So, what better day is there to talk about being a billionaire than Thanksgiving Day? I hope by the end of this post you'll realize that, if you haven't been before, today you'll be a multi-millionaire or a billionaire.
Let's start out with the answers to the six questions I gave you in the last post.
Question #1. How old are YOU?
D. __ (Enter Your Age)
Only YOU know this answer, so you either entered your real age in D. or I happened to select your actual age by some random chance. Whatever your age actually is, be proud of it. Your life is richer for each extra day you live so forget all that perpetual "39" stuff. You're not Jack Benny and he was only 39 once just like the rest of us. By the way, C., 68, is my final answer.
Question #2. What year were you born?
D. ____ (Enter the Year YOU were born)
Once again, only YOU know what year you were born. Some significant things happened that particular year and one of them, the most important one to you, is that you were born. In this case, C., again, 1945, is my final answer.
Question #3. What is the current average Social Security actuarial life expectancy male/female for the year you were born?
A. 77.5 years/82 years
B. 78.5 years/82.5 years
C. 83.5 years/86 years
D. ________ (Your life expectancy based on your current age, when you were born and your gender)
There are numerous ways you can calculate this. There are all kinds of life expectancy calculators and actuarial charts on the Internet. So, there really isn't any one answer that is THE answer. In my case, my final answer is C., yet, again, 83.5 years (since I'm a male). I chose the Social Security actuarial life expectancy chart for this particular post simply because, well, it's simple. If you don't know your life expectancy you can go to http://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html to calculate yours. The number is just approximate unless you were born on January 1st of your birth year. Also, I rounded up or down depending on the fraction. But, it will give you a reasonable idea. Oh, and if you've already passed your expected life expectancy, you really have something to crow about.
Another interesting side note is that when I was born in 1945, my life expectancy was only 63 at that time. So, I'm very happy to have passed that date already.
Question #4. By what age do you become a millionaire?
A. Age 1
B. Age 29
C. Age 43
D. Age 68
This is the first question you actually had to think about. If your answer was anything other than A. Age 1, you are wrong. But, that's okay because you still win.
Question #5. By what age do you break 100 million?
A. Age 43
B. Age 29
C. Age 4
D. Age 68
This one also required you to think a little. And the correct answer is C. Age 4. Yep! Believe it or not you've already exceeded 100 million before you started Kindergarten.
Question #6. (Final Question) By what age do you become a billionaire?
A. Age 68
B. Age 32
C. Age 29
D. Age 43
Now, the answer to this question is a little more thought provoking? Your final answer is B., 32. That's right you are a billionaire by age 32.
How Does This Work?
Okay, you just checked your bank accounts, your IRA or 401K, the value of your home, if you own it and it's fully paid off and all your other assets and they in no way indicate that you are worth either a million or more or a billion or more dollars. As of the latest compiled report in 2009, only .15% of the world's population has a net worth in excess of a million dollars. Interestingly, the number of millionaires in the U.S. declined by 27% in 2008. There were 2.5 million less than the year before and the lowest number since 2003.
And as far as that billionaire figure, the numbers diminish considerable. Billionaires represent just .0000286% of the world population of approximately seven billion. The United States has the largest number of billionaires followed by China, a distant second (there were no billionaires in China a decade ago) and Russia follows China. The combined net worth of all the billionaires in the world is either equal to or has exceeded the entire gross economy of China, the second largest economy in the world. And who is the wealthiest man in the world? Well, it's none other than that college drop-out, Bill Gates, who surpassed Mexico's Carlos Slim making Gates the wealthiest man in the U.S. and in the World.
Let's face reality, folks. If any of the readers of this blog were worth millions or billions of dollars, I sincerely doubt that you'd be reading this right now. It's not that some of the ideas and information that flow through these posts might not be helpful or even valuable for those with more money than they know what to do with. It's simply that they are too busy figuring out what to do with the money they have and compounding it into more. So, let me state right now. You are not and probably will never be (nor will I) a financial multi-millionaire or billionaire. To be honest, I've generated and been responsible for multiple millions of dollars over my lifetime. However, those were business revenues, not personal wealth. It would have been nice to have kept a couple of the large checks out of every ten I wrote and signed. But, that wasn't my lot in life. Maybe I wasn't bright enough or didn't have the business acumen or money management skills or best ideas or . . . well, you get the idea. We've all questioned ourselves over things like this during our lifetimes. The reality is that it was probably a little of all of them, except the business ideas. Many of the ideas I came up with were exploited by others and did extremely well. My challenge was always my timing and having enough working capital.
If It's Not Money, What Is It?
