You’re so money and you don’t even know it
If your net worth is at least $3,650 — and this could be in cash, baseball cards, home minus mortgage, oxen, cars owned outright, celebrity hair clippings, whatever — congratulations: You are wealthier than half of the world, according to the 2014 Credit Suisse global wealth report.
(Another fail-safe way to know if you’re in that top 50 percent: Do you know how to pronounce “Suisse?” I think it’s “sweece” but for all I know it could be “su-is-say.” Or “suey-suh-say.” Who knows. Swedes. Norwegians? Swiss? Losing my thread here …)
But yes: A mere $3,650, and you’re looking down from the world stage at the have-nots. Now I don’t want to make too big a deal of it here, but based on this information, I’m loaded. I’m talking big bucks. Put me down for three oxen and some Kim Kardashian extensions.
I’m guessing you’re in the same boat. Just take a look around at whatever stuff you have, and put it on eBay. And just like that, you’re better off than half of the world’s population.
Of course, there’s two ways for us Americans to digest this wealth information. I’ll lay them out here:
“Wow. Am I lucky or what? Half the world — that’s 3 billion plus people! — don’t have $3,650 to their name. And really, as far as wealth goes, that’s nothing. I mean, if you have a new Sony PlayStation, you’re 10 percent of the way there. It’s a scary, sad world out there for a lot of people. Sure, we hear about poverty here in the United States, but apparently, that’s nothing compared to the worldwide numbers. It’s actually shocking to find this out, and I can assure you, tonight, when I lay my head down upon my pillow, I’m going to thank my lucky stars I have what I have. It could be so, so, so, so much worse.”
That’s option #1. Option #2 is a little more… well, true.
“Holy crap, $3,650? Yeah, I guess I’m rich, but what a joke. I’m dying over here trying to pay the mortgage each month. I’m also a little ticked off at the sushi place. I swear, those tuna rolls are getting smaller. I said something to Takumi about it — he’s the owner, we’re very good friends — and he tells me the rolls are the same size, but he changed the rice to a longergrain, and it makes it feel lighter. Different mouthfeel. Uhhhhhgh.
Anyway, I need to get to the mall today. Those jeans I got last month work with just about everything except my black shirt. You know, with the ivory buttons? Well, fake ivory, I hope. Hate to think an elephant paid with his tusks for my buttons. That’s just wrong. We need to save the elephants! But yeah. I need a darker indigo. Probably boots, too, now that I’m thinking about it. My wife loves me in that shirt.
Did I tell you we’re going to Vegas for a few days at the end of the month? Yeah, just a little getaway. Believe me, we deserve it. Work has been in-sane. Yeah, of course we’re flying. Sure, we’re worried about Ebola, so we bought a pair of respirators on Amazon. Full face, $285 shipped for the pair. Totally worth it.” So yeah… I’m definitely option #2 on this one. I want to be option #1, I try to be option #1, but I am not option #1. I’m option #2. Not that I’m complaining about sushi rolls, and I never had a shirt with real or fake ivory buttons, and no, I’m not going to Vegas (though yes, I am considering buying a quintet of MSA Safety Works 10041139 Full Face Multi Purpose Respirators), but really: I find tremendous ways to say bye-bye and see ya later to my meager (or not-meager, now I’m confused) salary.
I mean, the minivan is nice, but do we need it? The house is swell, but at 1,700 or so square feet, do we really need all that space? That yearly vacation sure does take a chunk of my cash and…
Ah screw it. Yes, I need the minivan, the house, the vacation.
What? Did you expect some kind of holier-than-thou thing here? Yeah, so did I. The first note I jotted down after reading the Credit Suisse report was “so I should probably stop complaining about money.” Not going to happen. While it’s crazy to consider how little money it takes to be in the top half of worldly wealth, to think I’m actually going to do something about it — you know, as in not spend what I have and crave more — is equally crazy.
Is this the right and proper and godly way to live? Of course not. But… you know. Whaddya gonna do.
So tonight, when I lay my head upon my pillow, I’ll probably be thinking of ways to make more money. Viva America, and I mean it. It’s good to be the king. Or at least the prince. Heck, I’m happy being a subject.
Jeff Edelstein can be reached at email@example.com, facebook.com/jeffreyedelstein and @ jeffedelstein on Twitter.