To be a millionaire today isn't quite what it was a few decades ago, when a million dollars was 'real money'. The US dollar has, according to the US government's own figures, lost 95% of its buying power over the last century.
In 1970, at the age of 77, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about how as a boy his mother had asked him to “[g]o to the meat shop and get a dime’s worth of round steak. And tell the butcher to put in plenty of suet.” A “dime’s worth” meant each person in his family received a modest-sized piece of meat, plus plenty of gravy for the potatoes.
In times past, the dollar certainly stretched further. Mr. Armstrong quoted the Labor Department’s figures for how much $5 would have purchased in 1913: 15 pounds of potatoes, 10 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of sugar, 5 pounds of chuck roast, 3 pounds of round steak, 3 pounds of rice, 2 pounds each of cheese and bacon, and a pound each of butter and coffee; that money would also get you two loaves of bread, 4 quarts of milk and a dozen eggs. “This would leave you with 2 cents for candy,” he wrote.
There's more at the link.
Nevertheless, $1 million is still a useful chunk of change. CNBC has put together a pictorial presentation of what it can buy you. Their list includes, among other alternatives:
- Currently, the average monthly rent on a New York City apartment is $3,472, meaning that it would take a full 22 years to dedicate the amount of $1 million to rent.
- Just as renting an apartment in New York City isn’t cheap, neither is buying one. A 1,000 square foot apartment with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms can easily sell for over $1 million. Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Arizona the same money is good for a home with five times the square footage, plus three more bathrooms and four more bedrooms.
- No matter what city is chosen as the place to drop anchor, the house one buys there won’t do much good without beds to sleep in. With that in mind, the person anxious to quickly spend $1 million can do so by investing in 16 Hästens Vividus beds, which retail for $64,950 each.
- ... take 40 friends to Serendipity 3 in New York City and get each one of them the restaurant’s intentionally-misspelled "Frrrozen Haute Chocolate" sundae, which is priced at $25,000.
Again, more at the link.
So, dear readers, how would you spend a million dollars if the Money Fairy left it under your pillow tonight? Please let us know in Comments.