Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Perfect Amount

Forbes says there are a lot of billionaires out there in the world. 946 to be exact. Those are only the ones they could pin down. There might be a few others skating along the top edge of 9 digits who haven't yet stepped their billionaire game up.

Some of these billionaires are multi-billionaires. That is to say they got to 1 billion dollars in assets and were like, what the heck, let's get another billion together and then see if we can't improve on that. Let's see if we can keep up a state of infinite growth.

I'm sure that making money becomes addictive. Most companies exist to make yearly progress. There are very few commercial entities that tell their shareholders they're going to be taking the year off, standing pat and just enjoy the gains they've made to date. No matter how successful a company is, it can be more successful. So the billionaires profiting off these companies live their lives along similar principles and benefit off the march to infinite progress. It is the rare billionaire CEO or chairman who says, nah, go ahead and split my salary and stock with the employees. I'm good. I am saturated with money. We've been successful enough.

When we were playing the lottery last week, a co-worker asked me if I wanted to be rich. Was that a goal of mine?

I replied: "No way. I wouldn't like to be rich as an ultimate goal in and of itself but I wouldn't mind having the freedom to make movies whenever I want. I don't need a mansion," I said.

Then I added, "Just a nice, roomy house upstate. With a studio. Oh, and I would like to own an apartment in the city. In Brooklyn. Doesn't have to be Manhattan. I'd like a pool at my upstate house. And I'd like a nice car. Not a great car. But a solid, dependable, kind of cool car. Make it a hybrid."

It occurred to me that I had started to sound like I wanted to be rich. If I let my mind continue unchecked, I probably could have come up with more stuff that I didn't have to have but I certainly wouldn't mind (jacuzzi, garage in the city, personal trainer, spaceship, etc)

But shouldn't there be a perfect amount for everyone? A line that when you cross signifies you've got as much money as you'll ever need. Aren't most of these 946 billionaires just continuing to accumulate money because it's a habit of theirs? What does a person with 12 billion dollars gain by becoming the proud owner of 27 billion dollars?

I think there could be a service out there that establishes your perfect amount. It indexes your likelihood of having generations after you who need support, how much work you have done to date, how much work you'd like to be doing, your final goals in life and produces a REALISTIC but by no means modest perfect amount. This would be an amount that if you reach it in assets, you would be able to stop and just enjoy your total saturation. I'm not sure what happens then but I think somehow this would help.

Everyone's perfect amount would be different. And a lot of us will never reach our perfect amount. For instance, after doing no real hypothetical calculations, I believe my perfect amount is 4.2 million dollars. I will have achieved total satisfaction when I have 4.2 million dollars in the bank. Right now, I am several million dollars away from my perfect amount.

Anything beyond your perfect amount is just greed and starts to actually work against your happiness. I know those 946 billionaires all seem happy. But they are not.

If anyone would like to avoid this confusion and see their perfect amount tabulated, I and the machine I am going to invent in the future and then bring back to the past will be available for consultation shortly.

Update - To Bill Gates: Your perfect amount is 11.5 million dollars. Please isolate this amount and redistribute your remaining fortune to the rest of the world. You will more immediately achieve the sense of peace your unconscious mind is seeking.

4 Comments:

Anonymous dianne said...

Watch out, Cas - Bill might steal your idea should you hesitate creating/copyrighting it.

10:35 AM  
Blogger gabriella said...

Actually, you miscalculated your perfect amount - you forgot that you'd have to be supporting me!

3:14 PM  
Blogger Casimir said...

I didn't miscalculate, Gabriella.

Your perfect amount is only 20 dollars!

Beyond that, you just wouldn't be happy.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Sumoh said...

Along the same lines, from the Brazen Careerist blog:
http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2004/08/01/you-only-need-40000-to-be-happy/

7:00 AM  

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