Being Rich – What Would Change in Life?


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Being Rich – What Would Change in Life?

Ah, the allure of tons of money… who hasn’t had the dream of being rich?!

The things you could afford, the places you could go, the luxurious good times you could have. It’s fun to imagine all the cool things you could do with boatloads of money.

Wait a minute, Jim – aren’t you already rich? You retired a couple of years ago at 43 for Pete’s sake!

We’re definitely in a position that I’m more than elated for – we’re financially independent. That’s a blessing more than we could ever ask for in life.

But we’re far from rich. I talked about this in my post, Being a FIRE Millionaire Doesn’t Mean You’re Rich. Essentially, through the 4% rule, we have a “fixed income” of roughly $50,000/year we can spend while still sustaining our portfolio for the long haul. This, of course, assumes neither one of us ever works again, but it’s still an important number to understand.

There’s no doubt that $50k/year is a nice chunk of money that, so far, works nicely to cover our annual expenses. We have breathing room in there to live our normal family life including taking vacations… but being rich is not something we are. “Set” might be a better way to put it.

Remember though that we’re living a semi-frugal lifestyle. We still need to think through all our spending and when we do make choices, you can bet that money is almost always a factor in our decisions.

The fun part though is the idea of taking money completely out of the equation – no worries about cost whatsoever. Imagine what we could do if we were really rich.

I’ll tell you what I would do and then you tell me what you would do if money was no object.

Being rich involves owning a boat, right?

Haha, not in this guy’s dreams – that’s for sure!

There’s no vacation I love more than traveling on a cruise ship in the Caribbean somewhere. Being out on the ocean with no land in sight is simply amazing. Watching and hearing the soothing sound of waves crashing as the ship travels is awesome. Then there are the sunsets on the ocean, seeing a sky filled with stars at night, and spotting cool things like dolphins or rainbows over the water.

Heck, that doesn’t even count playing dress-up for formal nights, enjoying delicious food (particularly the dinners), and all the fun stage shows. It’s nice to check out the different ports of call as well, but I’d be content just staying on the ship the whole time.

Yeah, I absolutely love cruises!

But owning a boat? Or even a monster-sized yacht? Not this guy – too much of a headache.

Yeah, yeah, I know – stop thinking small and remember that we’re dreaming of being rich… filthy rich. I could hire someone to maintain it, clean it, store and transport it, stock it with food and drink, and all the other chores that would come with owning it. I could probably even hire entertainment to have onboard for the trips.

Here’s the deal though… I don’t like owning a lot of stuff. Stuff takes away from freedom. And I love freedom.

I wasn’t expecting this feeling until we sold almost everything we owned in 2019 and moved to Panama. We took two suitcases each on our move and now rent a fully furnished place in Boquete. When we’re done there, we’ll just pack up the suitcases (for the most part) and move again. It’s unbelievably liberating.

So instead of owning a boat or even a cruise ship, I’d prefer to just rent one whenever I wanted. Now, don’t worry – being rich enough to afford anything, I’d make sure that we got the best.

On some occasions, that might include living on a cruise ship like “The World.” This ship travels the world and the itinerary is determined by both the residents and captain every year. How cool is that?!

The massive full-size cruise ship has only 165 residences on it. In other words, there are still others on board to socialize with but not so many that you’re packed in like sardines. That sounds perfect to me!

Of course, we’d stay in one of the monster 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom apartments with the gourmet kitchen. Check out the photos here. In case you’re curious (even though money’s no object), it’s a heckuva lot of money to live there. According to the Boston Globe…

That ticket, by the way, for one of its 165 luxurious shipboard condos can cost from $825,000 to $7.3 million.

First, though, you’ll have to prove your net worth exceeds $5 million. Then add another 10 to 15 percent of the purchase price for annual maintenance and other fees based on your apartment size.

–The Boston Globe: The World: A floating home for the well-heeled

And those prices are from 2015! I would imagine it’s gone up a little since then… Jeeves, pay the man, please.

My buddy John from ESI Money wrote about living on a cruise ship in his post Is Retiring on a Cruise Ship an Affordable Option? Granted, he was talking about a more reasonable regular cruise ship, but it sounds wonderful regardless.

That’s always been a dream of mine. Maybe we’d get bored of it after a while, but I’d love to try it for at least 6 months or a year. Exploring the world in luxury sounds like a pretty good plan to me!

