extra money means more options – it might mean you can try things you hadn’t had before. But money doesn’t change what you like.
If You Were a Billionaire, What Would NOT Change in Your Life?
If you love your mother’s fried chicken, you will probably still like it no matter how much you make. And I think that if we thought of a meal we would enjoy eating regularly for the rest of our lives, it would likely not be the most expensive meal we’ve ever had. As you progress through your career, your lifestyle might inflate to include for more expensive tastes, but it’s likely that many parts of your life hit a ceiling where anything nicer fails to bring any additional joy.
If I Was a Billionaire
If I was a billionaire, my diet would likely stay the same. I enjoy cooking for myself and my favorite food is eggs – simple, cheap, fast.
I would keep all the clothes I already have and likely would never buy very expensive duds. Friends with similar salaries to me have dropped upwards of $500 on a dress (not a wedding dress), and I just don’t feel comfortable doing that. I can’t imagine feeling comfortable doing that. The most expensive dress I ever purchased was $75 and it was for homecoming. Ever since then, I haven’t spent more than $40 on a dress and I get compliments all the time and I love the wardrobe.
Even if I had much more money, I would likely keep my art, much of my furniture, my books, my accessories, my 20-year old car. I would continue to shop at Costco and Target. Sure there are items that I would like to upgrade at some point, but when I look at my life, there are more things that I would enjoy keeping than that I would like to replace.
Appreciating Price Inelasticity in Your Life
Price elasticity is the degree to which your desire for something changes as the price fluctuates. Generally, your desire for something decreases as the price increases. But if you’re a billionaire, you could be impervious to these price increases (maybe not for really expensive things, like jets, but certainly for cheaper things like food). Yet your desire for certain things wouldn’t necessarily increase because their price is higher and you have the money to afford it.
There are certain parts of your lifestyle that you will still desire even if their price never increases. For so many things, cost doesn’t dictate your lifestyle. Isn’t that awesome? You can live part of your billionaire lifestyle right now!
Living Like a Billionaire
When we think about living like a billionaire, we think about jets and vacation spots and awesome real estate. Sure, we can’t live like that, but there are also things that would remain the same. If we thought of how we ourselves would live if we were billionaires, the reality might be more similar to our own lives than we had previously thought.
You may have read all the research about how gratitude makes us happier. It’s always been difficult for me to come up with concrete things for which I am grateful, but this was a thought exercise that energized me. We always look at others with the possibility of buying whatever they want – they don’t necessarily buy the most expensive things.
If anything, billionaires are free to buy the things that they like. Jeff Bezos doesn’t have to buy things in order to impress people with how much money has has. Everyone knows he has endless amounts of money. If you take away the desire to impress others, all you have is what works for you and what you like.
But we don’t have to be billionaires to have these choice. There are things in our life that would stay the same because we just like them. There are things that are inelastic to price. If we focus our attention on these things, then we might obtain something that is elusive even to billionaires – the feeling that we have “enough.”