Levels of Wealth: Millions vs Billions


Wealth by itself doesn’t seem worth it to me. Wealth as a way to get freedom seems incredibly worth it.

Stacking wealth feels great because what you’re really doing is stacking future opportunity—for you, your children, and anyone else you want to bless. Each level gives you access to a new level of freedom.

Do you want f*ck you money? depending on your personality, f* you money depends on:

  • How resilient you are
  • Who you need to say f*ck you to

Homeless people, on one hand, are the ultimate in not caring. But they’re ironically the most dependent of anyone since they are completely relying on other people for their daily survival.

Mark cuban, on the other hand, made the greatest statement of f* you money of all time.

Seriously, take one minute and go watch it.

Then, we’ll look at what each level of wealth gives you.

No Wealth Until You’re Making More Than You Spend

Because of my family culture, this was never a problem for me. But I recognize for a lot of people this is a big deal. As one university professor I know would say “if you make $9 and spend 10, you’re poor. If you make $10 and spend 9, you’re rich.”

This is essentially what Dave Ramsey is for. If you lack the basics, you need a very basic education.

Once you’re done being basic, you’re ready to start getting rich.

6 Figures in Cash

This number (and all subsequent) is more about net worth than income or salary. I also specify cash (or other liquidity) because if you can’t spend it, it’s not useful. No one has “arrived” at six figures. It’s wealth, but it’s the far from the finish line.

Not to mention I know people who make multiple six figures who still feel like they don’t have any savings. Making six figures is great, but keeping it is better.

Having $100,000 or more gives you runway enough to “pursue your dream” whatever that is. Depending on where you live (or if you go a third world country to triple your runway), you have time enough to make a dent and see if your work really has wind under it.

$1 Million

The classic number. It’s what makes you feel rich.

The origin of this number as a sign of wealth was from the “robber barons” from back in the day. A million then spent more like a billion, especially when $1000/year was a good salary.

Comparatively, the men back then were wealthier then our billionaires now. Nevertheless, it’s still great when you get to see two commas in your account. 

$1.8 Million (Enough to Live off Dividends)

This is a personal number for me. You need your own number too.

This is a meaningful number for me because at this level, I can make $100,000/year passively from a conservative 6% return on my net worth. 

It would feel amazing to get 100 grand passively. Huge W.

This to me is the beginning of retirement-level money for most people. Some take their whole lives to get here.

If you genuinely do want to be rich, don’t let it take that long. You will lose the only thing you can’t get back: your time.

$10 Million, The Beginning of Easy Wealth

This is when (I imagine) you start to feel like an actual mini-mogul. You’re probably going to start having meaningful diversification (AKA a million in at least a couple different projects). 

If you’re running a tech company or other startup that’s taking off, you’re probably heavily in equity in your own company, and 99% of your net worth is still tied up in the business. 

That’s good. That’s also the exception.

For most other people, they have other liquidity options, maybe have sold a business or have real estate income on a few properties, or could at least borrow against their assets (insert bezos link) for any liquidity.

$50 Million, $100 Million…$1 Billion?

Beyond this, I don’t have the mental capacity to understand. I don’t imagine 100 million feels that different than a billion. At 100 million, you don’t have anyone tell you “no” (other than government officials, unless you know how to grease them (link to corruption post and police post)).

Crazy Wealth

I’ll include an anonymous user’s account of what it’s like being a billionaire vis-à-vis the wealth, courtesy of Reddit:

For some reason, I attract these people into my life. I don’t do anything super extraordinary. I am not famous. But I count many people with ultra high net wealth among my close friends and I have spent more time than even I can believe with 8 different billionaires. This is not just meet-and-greet time. This is small group and even one-to-one time. I dated the daughter of one billionaire several decades ago. So I have gotten a peek into this life.

Let’s get one thing out of the way. There are gradations of rich. I see four major breaking points:

Worth $10mm-$30mm liquid (exclusive of value of primary residence). At this level, your needs are met. You can live very comfortably at a 4-star/5-star level. You can book a $2000 suite for a special occassion. You can fly first class internationally (sometimes). You have a very nice house, you can afford any healthcare you need, no emergency financial situation can destroy your life. But you are not “rich” in the way that money doesn’t matter…

Net worth of $30mm-$100mm

At this point, you start playing with the big boys. You can fly private (though you normally charter a flight or own a jet fractionally through Net Jets or the like), You stay at 5 star hotels, you have multiple residences, you vacation in prime time (you rent a ski-in, ski-out villa in Aspen for Christmas week or go to Monaco for the grand Prix, or Cannes for the Film Festival–for what its worth, rent on these places can run $5k-20k+ per NIGHT.), you run or have a controlling interest in a big company, you socialize with Congressmen, Senators and community leaders…


I know its a wide range, but life doesn’t change much when you go from being worth $200mm-$900mm. At this point, you have a private jet, multiple residences with staff, elite cars at each residence, ownership or significant control over a business/entity that most of the public has heard of, if its your thing, you can socialize with movie stars/politicians/rock stars/corporate elite/aristocracy. You might not get invite to every party, but you can go pretty much everywhere you want. You definitely have ‘people’ and staff. The world is full of ‘yes men’. Your ability to buy things becomes an art…

$1 Billion

I am going to exclude the $10b+ crowd, because they live a head-of-state life. But at $1b, life changes. You can buy anything. ANYTHING. In broad terms, this is what you can buy:

Access. You now can just ask your staff to contact anyone and you will get a call back. I have seen this first hand and it is mind-blowing the level of access and respect $1 billion+ gets you….

Read the full comment (1770 words) on Reddit

Odds are if you’re reading this, you’re not in this ultra-rich category.

If you are, reach out to me. I want to learn from you.

I include this comment anyway (1) because it’s fun, and (2) so you know that no matter how rich you are, there is always someone richer. Therefore don’t make being “the wealthiest” your goal. Only one person at a time can win that game.

Make freedom your goal. Truly, we can all win that.

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