Other times, maybe I’d just rent a yacht with a crew to handle everything. It’s weird, but I think I’d still prefer the cruise ship over the yacht. I feel like you meet so many interesting people from all over when you’re on cruise ships. But having the ability to limit that the number of folks around you with a ship like “The World” makes it something that seems a little more up my alley.

Fulfill my dream of starting something worthwhile

I’ve had this draw for years now that there’s something more I need to be doing in the world. I haven’t figured out what it is yet but I’m wondering if it’s working to fight homelessness and hunger as those are two areas that bother me tremendously.

Between focusing on raising my daughter, living in a foreign country, and a small little pandemic that crept up last year, my calling hasn’t been at the top of my list right now. I’m hoping that once we’re back in the U.S. and my daughter’s a little older that I’ll be able to explore this more.

But would being rich make more of a difference?

I think so. Unfortunately, I wasn’t smart enough to plan our early retirement with a philanthropy/charity budget… oops. So even when I’m ready to do something more and something big, I’m likely going to need to do some fund-raising to make it a reality… but not if I’m filthy rich!

At that point, I could skip the step of trying to raise the money needed and just focus on the actual doing. That’s a big deal.

I could start a foundation, bring on employees/volunteers, and get to work. I still don’t know what the work would be yet, but it seems like it would flow much better if money were no object.

Other fun

Personally, I don’t need much in life. Heck, if we could just spend tons of time on cruise ships and do as much traveling as we wanted, I couldn’t ask for much more. Speaking of travel, I think there’d be some private jets involved in getting from point A to B. No need to take advantage of travel rewards and no security checkpoints to worry about.

Not only that, but I could rent out places for friends and family nearby and fly everyone out to wherever we’re staying. That could be a lot of fun! Imagine how nice it would be for everyone involved to just hop in the limo to take them to the private jet and onto whatever location we’re ready to party in. No one would have to worry about food or drink or anything… you just show up and have fun!

I’m starting to like this idea of being rich! Even simply for travel, it’s got some huge advantages that we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of otherwise.

It’s hard to digest everything you could do if you had an unlimited amount of funds. Being rich – like really rich – would certainly give you the power to change the world if you wanted.

Look at Elon Musk. The guy never had to work again in his life after selling PayPal, but instead, he’s done things like start Tesla, an amazing electric car company, and SpaceX, with the intent of reducing space transportation costs.

That’s someone who’s not letting life pass him by. He’s got the money and he’s using it to change the world. Check out the bestseller book, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, to get a fascinating look into his amazing life.

Maybe after some deep thought, I could find another cause that makes sense to help push forward. I’m intrigued by the idea of meat replacements like using plants and insects… perhaps that might be something to push my billions of dollars toward?

What about the rest of the family? Would being rich change anything?

Lisa told me that if money was no object, she’d want to buy a ranch-style home on a lake in Tennessee. Then she’d want us to be snowbirds and travel the world in the winter. Hell, we could do that now if we want!

Being Rich – What Would Change in Life? - Lisa on a Boat in Tennessee
That does seem pretty nice!
Being Rich – What Would Change in Life? - Lisa Trying to Get Back Into the Boat
Hmm, but what happens if you jump in the lake to pee and then can’t get back into the boat?!

Faith said that she would buy her own zoo, give a lot to charity, and save a lot of it. After thinking about it for a minute, she then added that she’d donate most of it. She also said she wants to make sure that animals and people don’t go hungry. How can you not love this kid?!

But, wait a minute – this is about my dreams about being rich. They need to start their own blogs if they want to try to share their dreams! 😉


I’m realizing that I’m not reaching high enough. Having tremendous amounts of money can give you the opportunity to change the world. I’m just not a person who needs a lot in life to be happy. I feel like I’d lead a simple life and live in a non-extravagant house. Even multi-billionaire Warren Buffet’s house much be a little much for me!

So I’d need to figure out the right causes to support and other ways to make the world a better place.

But I know you’re probably more ambitious than me… if you had more money than you could ever run out of, what would your life look like?

Plan well, take action, and live your best life!

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

26 thoughts on “Being Rich – What Would Change in Life?”