Okay, so let's look at your millionaire and billionaire status. You see? Every one of us was born with more wealth than we could have ever imagined. The challenge most, if not all, people face is not recognizing that wealth and then squandering it over a lifetime. Wealth doesn't have to be in a tangible form. Money, fiat, currency or whatever you want to call it is simply a means of barter. We exchange some form of coins, usually representing some precious metal, or paper money that we can also call bank notes for products and services, tangible and intangible that we desire. Most people spend their lives working or providing some kind of physical service in exchange for a certain value in paper and coins that can then be used to acquire products and services we need or desire including shelter, food, clothes, transportation, recreation, etc. Throughout history, no matter what culture or civilization you want to refer to, there was some form of trading or bartering products and services. The current system of cash, checks, debit and credit cards are simply a convenient way to accomplish the same thing. But, in virtually all cases there is one element or intangible commodity that is a constant since the beginning . . . TIME!
Time is the most precious commodity we have. I would go as far as to say that time is priceless. Unfortunately, few of us ever learn or even realize this until more than 50% or even 75% of our time has been spent, lost, stolen, borrowed or squandered. We are taught and conditioned to understand the "value" of money and we sometimes even learn money "management." But, few are ever taught the value of their time and how to manage it to their best advantage. We put values on our time without realizing how cheaply we're giving it away. For example, when someone accepts a minimum wage job, they are putting a value on their time of approximately $7.50 for each hour or 3,600 seconds. That's how many seconds there are in each hour.
Let's do a little simple multiplication. If there are 3,600 seconds in an hour, then there are 86,400 seconds in a day, 604,800 seconds in a week, and 31,449,600 seconds in a year. You are already a multi-millionaire, not just a millionaire. But, at the $7.50 rate of pay, your financial time is only worth $65,520 for all your time that year. If you increased that pay rate to $25.00/hour you'd increase the financial value of your time to $209,664 for the same 31,449,600 seconds. So, in less than five years your financial value for your time is worth over a million dollars. Of course, none of us are going to trade the 31,449,600 seconds each year for financial remuneration. However, there are lots of ways to have your time and, at the same time, have your financial wealth working for you while you're doing other things with your priceless time. Remember, most of the financial millionaires and billionaires are self-made. Many of them do not have college degrees (including the current wealthiest man in the world). If they can start out with nothing and become financially well off, so can you and I. We don't need, or at least I don't, as much money as these über rich folks. I simply need enough to live my life and dreams the way I choose to. I'll wager, when the rubber meets the road, that's all you need, too.
But, here is my reality and possibly yours. What value does life have to me if I have a finite number of years to live, if my focus is on converting my priceless commodity that I was given at birth, my time, to money or financial wealth? Am I richer spending my time working for financial wealth and missing out on all the wealth of nature, family, friends, travel and the many other pursuits available to me. Or, am I smarter to use my time to my own, personal best interest instead of selling myself cheap in exchange for money? Oh! I hear you saying now, "But, I have to make money and sell my time so I can have shelter, food, clothes, health care and all the bottom level needs on Maslow's pyramid." Yes! You do need those things. And, not only that, but you also need to enjoy some of the wants that you'll develop. Those are rewards we owe ourselves. But, do we need it all? Are those financially wealthy millionaires and billionaires really all that happy? Are they really free? Sure, their lives may look glamorous, but are they enjoying their priceless commodity of time any more than those who value that time more.
Here's a question? Steve Jobs, a brilliant man and a self-made billionaire, died from pancreatic cancer. He was in his 50's at the time of his passing away. Did all that money save his life? He may have been able to buy a little extra time (actually, you can't truly buy time), but how much of his fortune do you think he would have expended if he could have actually bought more time with his wife and family and doing many of the things he put off until some unknown time in the future that never came for him? We've created this concept of having a, so-called, "bucket list" that raised awareness because of a couple actors and a screenwriter with a movie. The term didn't exist prior to the movie in 2006 or 2007.
So, I suggest that you and everyone you know have been millionaires since your first year on this planet and billionaires for most of your life. If I live to my expected Social Security age of approximately 83.5 years, I will have expended over 2.6 billion priceless seconds. Personally, I'm hoping for a lot more years after that 83.5 mark. After all, I've already passed the original 63 year mark established when I was born. How about you? How much are your seconds, minutes, hours and days worth to you? What would you give? What would you pay, if you were lying in your deathbed, to spend a few more years, months, weeks, days, hours or even minutes and seconds doing something you always dreamed of doing or sharing time with those you love. Is there really enough money that you could pay for that time if it were even possible? So, why not live like the billionaire you are? Do what you REALLY want to do with your life. Experience life to its fullest so when you finally close your eyes on this "experience," you take with you the most fulfilled dreams and the least regrets for the time that you gave away, had stolen from you or just plain squandered.
Who Wants To Be A Billionaire? ME! And thankfully, I discovered my intangible wealth before it is too late? And you?