I posted this photo to my Facebook page and it got me thinking: Who is a millionaire?
A lot has been said about the 1% in America, and I think much of it is justified. All the same, we often forget that the American poor and middle class make up the world’s upper class.
So I was thinking: Who is a millionaire?
You see wealth in the developing world isn’t determined by how much money you have; it’s not based on how much you have in savings, bonds, businesses, etc. It’s rooted in how much you spend. Those living in extreme poverty don’t save a $1.23 a day… they live on less than a $1.23 a day.
So it got me thinking: What if we determined wealth in America by this same standard—not by what we have, but by what we spend or have access to? In other words, what if wealth wasn’t based on assets (what is attached to our name) but transactions (the money that comes in regardless of where it ends up)?
A simple Internet search told me that the average yearly salary in America in 2012 was $44,321.67. For the sake of argument, I’m willing to drop this number down to $30,000. If we use the developing world standard for determining wealth—if we think about how much money one has access to, not how much they are able to acquire—how long would it take someone who makes $30,000 before being a millionaire? Exactly 33.33 years. Does that mean it’s possible for most of us reach a place where we have transacted over a million dollars? Absolutely. It’s not only possible. It’s likely.
(And of course, if you make more than 30,000 a year, then it would take a lot less time. And this does not even include the millions American’s borrow every year.)
By the world’s standards, many of us will be millionaires—not figuratively, but literally.
Now consider the 21% of the world living on less than $1.23 a day (or 448.95/year). How long would it take them to reach a million dollars? Oh, just a meager 2227.42 years. Let that sink in.
You’re richer than you think. In fact, the real poverty of America is the feeling that we never have enough. Isn’t that the definition of gluttony: the never ending hunger for more? Trust me: we have enough. We have more than enough. Stop complaining and be thankful.
So my question I leave you with is this: How are you spending your millions?