1000 Times Your Salary

It’s not the money that’s important, it’s the lifestyle that money can buy.

Brand You cover pageThis seemed like a fun thing to do, but actually made me realise that what I want in life really isn’t that unattainable.

If you’ve been reading my previous posts you’ll know that I’ve been working through the exercises in a book called ‘Brand You’ by John Purkiss and David Royston-Lee.

1000 times your salary is one of the exercises.

Imagine you have been left a sum of money equal to one thousand times your salary. What would you do with it? Before you get carried away there’s one proviso – there’s got to be hasn’t there? In this case though, the only catch is that you have to spend it all on yourself. Yes, all on yourself.

You get 4 minutes to plan what to spend it on.

As I started to jot ideas down, I realised that a lot of the stuff that jumps to mind when given this type of imaginary fortune to spend is not actually stuff I want. More than that, I actively don’t want it.

At first I thought it would be great to own a home in all of my favourite destinations. And a home in some of the destinations I’ve yet to go to, but am sure they would be added to my favourites given the opportunity.

But then I realised I wouldn’t really want this as I’d have a lot of homes that I’d feel I had to visit when actually I might prefer spending my time going to other places. Of course, I could go to other places, but then I’d feel I wasn’t getting any benefit from all my homes.

And my possessions would be spread all over the world – I could wake up in Sydney wanting to wear a favourite top and realise it was in my New York apartment … or wait, maybe I’d left it in London or was it Reykjavik?

And I’d feel like I’d have no base. As much as I like travelling, these days I also like having a base to come back to and call home.

And how would I ever keep track of all the keys?

By the time I’d scrubbed this off my list I was already two minutes into my time.

I ended up writing things like

  • Giving up my day job (I’d quite happily stop being an employee and spend my days doing things I enjoyed and wanted to do)
  • Getting a personal trainer (I’m far more likely to follow an exercise routine and attain my desired fitness level if I had someone to spur me on)
  • Hiring a cleaner and a gardener (I’d love to live in a spotless house and have a well-maintained garden, but hate giving up valuable living time to put in the hours necessary to achieve this)
  • Paying an editor to work on the book draft I have sitting on my computer (at the moment I don’t know if this would be a wise investment or a case of chucking money at a vanity project)
  • Diligently working through the challenges on my 60 before 60 list (right now I seem to have money or time, but never the two together – giving up full-time work and not having to worry about money would resolve that issue)
  • Studying things that interest me and maybe doing a PhD (I’ve had enough of studying whilst working full-time, but studying part-time whilst having the rest of my week free would be great)

This list was hard enough to come up with, but then came the second part of the exercise.

This time, in addition to the 1000 times your salary to spend on yourself, you are also given 1000 times your salary to spend on others. And this time the time limit is 3 minutes.

At first I thought about paying off friends’ mortgages and providing them with treats and making sure my family had everything they needed, but this would barely make a dent in the money. And I’d have to be careful not to cause a power imbalance in our relationships.

I could give money to charity, but chucking a million quid here and a million quid there could cause more problems than it solves. If I was going to take responsibility and ensure the right people got the right benefit I’d have to set up some kind of charitable foundation. How much effort and time would that take? I could feel the headache coming on even as I thought about it.

The third part of the exercise was to imagine I now had 1000 times my salary every year and I had infinite life. What would I do now time and money issues had been completely erased? The time limit for this task was just 2 minutes.

I quickly realised that I wouldn’t do anything very different to what I’d already decided in the first two tasks. The everlasting life bit would mean that I’d be able to study every single thing I wanted. I’d also be able live in every country long enough to really get to know it and then return decades later to check out the changes. I’d just have to decide on the order.

How great would it be to do whatever you want whenever you want and never have to worry about money or time?

However, the important thing to remember about being a millionaire isn’t having money for money’s sake, but about the lifestyle that money can buy.

So, could I bypass the millionaire bit, but still attain the ideal lifestyle?

The final task was about doing just this. I had to look at my lists and see what I could actually be doing now. Maybe not in the same way or to the same extent as I’d listed, but could I adapt the items on the list to my current circumstances or, even better, adapt my current circumstances so they are closer to my dream lifestyle?

Maybe I can find an online program or create a rewards system that will motivate me to attain my ideal fitness? And I could make my house and garden as low-maintenance as possible so I don’t have to spend so much time keeping them looking nice. I already took a big step towards giving up regular work when I left my permanent job to do agency work, now I just have to focus on developing other income streams so I can do less and less agency work.

Everything is possible if I change the way I think about it and look for solutions rather than excuses.

How would you spend 1000 times your salary?


Author: Anne

Join me in my journey to live a life less boring, one challenge at a time. Author of the forthcoming book 'Walking the Kungsleden: One Woman's Solo Wander Through the Swedish Arctic'.

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