Saturday, January 10, 2009

In order to Live Rich - Quality Trumps Quantity EVERY time

The other night I spent talking on the phone to a good friend. She lives quite a distance (over 1500 miles away), so aside from our yearly visits we connect a few nights a week via telephone. The conversations are almost always interesting and she's one of a small circle of really good friends that I've had for a very long time. The subject turns to a lawsuit that she's in the midst of currently. There is the POSSIBILITY that she could win a rather large AWARD (or nothing), it is something that she DESERVES because she was VERY seriously wronged (I'm not going into details, except to say that you wouldn't want this to happen to your daughter).

So, of course we eventually get to THAT part of the conversation. You know THAT part that you run through in your head when you walk away from the Service Center in the Grocery Store with a LOTTERY ticket, or after you've just clicked on the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes. The what would I do with a MILLION DOLLARS question.

She: So, if I get a million dollars & have to give my lawyer a third, I have over $650,000 left. Right?
Me: Right
She: After paying off my bills, what would I do?
Me: - she gave me no chance to answer -
She: I could spend that much in a WEEK!!
She: Well, after the facelift, boob job, butt lift, new car, house and the money to maintain the house....wait, I need a new computer and a camera. You know, I've never had any REALLY good jewelry either. Oh & after the butt lift and boob job, nothing's going to fit, so I need a wardrobe. I don't know WHERE I want to buy a house. I HATE IT HERE, there are no men.
Me: So move
She: OK, but I need to find a city where there are lots of eligible men. I guess I'll have to travel.......A LOT. That's it. Your other friend met a guy who was on vacation in Florida. I'll go on vacation and meet guys.
Me: Why can't you meet any guys where you are?
She: They're all stupid here. The don't want relationships.
Me: And you think it's going to be different somewhere else?
She: Yes, it's just here.
She: When I figure it out, I'll only have about $200,000 or less to pay the monthly bills. I won't get enough interest to pay the taxes, electricity, phone, etc. ONE MILLION isn't enough. What would you do?
Me: You've got me caught up in this frenzy now. I'd have my face done too. But, I like my car and I like where I live.
She: Well???
Me: I'd invest it and spend the interest. I think I'd spend it on experiences
She: WHAT?
Me: I'd spend it on experiences. I'd want the money to change my life. I want to meet people, experience different cultures, make friends, etc.
She: So, you'd TRAVEL?
Me: Yes and other things.
She: Where?
Me: Well, first I'd go to France (because I used to live there) and I miss it, and besides then I wouldn't need a facelift because the culture admires aging women. So, the heck with the facelift.
She: But, what would you BUY?
Me: I don't know, I'd buy what I need.
She: Oh
Me: I guess I don't need a million dollars, I do that now.
She: Yeah, you do. How come you get to do those things and I don't?

I thought about it over night. We're very different people and we see our world through different eyes. For her it's about QUANTITY - MORE will make me HAPPY (yet, she's never happy - because there's never enough). I like QUALITY.

QUALITY experiences, meeting people, making connections, seeing, eating, smelling new experiences. I can keep those things FOREVER - while her new car is in the REPAIR shop, I've still got my memories and relationships. QUALITY of LIFE TRUMPS Quantity EVERY time (for me at least).


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foamfan said...

I feel the same way, that quality is better. One problem that we all face, is how to be happy, whether our pockets are full or empty. I used to work with a person, who was always behind on could have handed her one or two million in cash...and she would have continued to wallow in misery.
There was a book at my library, in the finance section, entitled "What to Do with a Windfall." I did check it out once, just on the off-chance I ever did run into - or trip over - a windfall!
It advised investing, and all that good stuff.
I did have a small (nowhere near a million) inheritance a little over a year ago...and it went FAST.
We replaced a 15-year-old economy car, with a similar model, in order to commute to a job - and had a derelict garage torn down and rebuilt - to house the new car.
I was pleased with the outcome. But it was quite ironic - that the lady who willed the money - never learned to drive, or had to put up with those (endless) auto expenses!

Zipporah said...

Yes, I know so many people who think that money is going to make them happy. So, instead of persuing their dreams, they complain about how life has handed them a raw deal. They don't realize that they created that deal themselves, just by how they approach life.

They say that with bigger money comes bigger headaches, so it's all what you make of it.

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