My family was not wealthy growing up, though we were comfortable. My father and mother worked hard to make sure that we had what we needed. And it did not occur to me that we might not have much until I had a friend whose family was more wealthy.
As a result, I grew up with plain tastes.
My wife, on the other hand, grew up with a father who has more refined tastes, and thanks to his work, as well as budgeting and work by her mother, they were able to experience more of the good things in life.
As a result, my wife has more refined tastes.
The work and budgeting my wife's mother did was to scrimp and save to make sure that they had money through hard times, and she could do this because she is careful with money.
Unfortunately, my wife not only inherited her father's tastes, she inherited her mother's attitude toward money. Thus, she loves finer things but hates spending the money for them. She will constantly war with herself over spending the money for nice things. She will also buy something and then beat herself up emotionally for doing so. It's kinda “cute” (in the amorphic terrible sense that women use that word), but I do try to help her not beat herself up.
Plus, she doesn't spend a lot of money either.
This means that our tastes are as different as possible, especially on food. She likes good restaurants, fine food, and a lot of variety. I like something that I call “peasant food,” and I am notoriously picky.
I call the food that I like “peasant food” not because it's bad, but as a way to explain to people that I like plain food. It's also a way of disparaging my tastes because I know that my wife's tastes are more refined.
So I am picky, and she's a foodie. In fact, I am so picky that one idea I had for Enverge was a show we would call “Foodie and Picky,” a restaurant/food review show.
If enough people show interest in watching that show, we might produce it. Honestly, it would give us a good excuse to eat at restaurants more and give my wife the perfect excuse to not beat herself up about wanting to eat out.
Now, I have had entrepreneurial ideas since before I met my wife. When we got married, she actually wanted to keep the job she had and encouraged me to pursue some of my ideas. I did, but the particular idea I pursued was not a good idea, and I eventually switched to creating a project that would get me hired.
But now that I have a job, I am finding myself with a bit of extra time to work on my pet project, Yao, and the longer I have been married, the more I want to give myself a life where she does not have to beat herself up about money at all. And I have better ideas.
So I am pursuing one or two of those ideas as a way to guide the development of Yao. And that has made me start thinking about wealth and what I might do with it.
Now, honest self-made millionaires and billionaires may protest that, unlike power, which comes from the people, they have made their money by themselves; they should be allowed to spend it however they want, in whatever luxury they want.
And that is true, to an extent. But it is not entirely true.
Note that wealth still comes from the people; if you are wealthy, the people have voted for you with their wallets.
You see, just tying up money and not spending it is one way of making yourself an economic parasite because in that case, you are hoarding money and not letting the wider economy use it and raise everyone's wealth.
So wealth is a responsibility to share it, to make others wealthier too.
That said, just because you are wealthy does not mean that you cannot enjoy some luxury; in fact, enjoying luxury correctly is a good way of fulfilling the responsibility of wealth.
For example, say you like the luxury of owning a private jet.
I certainly would like to own a private jet, simply because:
- It would mean I could avoid the TSA.
- It would give my wife and me the opportunity to travel more freely, just as a car affords its owner more freedom.
Now, I would bet that most private jet owners use the same pilots for years on end. From most perspectives, that's a good thing, especially as the pilots accrue hours.
However, there is a more responsible way.
A lot of young pilots graduate with debt since becoming a pilot is costly. They also struggle to make ends meet in jobs with regional airlines because of the debt. If you are wealthy, you could help.
Hire a more experienced pilot that is already rated to fly the jet you own. Then hire a new graduate from pilot training. In exchange for paying off his debt and for paying for his training on the jet you own, hire him for a year contract on a livable salary. Once he is done with the year, pay off his debt so that he can get a job in the regional airlines and still make ends meet. At that point, hire another new graduate and do the same thing.
In this way, you can enjoy your luxury responsibly; you would be continually helping people get more wealth while you are still living in the luxury you want while still retaining an experienced pilot that you trust.
And this can be extended to other things, like the aircraft mechanics, your personal chef, the crew of your yacht, and anyone else whose job it is to help you live in luxury.
For me personally, if I were to gain wealth, this is what I would do. This is what I will do.