  1. Problems of abundance such as being monetarily rich require a different approach than problems of scarcity. With so much focus on scarcity, abundance is rarely addressed or even given much thought as to how to approach and manage it. Analysis paralysis and the paradox of choice quickly overwhelm when abundance occurs. There’s a scene near the end of the movie The Hurt Locker where the main character has returned home (to the US) and he is mentally paralyzed by the number of milk options in the dairy case. This fellow had done complex, high-risk work as a bomb technician, so it’s quite disheartening to see his brilliance felled by milk cartons. He also struggles with not having to follow orders & not having a mission. Less really is more in terms of easing decisions and simplifying – perhaps this is why Aldi and Lidl enjoy explosive global growth – their aisles don’t stymie you with too many variations of the same thing. Having a focus or overarching goal or theme helps too – everything or most everything you decide must align with that goal.

    1. I do love me some Aldi and I love our lifestyle… but it’s still fun to dream. I’m sure there are problems that come with over-abundance as well but maybe that would need to be a different post! 😉

  2. It is all relative. I have far more money than I need. My wife and I spend only a small fraction of what we could afford to live on in retirement because we have everything we need to fill our lives full of active hobbies and sports and volunteering. Like Warren we still live in the only house we’ve ever owned which we bought for $32,500 forty years ago. We drive our cars until they have lots of miles on the odometer, my wife is still driving her 2006 Exterra, even though she could buy a loaded new Audi or Mercedes with petty cash. On the other hand my billionaire friend has a local mansion, a ski estate out west and a private island with a compound on it. He has a jet and has staff at all his homes. He has a half dozen extremely amazing vehicles. Yet he isn’t at all weighed down by these possessions, he has people to take care of them. He spends his time on purposeful activities on corporate boards, college boards, government commissions and industry keynotes. He’s happy and he and his lifetime spouse are kind and generous people. I wouldn’t say they are happier or less happy than we are and in spite of all his stuff and money his life is pretty similar to mine or yours. Once you’ve got more than you need then how much more doesn’t really change your life much. He can afford some conveniences I can’t, but at the end of the day we can both afford to go anywhere we want, anytime we want and do anything we want with no consideration of the cost. And that’s pretty much true for anyone who is financially independent, even if they aren’t billionaire rich.

    1. That’s interesting to hear the other side with a billionaire in the equation (you don’t have too many of those floating around!). I’m sure there are different problems that creep up than most folks would know of, but as you said, he’s got people to handle a lot of it. I’m glad you commented – this really helps put some things into perspective. I’m sure you’re in a better position financially than we are, but not having the worry about money has been a blessing in our lives as well.

      More importantly, it sounds like I shouldn’t be afraid of becoming a billionaire anytime soon… I’ve got some planning to do! 😉

    2. I think that’s the key. If the staff takes care of your schedule and stuff, then you’re not weighed down by them. That’s a different level of rich, though. Regular rich people probably can’t afford that level of service.

  3. There is a difference between being rich and wealthy. I think you are living a rich life. You can do what you want to do and explore ways to help the world. Similar to you, I have that itch that I’d like to do SOMETHING, but I don’t know what that something is. But I left my CEO job to figure it out. AR is part of that journey, but I think what you are doing by blogging is also helping people. If you can help even just a few folks per year to get their finances in order, you ARE doing something.

    Anyways, you are rich in my eyes. I think as people find money only increases your happiness to a point. The rest is how your life is constructed. My happiest days are simply eating great food, doing something new or outdoors and having a good time with family and friends. That is it.

    1. You’re absolutely right about that – we do live a rich life and that’s a blessing I reflect on every day. It’s amazing even just to realize that we can walk around in the beautiful landscapes of Panama with not a care in the world. No obligation to work is such a liberating feeling and opens up time to just stop and smell the roses. I’ll be curious to see where your journey takes you in trying to figure out your calling as well… best of luck!

      1. Nice post here 👌 And love the pictures!
        And as far as being rich goes, I think it’s all about perception. Defining what rich means for yourself.

        I have noticed that as I accumulate more wealth, I am freer and happier because I have more time to do the things I want and like to do. And hang out with those I care about. That to me, is a mighty rich life.

        Miriam

        1. Thanks, Miriam! And yes, I agree wholeheartedly that the freedom money provides has the potential to lead to one mighty rich life indeed! 🙂

  4. It seems that happiness factor lies somewhere around the spectrum of consumption versus producing to me. If more money means I consume more, and have more things that own me, then that reduces happiness. If instead it’s that you have more – say through your estates, but it doesn’t own you, then more is great =)

    1. I like that – more material things and further consumption tend to reduce happiness for me as well. That’s why I’d prefer to do more traveling and less buying of things. Then you get the freedom and memories without needing to own a bunch of useless stuff.

