What Would You Buy with $1,000,000? The True Value of Money

What would you buy with $1,000,000?

There are so many products and services out there competing for our hard earned cash that it becomes hard to choose.

Let’s take a quick look at what you could buy for $1,000,000. You could buy:

  • 10,000,000 pieces of gum for all your chewing pleasure
  • 200,000 Big Macs at $5 each. Enough to feed a family of 4, 3 meals per day for 45 years.
  • 1 cheap yacht
  • 5 houses for $200,000 each in various locations around the globe
  • 1,000 acres of land at $1,000 per acre (Yes, there is land available at that rate. I used to live by it)
  • $1,000,000 worth of dividend stocks that pay out 4% per year for a total annual income of $40,000
  • $1,000,000 of total market index funds that grow on average 7% per year
  • Freedom

With $1,000,000 you can buy quite a lot of things for sure, but which presents the most value? The most bang for your buck?

You may have noticed that the order of the list was from least to most practical. Starting with 10,000,000 of gum, which is what a kid might decide to buy with $1,000,000 and going all the way to buying your freedom. We are no longer enslaved on plantations, however, the need to buy our freedom has not changed.

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What is Money?

Money was derived after the days of trading and bartering for goods declined. When it became apparent that not everybody needs what you have there comes the need for a new medium of exchange.

If you are a teacher, you can teach kids all kinds of knowledge, but what medium would you get paid within a trading economy? You might get some furs. If you are lucky, one of the student’s parents would be a farmer and you could trade your services for food for your family.

Money evolved to fix the problem of specialization. When an individual specializes in a certain career or skill, then they are not able or do not have the time to provide everything their family needs. In order to trade with other specialists, money and currency came about. It allows us to trade our teaching service for money and then go to the store and trade our money for food.

$100 bill

Money’s Value

Money has no intrinsic value. Just look at the $100 bill for example. That piece of paper is worth less than $0.13 but has a value of $100. Money is all based on the belief that it is worth something. Without the belief of a currency’s value, the world economy falls apart. You can watch the news for reports of hyperinflation from various countries. Japan is a fairly recent example of hyperinflation. This comes about when the citizens of that country no longer believe in the value of their currency.  The volatility of money also demonstrates that it has no intrinsic value.

These days money doesn’t even have the value of the paper it is written on. More often than not, money is digital only. We swipe our credit/debit cards to pay for goods, we may even use Apple Pay or similar apps. We do our banking online and watch digital numbers move up in down in our digital bank account. We transfer that money digitally to another vendor to pay for goods. All of these transactions are digital and are worth exactly $0. Nothing!

There are even digital only currencies developing that have no physical coin. Bitcoin and Etherum are popular examples and are truly worth nothing, despite the market saying they are worth $1000s.

So if money is really worth nothing, what is the true value of money?

We can buy so many things with money, but the one thing worth the most is not a thing at all. We can buy our freedom. We are not enslaved by plantation owners anymore, however, the enslavement that we feel from money is very real.

Money allows us to buy our freedom. That is the true value of money.

We are enslaved to our jobs because we need the money. Too many people go about every day hating their lives because we have to go to a job we hate so that we can make enough money to survive in the time we have outside of work. In order to make more money, we have to spend increasing amounts of time at work. With more and more time at work, we don’t even get a chance to enjoy the money that we have made. Just look at the alternate names for work:

  • The daily grind
  • The rat race
  • The battle of life
  • Your main hustle

All of these idioms imply that work is not desirable. Now, you may enjoy work and that is great! I am envious of you, but money can still buy you freedom.

Having enough money, having the amount to consider yourself financially independent, allows you to buy your freedom. Just ask yourself this question:

Would I rather have this whatchamacallit, or would I rather have the freedom to live my life how I want to?

If you would rather have the whatchamacallit, then you are welcome to it. But, if you want to leave your job forever, you can. That is the true value of money. The fruition of savings and frugality. Through aggressive savings and smart passive investing you can grow a nest egg large enough to never have to work again.

Freedom does not have to be leaving your work though. If you like what you do, if you have the drive for a higher purpose in life, freedom allows you to make the life change that will allow that to happen. Money can buy you the opportunity to switch up jobs, start a new business, or never work again. It is all up to you. You are no longer enslaved to a corporation, but free to pursue what you want, when you want, where you want. Money gives you the power of choice.

Preserve the choice to choose. ~Sean Aiken

Money allows you to preserve the choice to choose and finally and truly establish the choice to choose your path in life.

Conclusion

I have decided for myself that the true value of money, freedom, is worth pursuing. Living the atypical life, saving 70+% per month of my salary, and investing all of it will buy me freedom sooner rather than later. Money can buy a nearly infinite selection of things, but none worth as much as freedom. If you can buy an invaluable asset like freedom for $1,000,000 then what is stopping you? Everything else has a definite value attached to it.

Each of us needs to decide for ourselves what freedom is worth and go for it!

Are you working on buying your freedom? What is money truly worth to you? Let’s start the discussion.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. I love the line where you said money buys you opportunity. I couldn’t have said it better myself. The freedom to do what I want to do, when I want to do it is the driving force behind so many my financial decisions.

    1. Thanks Derek. It is the driving force behind my desire to leave work. Am I going to reach financial independence before quitting? Probably not. I will have enough to buy me the opportunity to live life to the fullest.

  2. I had a one million dollar windfall after I was already FI. I just put it in with my other investments. It did help me decide to pull the trigger on early retirement but in truth I already had enough for that. It is kind of funny because although it sounds like a lot of money it didn’t change a thing in my life. The irony of having learned to be responsible with money is that once you have enough and have learned to control your spending impulses then having excess money does not cause you to spend any more. I’m sure I’ll hand down everything I’ve saved plus a bunch of growth to my kids some day because my wife and I just don’t get pleasure from buying stuff. We get pleasure from enjoying experiences together and with our friends. Most of those are really inexpensive things to do.

    1. Very nice Steve. I was discussing with coworkers this week about how people can win the lottery and then go broke a year or 2 later. It just doesn’t seem reasonable to me. I too enjoy the frugal life, the simple life, the easy life. Enjoying experiences with the people you enjoy is what life is all about. Congrats on living the dream!

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