The Case For Being A Gazillionaire: Money Does Buy Happiness

by Benjamin Jenks on April 1st, 2011
2 CommentsComments

Money does buy happiness, my friend. You and I have been duped.

But I’m going to get to that in a minute. Read on, if you have always wanted to go diving into a Scrooge McDuck-like money pit and swim around in your undies, but never told your friends (or admitted it to yourself), because well… you care about helping people, doing good, and all that other ‘more important’ stuff.

The closest I've come to the Scrooge McDuck money pit is when I would spill my pennies on my bedroom floor as a kid and lay on them.

The Case For Being A Gazillionaire

1. What is a Gazillionaire?

Merriam-Webster defines it as an “immeasurably wealthy person.” But my man, Greg from went to the trouble of figuring out how large a gazillion actually is. ┬áHe compiled a list of extremely huge numbers, such as a quintillion which has 18 zeros, a Octillion has 27 zeros, Vigintillion has 63 zeros, and even a Googolplex which has 10,100 zeros! But a gazillion tops them all. According to Greg (who I found in my intense research for this post), the word gazillion comes from the latin word, Gazzen, which means “earthly edge” or the end of the earth. This is a distance all the way around the earth (or if you were an ancient Greek, then 28,810 miles). Therefore, times that by three and you will calculate that a gazillion has 86,430 zeros. This is a cool little fact that you can now entertain your friends with at dinner parties, but in the big scheme of things is meaningless.

So here’s, my definition for this word,

“A gazillionaire is someone who has as much money, love, and fun as they need to live in a way that makes them feel the most alive (and then just a pinch more).”

2. You Aren’t A Gazillionaire, If:

*You dread going to work every day.

*You are willing to compromise your values to make money.

*You think money is evil and so are those who earn a lot of it.

*You are stress and worry constantly about earning more money.

*You hoard your money and only give begrudgedly.

*You are settling for less than what you want in life out of convenience or fear or laziness or ___________(insert a popular excuse here).

3. Who Is A Gazillionaire?

Blake Mycoskie, founder of Tom’s Shoes

If you haven’t heard of Tom’s shoes, Blake started this company with the idea that for every pair of shoes that he sells, he will give another pair to a person who doesn’t have quality footwear. According to Tom’s website, they have given over a million new pairs of shoes away. Plus, Tom’s shoes is a for-profit business (which I support), which allows them to afford the best designers and keep the business going.

Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek and the 4-Hour Body

Tim started the ‘lifestyle design’ movement by describing how you can ‘hack’ your career, in order to make money, as you do what you love to do. He then applies the same philosophy to personal health. He makes a bunch of money, travels the world, has learned some fascinating skills (he is a tango world champion), and has also done some innovative charity work.

4. What I Need To Be A Gazillionaire (so you can think about what you need)

Aside from the basic essentials, we all want and need different things in life to make us feel alive. No one can tell you what you need, except you, and for me as I understand myself more, my list is always changing.

Here is what I need to make that money for:

A. Healthy, tasty food.

B. The ability to pick up and go anywhere I desire with little planning.

C. A crew of positive, alive, and inspirational individuals around me.

D. The ability to spend time learning something that interests me.

E. A place to rest my head.

F. Funky clothing.

G. A camera and video camera to record and create things.

H. The ability to fly back and visit my family for at least a couple months a year.

I. The ability to help other people live happier, more fulfilling, and alive lives.

J. I want to be able to give gifts that rule to ‘my people’.

H. And maybe some deodorant…

Money Does Buy Happiness

Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, recently studied old and new data on money and happiness. He summarized his findings in the New York Times’ Freakonomics Blog,

“1) Rich people are happier than poor people. 2) Rich countries are happier than poor countries. 3) As countries get richer, they tend to get happier.”

Debating and discussing this would be lengthy, so I am not going to… yet. But I am going to say that, it makes sense to me. The people, who do not have the money to meet their physical or emotional needs, seem to live unhappy, even angry, jealous, and unfulfilled lives.

Does money buy happiness?

Do you love money?

Or do you get sick to your stomach or angry when you talk/think/read about it?

Add your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Ps. Next, I’m going to rehash some memories and update my Best and Worsts from my Journey… so Far post (maybe you will make it?).


Categories: Personal Growth.


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  • Uncle Scrooge always told me to work smarter, not harder. Words to live by that’s echoed by many!

  • I don’t think it’s just money that does it, but I’m sure it helps.

    I’ve met plenty of wealthy people working in Miami who were only faking happiness, while some of the poorest Nicaraguans I’ve met on my travels seem to be genuinely happy.

    I can’t tell you what the secret is though… (yet)

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