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What it's like to be a billionaire

For the world's wealthiest people, buying an average US home would be like spending 42 cents.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 4, 2013 3:38PM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


Len Penzo dot Com logoWho doesn't dream about being rich? I'm certainly not afraid to admit I occasionally wonder how it would feel to be independently wealthy.


Luxury tavel © Mark Evans, the Agency Collection, Getty ImagesThe other day I was reading an article on the world's 200 richest people and stumbled upon a few surprising factoids.


The first surprise was that the richest guy in the world is neither Bill Gates (No. 2) nor Warren Buffett (No. 4). It's America Movil SAB chairman emeritus Carlos Slim, with a net worth of $77.5 billion.


Sandwiched between Gates and Buffett on the rich-guy list is someone named Amancio Ortega. I had never heard of him myself, but it turns out that Ortega is the founder of the world's largest clothing retailer, Inditex SA. Ring a bell?


It didn't for me.


By the way, did I mention that Inditex SA runs a very popular clothing chain known as Zara? There are 1,600 Zara locations worldwide. Even so, I'd never heard of that store either.


I guess I really should get out more.


Anyway, that brings me to the second surprise. Apparently, Ortega earned a whopping $18 billion through the first nine months of 2012. For those of you counting at home, that comes out to approximately $66 million per day.


Assuming he earned income at the same rate for the remainder of the year, that means a total of $24 billion in 2012.


Ever wonder what it would feel like to be a billionaire? Well, I'm going to show you.

The U.S. median income last year was $51,413. That's just 1/466,808 of Amancio Ortega's income in 2012. With those figures in mind, and ignoring the effects of inflation, here's a very close approximation of what most people would experience -- give or take a few cents -- if their modest wages had the same purchasing power:

  • The average home in the United States could be purchased for 42 cents, based upon the current median price of about $200,000.
  • Of course, folks who feel like moving up could bite the bullet and buy a spacious $2 million home in Vail, Colo., for $4.28.
  • Or, for just $49.27, close a deal on the Malibu beachfront mansion that Leonardo DiCaprio recently placed on the market, based upon his asking price of $23 million.
  • A four-year stint at a private college would set you back 37 cents, assuming annual tuition and other expenses of $40,000. Just remember, when tuition increased -- and you know it will -- you'd have to shell out a few cents more, but I'm sure you could handle that.
  • If you wanted to avoid the hassle of flying with the general public, you could buy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for $428.44, based upon an approximate list price of $200 million.
  • Unless you already know how to fly a commercial jet airliner, you'd also need an additional 53 cents per year to pay for a pilot, assuming an annual salary of $250,000.
  • As for that pair of hockey tickets I purchased to attend the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, they would have only cost me a half-cent, based upon the $2,462.35 I actually paid for them. So I could have taken my whole family for a penny.
  • On the other hand, I could have also spent that same penny on two top-of-the line iMac computers.
  • Or 20 iPod Classics.
  • And really frugal folks could make that penny stretch even further by getting 100 iPod Shuffles instead.
  • Hungry? If you plan on buying anything from your typical fast-food dollar menu, you better be. A single penny would buy 4,762 items.
  • Meanwhile, those of you in the market for a fancy luxury car could buy a 2013 BMW 750i -- with a 445-horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood -- for just 19 cents, based upon the manufacturer's list price of $87,195.
  • Then again, for the more practical types, a 2013 Honda Civic coupe would only set you back 3.8 cents, based upon an MSRP of just over $17,965. Heck, that deal is so good I'd give the salesman 4 cents and tell him to keep the change.

More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:

Jan 7, 2013 7:42PM
helps show just how loop sided we are now.  the 1%'er sure have it, and don't spend it. 
Jan 7, 2013 7:21PM
Each sunrise is worth half a million and each sunset another half a million. I get out there and enjoy what really matters, a billionaire cannot enjoy life more than I can.
Jan 7, 2013 5:28PM
So what are the best things I can do with all this money? I buy 10 Malibu beachfront mansions, a few islands, several private jets, then what do I do with the rest?  Start a college and a foundation!?  I have some thinking to do.  Also not to be pernicious, but I now have to find out who loves me for me.  Spending money and enjoying it takes time and effort.  - Just raising some questions here, nothing wrong with being a billionaire, the more the better. Just use it wisely otherwise it's a burden like anything else when you have too much of it.
Jan 7, 2013 3:48PM
So the man that works in a sewage treatment plant is a loser?   Fine you go work there and see how long you last.    As I mentioned before, I have done both,  I made some bucks and I held hard working jobs.   Hard working jobs never made anyone rich.   However, never should you be so cynical to think that the men and women doing those hard jobs are any less than you.   You are totally dependent upon them to work in that sewage treatment plant, work in that underground coal mine, the crab fishing boat in Alaska, that highrise you live in NYC and much more.   Because of all the dirty hard work these people do for you, you are living the good life in that million dollar mansion and smoking those expensive cigars.   As long as you realize and respect them and what they do for you, they will allow you to live the good life.   You throw them into the ditch and spit on them it is over and you will end up like the royalty in France.
Jan 7, 2013 11:13AM

