Saturday, December 26, 2009

If I had a million dollars

When I was still in elementary school, one of the most popular shows on television was a show titled “The Millionaire”, and it aired from January 19, 1955 to June 8, 1960.

The basic idea behind the show was that a mysterious benefactor (John Beresford Tipton) gave away $1,000,000 each week to beneficiaries that would never meet him, and the checks were always delivered by his faithful employee, Michael Anthony.

At the time, $1,000,000 seemed to be unimaginable wealth, but (sad to say) $1,000,000 isn’t what it used to be.

When I worked at CIGNA in the mid 1990’s. I was on track to retire at the age of 65 with $1,000,000 in the bank, and a house that was fully paid for.

And then ..

Life happened.

I no longer own a house, and I have a LOT less than $1,000,000 in the bank, but I’ve also had some life experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

If you’ve ever added up the income shown on the social security statements that you receive every year, you may be shocked at the amount of money that you’ve made so far in your life.

When I totaled my most recent statement, I discovered that I had earned slightly more than $1,250,000 so far during my working career, which (technically) would make me a millionaire. Naturally, the first question that came to mind after I did my tally was “where in the world did all that money go to?”

The brief answer is that all that money was consumed by a comfortable (but not extravagant) lifestyle that supported me and my immediate family..

Was it money well spent?

To a large degree, absolutely.

As I gradually inch closer to retirement, I’ve come to realize that true wealth isn’t measured by how much money that you have in the bank, but by the people that you’ve encountered on your journey through life.

By that measure, I’d have to say that I’m a pretty fortunate guy.

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