From time to time you hear mention of John Key’s personal fortune of $50M. If you say fiftymilliondollars quickly enough it doesn’t sound that much, especially in the context of politics where most budgets come in factors of millions anyway. But as a personal fortune, that amount of money needs some context to really appreciate just how much it is. As John’s a man of the people, in touch with the struggles and needs of everyday Kiwis, I got to wondering what sort of everyday costs that sort of cash would buy you.
With $50M John could buy 125 average kiwi homes at $400k a piece. That means John could buy enough houses that if he visited a different one of his homes every week, it’d take him nearly two and a half years before he would have seen all the houses he owned.
Being an everyday kind of bloke, let’s assume John has simple tastes in cars and would go for the trusty Toyota Corolla. With $50M John could buy himself 1190 Corollas at $42,000 each. That means if he used a different one of his cars every single day of his life starting from today, it would be July 2013 before he’d tried them all.
If a typical Kiwi family of four watches its pennies, as we’re supposed to do, and spends $250 per week on groceries, John’s $50M means he could buy a week’s groceries for 200,000 families. Or he could buy all the groceries for an entire year for 3846 families.
I’m struggling to buy a new washing machine at the moment, if you look around you can get one for about $600. For $50M John could buy a little over 83 thousand washing machines. So even if John had some kind of germ phobia that compelled him to wash his shirt, pants, socks and undies all in separate machines, he could use a different washing machine for each of those garments every day for the next 57 years.
Savings really make sense when you’ve got $50M. The simple interest on that much money at a meagre 5% would be $2.5 million per annum. Of course John isn’t silly with his own money so he’d get more than 5% and the interest would be compounded so let’s round it up to a conservative $3 million per annum. That means John’s little nest egg would be earning him $8,219 in interest every day, or $342 for every hour of every day and night.
Let’s say the average income is $50,000 per annum. Just the interest John makes on his personal fortune is equivalent to the entire year’s gross earnings of 60 average Kiwis. Of course the principle of $50M is equivalent to an entire year’s gross earnings of another thousand average Kiwis.
You know those â€˜Dollar a Day’ ads that ask for people to donate $30 a month to help save the life of a child? Well at that rate and with $50M, John could provide the money to keep 2,739 of those kids alive for 50 years each.
I could go on, but yeah… sure is a lot of money for one ordinary everyday Kiwi to have all to themselves. Makes me wonder if John could even begin to comprehend what it feels like to worry about the power bill. Somehow I get the feeling that when your personal fortune is making you more than $8,000 a day just in interest, you might be pretty relaxed about a global recession and soaring unemployment.