Fair is the guy who works hard and SMART, and gets ahead. I'm sorry but the guy working in a sewage plant shoveling potty most likely screwed around in school, had no discipline, no accountability and then ends up with a crappy job and thinks he works as hard as some guy who spent 24 years in school, skipped the partying, read and studied 18 hours a day, started out working smart and succeeded. You are a fool if you believe that Zuckerburg and Gates didn't work for months and years, sleeping under their desks, never taking a vacation, foregoing fun in order to get where they were.


I was there at the birth of the micro computer industry and we all worked 20 hour days including weekends. I can remember fainting into my soup and almost drowning from sheer exhaustion. Make yourselves feel better by believing that they just got lucky, but I have found the harder and smarter I work the luckier I get. And most of you who got rich off of your stock from Microsoft would be a lot poorer if there weren't those of us who sacrificed so much so that you could have jobs.


I am sick and tired of being demonized for my success and the thousands of jobs I have created. I am 61 and ready to retire. When the baby boomers retire, remembering that 90% of all new jobs in the last 30 years have been created by small business, you are all screwed if you don't get your head out of your asses and remember who butters your bread. It sure as hell isn't the government.  

There have always been Lords and Ladies , but noways they just  use Corporate law instead of common law.
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 
 Eccl 9
Jan 5, 2013 2:01AM
In the average time it Bill Gates takes a dump, he's earns about $ 500,000
Jan 4, 2013 8:47PM
welcome to the united states of monopoly, where everyone gets to play, only for one to end up with all the money and everyone else goes broke, end of game.
Jan 4, 2013 8:32PM
I knew these wealthy people didn't live in the real world but didn't realize how unreal it was...42 cents, unbelievable.
Jan 4, 2013 8:03PM
This is dumb they want us to want to take the rich peoples money because its not fair that for them a car cost 3 cents. Who is the french actor who is moving to Russia because the french are going to tax more of the wealth of the rich? That is where this nation is heading class war fair hate the rich destroy the economy so that more of the middle class become poor and have to rely on government handouts. This election proved how stupid 50% of this nation is. News flash you will never have what you could have if you rely on the government. They could and in europe are taxing everyone at a huge percentage and all they have done is create more poor.   
"What it's like to be a billionaire"

In simple terms, ........ If you were born a billionaire, you could spend 1 million every month till you were 83.33 years old without taking any interest into account, in a word, comfortable.
Jan 4, 2013 7:05PM
I'll take you to alaska and show you hard work boy!
get your facts straight before posting.
i find this a very interesting article regardless. i work my tail off on the ocean and wisely invest.
nothing wrong with using your back or brain to be rich as long as it's earned.

Jan 4, 2013 7:01PM
well lets see.. 99.9999% of the working class in the world wont be rich.. so why do we care
Jan 4, 2013 6:58PM
#1 how is this news, #2 why does msn care about celeberties and entertinament its not news related, #3 i could give a crap about being rich, i could also be the most hated people in the world. so if he made 66 million in one day.....that means hour-wise.. he made more money in 2 hours then ill make in a lifetime.. thats not fair....who agrees?
Jan 4, 2013 6:05PM
Of course all the conservatives would try to convince you how hard all these people worked.   For most, their hardest day was breaking a nail and having to go to the manicurist.   Hard work is using a number 5 shovel in a coal mine, setting a choker cable,  working on a high rise, setting claim stakes in Idaho, working in a sewage treatment plant, being a hand on a cattle ranch, being a professional diver and pushing turds around with your nose.  These jobs are hardwork.   I have made a few bucks in my life and it came because things just came together and not being stupid.   You are able to get a hold of a some money, don't be dumb and do what's right to hold on to most of it.    Then maybe you can be in this list and tell everyone how hard you worked in life.
Jan 4, 2013 5:54PM
Now if I could just get a Billionaire to give me some spare change - say a couple of bucks? Heck I'll settle for 50 cents...
Jan 4, 2013 5:42PM

I can't believe someone was actually paid to write this article.


Anyway the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoff tickets will cost each of you $0.00

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