You Are Already a Multimillionaire

 

“There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich” – Marlene Dietrich

hood emblem

(Photo: Loco Steve)

I woke up in a cheap Motel 6 hotel room somewhere off the interstate in East Florida. I had been on the road now for over a month, traveling in an old Acura that I bought off my roommate for $1500 bucks. I had been out of work for months now with very little money in my pocket so I resorted to sleeping in my car or in cheap hotel rooms seeing how little I could live on each day. I spent my days sightseeing, hiking, seeing the country and trying to find myself. For the first time in my life I was completely free, accountable to nobody, and I was as happy as I had ever been.

The reason for me being in Florida was because it was now the middle of winter and Florida was one of the few places where it was warm enough that I could sleep in my car most nights without freezing to death. I’d been reading a book I picked up at a used book shop for a dollar called Victorian Florida and became fascinated by the life of Henry Flagler. Flagler built the railroad line into Florida along with a number of luxurious hotels over a century ago where millionaires would come from up north each winter to vacation. If you were rich and you were anybody you were in Florida staying in one of the grand hotels built by Flagler. Many of the hotels still stood and I was determined to visit them all. I took a tour the Casa Monica Hotel in St Augustine, explored the Old Ponce De Leon, now part of Flagler College, had a drink at Breakers in Palm Beach and toured the Flagler Museum. I tried to imagine what it must have been like all those years ago being a multimillionaire and arriving in your own private railcar at one of the majestic hotels.

One day while talking to one of the tour guides I learned what it was really like to be one of those multimillionaires staying at one of the Flagler grand hotels a century ago. The tour guide explained that many hotels just barely had hot running water and it was unreliable. The water in the room smelled like rotten eggs because of sulfur and air conditioning and refrigeration has not been invented yet. I realized something amazing that day, even as I was living like a vagabond staying in a cheap motel room. The quality of my life was better than that of multimillionaires 100 years ago. I had reliable hot running water in my room, I had a fridge, the water did not smell and I had a working air conditioner. All the luxuries that the rich did not have all those years ago I had for less than $30 bucks. I realized that being in that motel room; I had it better than the richest of the rich a century ago.

I then decided to look at other parts of my life to see how it compared. What would I do if I was a multimillionaire living all those years ago? Well, if I was living in the roaring 20s or early 30s I would probably buy a Duesenberg. It was the fastest and fanciest car and all the millionaires and celebrities from Rudolph Valentino to Clark Gable had them. The Duesenberg could do 0 to 60MPH in under 12 seconds at a time when most cars could barely do 60, and it could go over 100 MPH. Back then, a new Duesenberg would set you back over $200,000 in today’s money. At the time I was driving an old Acura with 110,000 miles on it. So I decided to see how my piece of crap jalopy compared to the mighty Duesenberg, the car of the super rich. Here’s the breakdown:

 

1930 Duesenberg 

1992 Acura Integra

 

 Duesenberg

(Photo: Jack Snell)

integra

(Photo: GB_Packards)

0 to 60 time

11.6 seconds

7.6 seconds

Top speed

126 mph

134 mph

Price New

(In Today’s Dollars)

Over $200,000

Under $30,000 (I paid $1500)

I realized that the car I had was faster and better performing than anything the super rich could have purchased all those years ago. I had what the gilded age multimillionaires could not even imagine having.

I then started to see other parts in my life where I was living better than the super rich did all those years ago. How many millionaires in the past died from health issues that now can be cured with a $5 dollar pill? How much better is our technology, our medicine and our transportation? From that time on, even when I felt poor, I started seeing myself as a millionaire. I just wasn’t a millionaire from the current age. I saw myself as millionaire who had a higher quality of life than any oil baron 100 years ago. All I needed to do was just go forward in time. I have made a lot of money since then, but I have never forgot that big realization.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I could give you is to never, ever label yourself as “Poor”. Being poor is a meaningless phrase. You are only richER or poorER than someone else, you are never poor. If you are struggling with barely any money to your name you should still see yourself as a millionaire, because you are. If you are living in a developed country, no matter how poor you are, the things you posses and have access to multimillionaires at the turn of the century could only dream of having. Your quality of life would make the richest of the rich from a century ago jealous beyond belief. As you become wealthy, realize that those considered poor 50 or 60 years from now will most likely have a quality of life that is even better than yours.

There is no such thing as being rich or poor, it’s all depends on who you compare yourself to. So compare yourself to the millionaires of old and see your life as being richer than theirs, because you have what they could never afford. So if rich and poor are all relative words then why not use a word that empowers you instead of one that makes you feel defeated? You are already a multimillionaire, so start believing it.

Michael Page

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Comments

  1. Really interesting insight – I almost never post comments but this echoed (in a better written way) some vague but similar thoughts I had about wealth and post-scarcity.

    PS – I type this on my extremely average laptop, which was bought for about £300 ($500) three years ago and which might as well be magic compared to either the UK or the US in the 1920s.

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