Wednesday, April 2, 2014
I recently finished the latest book by Laurie R. King: The Bones of Paris. There was mention of a popular park, the Bois de Boulogne. It reminded me of a song, which was popular when I was a child, which went something like this: He walks along the Bois de Boulogne with an independent air you can hear the crowds declare he must be a millionaire! He's the man that broke the bank at Monte Carlo I also remember that when I was at a farewell gathering of business friends before leaving for the United States in the fall of 1957, someone suggested jokingly that they would expect to hear from me when I had earned my first million dollars! By comparison with my earnings in the UK, my remuneration for my first job ($375 a month) seemed generous- and this was despite having achieved a rare distinction at the Royal Insurance company of having my salary doubled a few years earlier. In those days, American millionaires were probably mostly- if not all- in the top 1% of earners. Times change, and nowadays one has to become a billionaire to be considered really rich! Originally, one was considered a millionaire if ones total assets, including one's equity in a residence, totaled a million dollars. If we continued to use that yardstick, a significant proportion of Americans who own their own homes would qualify. I think it is time to limit the term to the fortunate folk who have an annual income of one million dollars. I certainly would not qualify under that definition!