Rare Saga

The unexplored saga story world.

What If I Won $500 Million?

Here is a draft of an urban story in English titled “What If I Won $500 Million?”:

There are differing opinions on whether $500 million is a lot of money or barely enough. But whether $500 million is sufficient really depends on one basic principle – what do you want to do with it?

If you want a standalone villa on the Second Ring Road, $500 million may not be enough. But if you want a climate-controlled apartment near the Second Ring with shared amenities like a library and swimming pool, albeit moderately maintained, then $500 million is plenty. For a standalone home with less privacy on the Fourth Ring Road, $500 million would just about cover it, aside from how you choose to renovate. And for a flat near Olympic Park between the Fourth and Fifth Ring Roads, $500 million is more than you’d ever need.

But if you say – I want it all! A standalone home for summer, an apartment to drink and socialize overlooking the capital’s skyline in winter, a Bentley with a driver, a convertible for joyrides, an artsy small car for sweater-clad, cigarette-toting flirting. And let’s skip high-speed rail – a private jet would be ideal. And a helicopter for when the ring roads are jammed! Then no matter how many $500 million prizes you win, it wouldn’t be enough.

Yet some achieve all this without winning the lottery. So it comes down to a second factor – how much did you start with? If you already lived in an apartment with a luxury car, $500 million gets you that remote standalone home easily. And if you had the standalone, downtown flat, and Bentley already, with a vintage sports car and artsy runabout in your garages, $500 million is a windfall.

So in the end, the debate on whether $500 million is a lot depends on your desired lifestyle and how many $500 million increments between you and it. Whether you have more than enough or not nearly enough boils down to those two factors.

I’ve avoided the notion of financial freedom entirely, because if you only feel comfortable quitting your job after attaining personal freedom or generational wealth, you’ve set the bar too high. In today’s world, financial freedom is largely an illusion, and dynastic wealth is downright delusional.

A century ago, Felix Faure amassed one million francs through various means in just three years, then pursued politics. At 5% interest, one million francs gave 50,000 francs in annual income. In France, this afforded a lavish bachelor lifestyle or upper middle class family life. Interestingly, per Balzac’s novels, this remained true over the next 50 years – France’s wealth standards saw negligible inflation despite a half century passing. Why? The gold standard. Paper and metal currencies were pegged to reserves. Wealth was finite, based on societal gold. Your inventions profited others. If society had X products/services and X gold, 1 gold = 1 product/service. In 50 years, products increased 10X but gold remained X. So if you held 1 gold, you gained as society’s wealth grew tenfold. Your gold bought 10X products and services through others’ labor. This allowed classes to enjoy arts and culture, served by the whole.

Today’s fiat currencies are only money because governments declare it so. Value fluctuates freely. New wealth should increase money supply. If products increase 10X, money may increase 9X or 11X. Your assets can now lose value despite societal growth. The rules changed. Wealth distribution changed. Financial freedom is largely an illusion now. Capitalism’s fairness comes through equal unfreedom versus history’s unequal freedom. So no matter how many $500 million increments you win, stay grounded. At best, wealth now buys personal freedom matched to your means. Educate any heirs in marketable skills – your wealth may evaporate by their adulthood. Wealth erosion rates vary – slower in aging, high-tax societies with low growth versus fast-changing, ambitious cultures.

Transferring wealth to slowly eroding societies works if you plan to retire in seclusion immediately. If you accept some risk to invest and profit from growth, choose dynamic, infrastructure-rich, ethically unconstrained countries instead – where population and wealth grow fastest. But opportunities to profit without labor are disappearing too. In secular cultures, idle investors get fleeced like the dead. You may have had enough good karma to relax on a yacht with models, but instead watch spreadsheets in an office to protect your assets, eroding your fortune.

Ultimately, enjoy what you have. Don’t envy others. Find your bliss and live it fully. That’s how to make the most of your fortune in today’s world. No one leaves generational wealth anymore. Find your happiness and you’ve succeeded.