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What Does It Mean to Be Rich?

When you’re a kid, you don’t have much concept of what true wealth is—so you tend to relate it to experiences, or at least I did.

In my case, I understood wealth in the context of fast-food restaurants. I used to eat at my favorite restaurants, McDonald’s and Burger King, as often as I could.

I’d never do this now, of course. Maybe it was my generation or social class or just the brilliant marketing of soulless corporations, but for whatever reason I was hooked on fast food.

At some point I remember thinking: One day I want to have enough money that I can eat at McDonald’s any time I want.

Isn’t that funny? But I really thought that. I wanted to be able to eat what I want, when I wanted, without worrying about the money. And for me at the time (fortunately it changed), that meant McDonald’s.


I’m writing from the W Hong Kong, where I just arrived after beginning my latest Round-the-World trip. The W here has one of the best hotel breakfast buffets in all of Asia, which for all practical purposes means all of the world.

My breakfast is comped, thanks to my elite status with Starwood. As best I can tell, it costs approximately 10x what a meal at McDonald’s would. But if it wasn’t comped, I’d gladly pay. It’s so good! And I’m having so much fun waking up early, drinking unlimited macchiatos, and thinking about the world.

The lesson? Well, I’m jet-lagged, so you might have to wade through the muddle. But aside from not eating fast food, I think the lesson is to figure out what makes you feel rich—and it’s best if such a thing is somewhat obtainable.

I still think of wealth as it relates to food and experiences.

I don’t want to buy a boat. I don’t need a stable of horses. I want to live free of debt. I want to be generous, because generous people have more to give. And I want to appreciate what I have.

How about you—what makes you feel rich?