Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Billionaire next door

Every day, more and more people enter the ranks of "well to do", wealthy folks who have lots of disposable income. According to my research, one is 200 Americans is now a millionaire!

But what is "rich" really? Do we count the values of assets only, or is cash liquidity the measure of a billionaire?

I was watching TV the other night and heard the name of one of my old classmates from Highland High School in Albuquerque.

Normally this happens when one of my classmates has been charged with a serious felony, but I was surprised to hear that my old classmate Gavin Maloof (Highland High class of 1974) is now a billionaire, and he owns the Palms casino in Las Vegas.

Congrats Gavin!

I asked Jen3 to dig out our 1974 Highland High School yearbook pictures, and we were both quite stylish and handsome in our long quaffs:

Don Burleson High school photo

Gavin Maloof High School Photo

Gavin was a always the class clown, and I see that he still has a great sense of humor. At his Palms casico Gavin offers-up a $6,000 dinner at the Hardees inside the Palms, and the meal consists of a greasy cheeseburger served with a bottle of rare 24 year-old French wine (fries are extra).

Gavin's billionairehood got me to thinking about the dilution of the status of being a "millionaire", and why, in 2007, you must be a billionaire to be considered truly wealthy.

As John P. Getty once said, "A billion dollars is not what it used to be" . . .

Jeez, you practically need to be a millionaire today to afford a nice home! In Raleigh NC, there are new subdivisons coming up with home prices starting at "only $750,000".

Do you have billboards like this in your home town, advertizing homes with obscene prices?

For more details on changing wealth in America, you might enjoy my research on the future of millionairehood.