“If I’m rich, I would ____”
Take a second to answer that before you continue reading. What’s your answer?
There is usually an answer. I mean, most of us have daydreamed about being rich. I have. You have. Even rich people dream of being even richer.
Because I have no life and spend pretty much all of my time on social media, I’m quite familiar with the types of answers to this question. It’s almost always a variation of:
- I would travel
- I would buy [big-ticket item, usually property]
- I would donate time and/or money to [X] charity or cause
- I would make my loved ones happy
- I would buy all the [hobby items]
Recently, I thought of what *I* want if I were rich. What is my desires, and how much they would actually cost me? Here’s my list.
#1 – Experience Burning Man
It’s so surreal that something like this exists at all, and I am curious enough to make the pilgrimage to check it out.
According to my research, the cost of Burning Man greatly depends. I’ll need to pay for:
- The tickets – $400+
- Travel from Malaysia – RM5000 return perhaps?
- Truck or RV rental – $1000-4000 (able to share with others)
- Enough food and water for 1 week – $500?
- Costumes – RM1000+
- Misc – $1000
Estimated cost: RM15,000-20,000. If any of you Malaysians reading this have made the trip, please comment how much you spent for Burning Man!
#2 – Plastic surgery in South Korea
This is my fantasy list, so no judgement. As happy as I am with my God-given features, something can always be better. I like feeling good about myself.
Plus, I’m also curious about the beauty, plastic surgery and medical tourism industry in South Korea. We all know that South Korea is leagues ahead of everyone else in these industries. I want to see how good is good.
I found an article which compiled the cost of plastic surgery as indicated by the Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare. The price of most, if not all types of procedures are listed there.
According to my research, the cost of plastic surgery in South Korea would cost me:
- The procedures – ranges from 800,000won to 24,000,000won (RM2,700 to RM83.6k), depending on which ones I want
- Flights – RM2000ish
- Food and Accommodation during recovery – RM3000 for the whole period?
- Misc – RM10k just to be safe
Estimated cost: RM10-15k ish for a minor procedure, up to RM100k all in for a major or multiple procedures
#3 – Own a Fruit orchard
For some reason, I really, really, really like the idea of owning a fruit orchard. Imagine a few hectares of fertile land full with fruit-bearing rambutans, mangosteens, mangoes, cikus, durians, cempedak and other Malaysian fruits.
There’s business potential here too. I could open a BnB service offering guests an all-the-fruits-you-can-eat deal (walk-ins are possible too). I could sell the excess fruits to suppliers.
According to my research, the cost of owning my own fruit orchard includes:
- The land itself – from mudah.my, I can see a few options under ‘dusun buah’, ranging from RM100k all the way up to RM1.5million depending on location, size and other factors
- Hired help – Around RM50k per annum to hire people to tend the orchard?
- Renovation – Doing ground works and making new infrastructure for personal or commercial use – RM1 million?
- Business operations cost – RM100k per year? For the trucks and stuff. Not sure
Estimated cost: Either way I have to have around RM1-1.5 million of capital to start before I can even consider pursuing this. Still don’t know what else I’d need to pay for
#4 – Fulfil all my travel fantasies
I’m lumping all my travel fantasies in one heading, because there’s a lot of them.
- 2 weeks Road trip in the United States
- 2 weeks Rail trip in Asia or Europe
- 2 weeks RV trip in New Zealand or Australia
- 2 weeks exploring all of China
- 2 weeks exploring all of India
- 1 month country-hopping all over Europe
- 1 month country-hopping all over South America
- 1 month country-hopping all over Africa
- 1 to 3 months’ stay in various cities around the world, including but not limited to: Berlin, Okinawa, Hawaii, Chiang Mai, a city in Sabah and Sarawak,
Estimated cost: To make things simple, I’m just going to allocate RM20k for each of them, regardless of location. I don’t know if its enough, but it should average out.
#5 – Buy a house and renovate it to my liking
Isn’t this pretty much everyone’s dream?
In fact, because this is a fantasy list, I’m going to say I want multiple houses in different locations, all of them renovated and fully customised to my liking!
- A beach house
- A house in the mountains
- A house near a lake
- A condominium overlooking the city skyline
Estimated cost: Is RM2-3million for each house enough? It’s not just the cost of the house, but also the cost of renovations and furniture and everything related to home ownership
#6 – Start my own intentional community
An intentional community is ‘A group of people who live together or share common facilities and who regularly associate with each other on the basis of explicit common values.’ It may include cohousing, ecovillages, cooperative houses, communes and other shared living arrangements.
The lifestyle aspect of it is highly appealing to me. It would be nice to be surrounded by people who share the same values as you. Imagine the quality of human connections. My go-to place for information and resources is the Foundation for Intentional Community website.
In Malaysia, if I want to be part of an intentional community, I’ll have to start one, because none exists yet, as far as I know. Well, there are commercial coliving solutions, but that’s not quite what I’m looking for, in the long term. There are also kampungs, which is the OG of community living, but maybe not that suitable for me too.
I guess the easiest way to start is to buy a big-ass bungalow with land and offer rooms to like-minded individuals. Each of us have responsibilities and contribute to the well-being of the small community.
Thinking out loud, I want to find people who can contribute in these ways:
- Farmers who can grow vegetables, rear chickens and bee-keeping
- Builder-engineers who can DIY and fix stuff
- Creative persons who can inject beauty in our lives
- Accounts person to make sure resources are well-utilised (I volunteer this role!)
- And more
Estimated cost: RM2 to 3mil or so for a decently big bungalow at a central-ish area in Klang Valley? Something big enough to accommodate a dozen people or so.
I’m both happy and sad that I made this list. It shows how I value human connections and experiences, but also shows how I still place value to outside appearances and grand, over the top living. Notably, it didn’t include things for others, like family or charity. It’s a selfish list.
And it’s telling that even now, even knowing that looking rich doesn’t necessarily mean a person is actually rich, I still hold the stereotypical ‘rich person’ image in my head.
You know what I mean. Full-on designer clothing. Big mansions. Garages full of expensive cars. Private planes and yachts. Travels to exotic places. Basically #richkidsof, TV3 dramas’ anak Datuks-type of rich.
It’s a really hard stereotype to shake off, because the media and society in general like to reinforce this worldview. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just saying it’s common.
I don’t know how long it’s going to take for me to tick off each of the items in this list. I don’t know if I even want to tick them off, even if I can afford them when the time comes.
For now, it’s enough that I’m fortunate enough to enjoy other things that make me feel like a million bucks:
- Being able to shop at the groceries store without worrying about the bill
- Having enough money to pay my rent, utilities, food and basic needs for the rest of the year
- Being able to afford replacing items that break down with higher-quality versions
- Being able to splurge on family bonding experiences maybe once a year
- Being able to donate a small but sizable amount to whoever I want, whenever I want to
- Being able to make small but regular trips throughout the year
I think, the biggest takeaway from writing this is a personal reminder that happiness and fulfilment don’t have to wait until I’m rich. I can still experience them now, with the modest income I’m making.
That said, this was still a fun list to make. I’ve never put a number to those experiences until now, and knowing the cost estimation is a fun (if useless) activity.
What do YOU want to buy when you’re rich? And have you made the cost estimation? Share with me in the comments section!