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Are you a millionaire? Really?
Old 08-21-2016, 06:28 PM   #1
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Are you a millionaire? Really?

I was intrigued to see that the word "millionaire" was first used in 1719 in French, used in English in a letter by Thomas Jefferson in 1786, and first used in print in 1826 (in a novel by Benjamin Disraeli).

Many of us bandy about the word while thinking of it in absolute terms, but actually I believe very few here are real millionaires in the original sense.

According to Wikipedia (and I don't think the calculations are far off), a million US dollars in 1900 is equivalent to $28,400,000 in 2015:
  • $24,766,584.77 using the consumer price index,
  • $21,224,697.05 using the GDP deflator,
  • $61,441,702.95 using gold[14]
  • $114,128,571.43 using the unskilled wage,
  • $162,813,054.25 using the nominal GDP per capita,
  • $641,531,874.47 using the relative share of GDP,

Similarly, the first actual US dollar billionaire was John D. Rockefeller in 1916. As of last year, there were 1,826 US dollar billionaires worldwide according to Forbes, with the largest number (536) of them in the USA.

Kind of makes you stop and think, doesn't it. Most of us are comfortable, and many of us are quite well off, but I think we clearly recognize that we're not in that class. How many helipads does your megayacht offer?
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:37 PM   #2
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Nope, not in that class for sure.

No yacht, no helipad, no helicopters. No maid, no butler, no driver either. No mansion, no gardeners, no wife, no children, just a dog.

I really suck.
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:41 PM   #3
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I haven't worked for the last 10 years and I'll never have to w*rk again. That's enough for me.
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:44 PM   #4
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I choose to look at through a different prism, $1m today would be equal to having about $35,000 dollars using the same rate of inflation in 1900. The average wage in 1900 was $449.80 annually. 4% of $35,000 is $1400.

$35,000 in 1900 in 1900 would not buy a seat at dinner with the Rockfeller's or Carnegy's but you wouldn't have been hurting.
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:45 PM   #5
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Would anyone trade being alive today with 1-2 million to go back and be a billionaire robber baron, but live in the 1900s-1930s and all their problems?

I wouldn't.


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Old 08-21-2016, 06:48 PM   #6
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Most people in the 1900's didn't live past 50, either. Not much of a glide path needed back then.....
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:48 PM   #7
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How many people in 1719, 1786, or 1826 could order a pizza on their cell phone and have it delivered within a few minutes?
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:48 PM   #8
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Are you kidding? The "roaring 20's"

That would be hella fun!
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:51 PM   #9
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Most people in the 1900's didn't live past 50, either. Not much of a glide path needed back then.....
Three of my four grandparents born in or before 1900 lived well into their 80s. The fourth made it to 60. They were probably hundredaires.
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:56 PM   #10
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Being rich is having choices.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:02 PM   #11
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Yeah, choices.

Weather I want my butler to "wash my dick" or not would be one of them.

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Old 08-21-2016, 07:03 PM   #12
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How many people in 1719, 1786, or 1826 could order a pizza on their cell phone and have it delivered within a few minutes?
I particularly like having a significant portion of human knowledge instantly searchable on readily available Internet. The vast majority of books downloadable to my IPad at reasonable prices.

I'll take being moderately affluent today over super-rich in the past, without a doubt.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:04 PM   #13
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The rich would simply tell the butler to inform the cook that a pizza was needed.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:05 PM   #14
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Taking it a step further, we would probably all be better off going into the future 100 years and being broke.


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Old 08-21-2016, 07:10 PM   #15
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Taking it a step further, we would probably all be better off going into the future 100 years and being broke.


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Are you saying poor is the new rich?
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:17 PM   #16
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Would anyone trade being alive today with 1-2 million to go back and be a billionaire robber baron, but live in the 1900s-1930s and all their problems? I wouldn't.
And, despite what little I have in my wallet today, compared to those old-time millionaires, having never enjoyed The Beatles? Nope! Me neither!
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:35 PM   #17
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There comes a point where one has more money than there is useful stuff to buy. Probably more so in Thomas Jefferson's time than now. So what would the person with the equivalent of 641 Million $ do with that money in TJ's time? He didn't even have running water.

I'll take my paltry nest egg and enjoy my indoor toilet and a few other of the creature comforts available now, over having more money than there was stuff to buy in 1700.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:36 PM   #18
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There comes a point where one has more money than there is useful stuff to buy. Probably more so in Thomas Jefferson's time than now. So what would the person with the equivalent of 641 Million $ do with that money in TJ's time? He didn't even have running water.

I'll take my paltry nest egg and enjoy my indoor toilet and a few other of the creature comforts available now, over having more money than there was stuff to buy in 1700.
Pretty sure he founded a University. So there's that.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:41 PM   #19
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Pretty sure he founded a University. So there's that.

yeah...OK...if that's your thing, I guess.

I probably won't be able to do that. But...I do have a bathroom of the master. So there's that.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:46 PM   #20
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How many people in 1719, 1786, or 1826 could order a pizza on their cell phone and have it delivered within a few minutes?
The very wealthy had a cook to make them whatever they wanted - they only had to ring a bell. OK it would take like Niger than a few minutes.

The rest - well - not a chance!
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