”Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” – Epictetus
This past week, I took some time to visit Monte-Carlo, Monaco. I have fantasized about Monaco since I was a young kid. I have always had an admiration for the beauty that encompassed this country on the French Riviera. What I truly loved was how much wealth filled this small country. This drove my desire to visit the nation at some point in my life. Never did I expect to visit Monaco before I even turned 24. But I did!
Entering Monaco from my stay in Nice, France with my partner, you can’t help but just feel the relaxation and calm that surrounds you. There are teens walking around having fun, groups of mothers with strollers and babies walking about, and tons of exotic cars zipping by. Once you take one of the various street elevators down a few levels, you will notice where you really are. The ginormous yachts and boats that line up the two or three docks will take your breath away. You will see the smallest boats that look like they were put together with rotten wooden planks and nails, to a $25M mega-yacht that I personally saw which is currently owned by Russian retail billionaire Sergey Galitskiy. As a matter of fact, his yacht took up an entire side of the dock!
Those who are aware of Monaco know that residents do not pay capital gains taxes, property tax, and corporate tax. This country is considered a tax haven for these reasons. But to live there won’t come cheap. To give you some perspective, to buy a parking spot at the Atlantis will run you €310 000. If you have €1M sitting around, you can get yourself a 301 sq. foot studio. Worth it? Depends on your purpose for being in Monaco. Also, many in royalty and the extremely rich either live, have a property, or visit Monaco often. One of the reasons, besides the obvious opulence, is the fact that paparazzi are as unwelcome as any disease. One thing I noticed is that some of the extremely rich folk walk around comfortably and without fear of anything or anyone. There are a lot of patrol officers that walk around calmly all over. It is fairly safe.
Going to the Metropole Shopping Monte-Carlo, you will be greeted with a beautiful golden chandelier hanging from floors up, beautiful and luxury shops from Billionaire to Versace, and restaurants and desirable desserts. But it was when I was on my way back to Nice that I had an epiphany. Looking at all the luxury in my presence made me realize that I actually in fact do not desire it to an extent anymore.
It’s not that I don’t still want to own a decent yacht or have limited edition watches and cars and all that fun stuff, but it won’t matter to me if I don’t end up getting them. What is more exciting to me is having enough to be able to do so but choosing not to purchase them all. I did a calculation of my current expenses and future expenses to determine how much I really needed to make a month to live the live that I would be satisfied with, excluding my overall net worth. I won’t share my number, but you should determine what your number really is. Once you have a number, you can work towards having the right investments in place to achieve it in a given time. Having millions of dollars should never be a goal or a place of success, you will never be satisfied. As you make more money, you will naturally be surrounded by people who are making the same amount as you or more. This will most likely make you want to make more money. Your net worth is truly just a way to keep score of your achievements. The real success is seeing where you came from to where you are now. So consider how much you would truly need to make monthly to be as happy and free as you possibly could be. It may not be as crazy a number as you think.
And yes, I will still be purchasing a yacht. It just won’t define my happiness!
Until next time,
Live Long and Prosperous.
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