Fool.com: I'm Rich [Fribble] May 25, 2000

Fribble I'm Rich

By Missmacs
May 25, 2000

Today I was showing my friend Michael how to track his portfolio on the Fool website, and teaching him a little about the benefits of buy-and-hold investing. We looked at my portfolio in the process, which pretty much consists of the Intel stock my hubby and I bought through his job, and which we have always been afraid to sell, so that our split-adjusted average cost basis is about $12 a share.

Michael said, "Wow! You're rich!"

Now, I live in a house that is 100 years old and looks it. In fact, the floors in my kitchen are made of particle board underlayment, because my LBYM (living below your means) husband and I can't find the time to install the tile we bought. In many places, you can see right through the cracks to the outside, where we haven't yet gotten around to insulation and drywall. We don't worry about getting robbed because no one in his right mind would think there's anything here to steal. No kidding. Really.

So the "You're rich!" comment caught me a little off guard, and it reminded me of a conversation I once had with my (also LBYM) Dad when I was a little girl of about nine years old. It was a cool spring day, and we were working the family vegetable patch.

"Someday I'm going to be rich," said little me, "and I won't have to weed any more!"

"So you think you're going to be a millionaire, do you?" asked Dad.

The whole millionaire thing hadn't occurred to me, so I thought about what would be really important about being rich. I finally said, "I don't know if I'm going to be a millionaire, but I'm going to be rich enough to turn the heat on as high as I want it, and I'm never going to get up in the morning to a cold house."

For some reason my father found this hysterically funny, and had to lean on his hoe while he laughed. I remembered this today, and it caused something of an epiphany.

Cut to the present, and my life:

I live in a drafty old house, but I not only get to turn the heat up as high as I like, but I have a heated blanket on my bed, and nobody ever complains about the electric bill. I have three children who are so beautiful it hurts your heart to look at them, and they are healthy, happy, intelligent people in their own right.

And as if that weren't enough, I have a passionate love who has laid his head on the pillow beside mine for the last 13 years.

If that isn't rich, I don't know what is.