  5. I don’t know what I’d do if I’m rich. Probably travel more luxuriously. I don’t want to buy any luxurious stuff at home. They’re all extra weight. Maybe hire some people to help out with errands and tasks so I’d have more time. That would be helpful.

    1. That sounds good – having people to handle the stuff you don’t want to deal with would be really helpful. We had a housekeeper in Panama for a while because it was so cheap, but Lisa ended up ending that because we just have a small 3 BDR condo. But I’d say that having someone come every couple of weeks to handle the chores you don’t want to and even an assistant to handle your mundane tasks would be a nice load to be taken off your shoulders.

  6. Judging by the photos alone, you look like one of the richest guys out there. I can see why so many people end up unhappy when they come into riches without having learned to appreciate the process and enjoy the journey enough to truly enjoy that wealth. Certainly money solves a lot of problems and creates a lot of opportunities, but being rich is way more than a net worth figure. I think understanding financial independence–at whatever figure that ends up being–leads to a much more fulfilling life.

    1. We certainly have learned to appreciate every day we have right now, so maybe we’re ready to handle some huge windfall now!😉

  7. We have a family friend that probably fits the bill for the kind of “rich” your talking about Jim.

    They’re probably worth about $100 million (I’m guessing on that amount, but around that level). Yes, they have an 11 thousand square foot house, a boat, fancy cars, etc. Just like you’d expect a rich person would.

    And you know what? They really do have a great time with life! They’re constantly flying places (even now). About every two weeks they’re off to a new destination, and they totally get to follow their passions in life.

    The funny thing is, other than traveling as much as they do, their passions aren’t all that expensive. Practically anyone could engage in the same type of hobbies they do on a regular wage.

    It kind of makes you think. Maybe I don’t need that incredible level of wealth to have a really good time in life.

    1. That’s cool to hear. We’re absolutely having a great time in life right now and our annual expenses are less than $50k. Still, it’s interesting to think about what you would do with crazy amounts of money like Bezos or Musk have. Of course, mo’ money, mo problems! 😉

  8. I love the idea of not owning a lot of stuff. After you own a lot of stuff, your stuff tends to own you by the end of it.

    If I had all the money in the world (like Jeff Bezos level) I would totally use it to fight poverty and financial literacy. The widening gap of income inequality is awful. Things like improving healthcare, increasing literacy, etc. are important goals but they’ve never spoken to me as much as fighting the huge gap in income inequality.

    Watching a lot of Nas Daily videos helped me see the light. He goes to one of the poorest areas of the world. They shouldn’t be living like that. They should be given well paying jobs to contribute to society!

    But who knows? Maybe I’ll take a trip on that boat you mentioned for the rest of my life..?

    1. I like your goals, David – I’ll meet you on the ship and we can talk about about our game plan! 😂

  9. Well, I fell down the rabbit hole looking at that ship!
    What a fantastic concept. I’d do it for a year. After that, I’d miss my dogs too much. Oh! And the boys. A simple one bedder would suit me just fine.

    1. That ship’s pretty interesting, right? When money’s no object, why not? 🙂 I think a year might be good as well. I assume they have a helicopter pad on the ship to accommodate the ballers on board so you could probably have the boys flown in periodically or vice versa… fun daydream for sure.

  10. Very nice cruise pictures. Rich or financially independent are not the same thing. Rich don’t really need to worry about how they spend for the most part all though they may be frugal by choice. Financially independent just means your expenses are less than your income.

    1. Thanks, DP – we’re definitely enjoying our financial independence, but it’s still fun to think about what it would be like if we were rich! 🙂

  11. “Being out on the ocean with no land in sight is simply amazing.” Love this! I worked for a cruise line for 5 years in my 20s and couldn’t agree more.

    Also we definitely did have a few cruisers who “lived” on the ships I worked on. They were some unique characters.

    1. I’m sure that there were good and bad sides to working on a cruise ship for so long, but that sounds like kind of a cool gig to have in your 20s! And yeah, I could only imagine some of the “unique characters” who lived on the ship… I’m sure you’ve got some great stories to tell, Mel! 🙂

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