What It’s Like to Be a Billionaire

By on

This post by Len Penzo comes from partner site LenPenzo.com.

Who doesn’t dream about being rich? I’m certainly not afraid to admit I occasionally wonder how it would feel to be independently wealthy.

The other day I was reading an article on the world’s 200 richest people and stumbled upon a couple of surprising factoids.

The first surprise was that the richest guy in the world is neither Bill Gates (#2) nor Warren Buffett (#4); it’s America Movil SAB Chairman Emeritus Carlos Slim, with a net worth of $77.5 billion.

Sandwiched between Gates and Buffett on the rich-guy list is somebody named Amancio Ortega. I know. I had never heard of him myself, but it turns out that Mr. Ortega is the founder of the world’s largest clothing retailer, Inditex SA. Ring a bell?

It didn’t for me.

By the way, did I mention that Inditex SA runs a very popular clothing chain known as Zara? They do. In fact, there are 1,600 of them worldwide. Even so, I’d never heard of that store either.

I guess I really should get out more.

Anyway, that brings me to the second surprise. Apparently, Mr. Ortega earned a whopping $18 billion through the first nine months of 2012. For those of you counting at home, that comes out to approximately $66 million per day.

Assuming Mr. Ortega earned income at the same rate for the remainder of the year, that means he will have earned $24 billion in 2012.

Ever wonder what it would feel like to be a billionaire? Well, I’m going to show you.

The U.S. median income last year was $51,413. That’s just 1/466,808 of Amancio Ortega’s income in 2012. With those figures in mind, and ignoring the effects of inflation, here’s a very close approximation of what most people would experience – give or take a few cents – if their modest wages had the same purchasing power:

  • The average home in the United States could be purchased for 42 cents, based upon the current median price of approximately $200,000.
  • Of course, folks who feel like moving on up could bite the bullet and buy a spacious $2 million home in Vail, Colo., instead for $4.28…
  • … or, for just $49.27, close a deal on the Malibu beachfront mansion that Leonardo DiCaprio recently placed on the market, based upon his asking price of $23 million.
  • A four-year stint at a private college would set you back 37 cents, assuming annual tuition and other expenses of $40,000.
  • If you wanted to avoid the hassle of flying with the general public, you could buy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for $428.44, based upon an approximate list price of $200 million.
  • Although, unless you already knew how to fly a commercial jet airliner, you’d also need an additional 53 cents per year to pay for a pilot, assuming an annual salary of approximately $250,000.
  • As for that pair of hockey tickets I purchased to attend the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, they would have only cost me a half-cent, based upon the $2,462.35 I actually paid for them. So I could have taken my family for a penny.
  • On the other hand, I could have also spent that same penny on two top-of-the line iMac computers …
  • … or 20 iPod Classics.
  • And really frugal folk could make that penny stretch even further by getting 100 iPod Shuffles instead.
  • Hungry? If you plan on buying anything from your typical fast-food dollar menu, you’d better be – a single penny would buy 4,762 items.
  • Meanwhile, those of you in the market for a luxury car could buy a 2013 BMW 750i – with a 445-horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood – for just 19 cents, based upon the manufacturer’s list price of $87,195.
  • Then again, for the more practical types, a 2013 Honda Civic coupe would only set you back 3.8 cents, based upon an MSRP of just more than $17,965. Heck, that deal is so good I’d give the salesman 4 cents and tell him to keep the change.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,234 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.