When I was 22, I had the unique experience of being able to live like a billionaire.  In order to protect the names of those involved, I’d rather not go into the details of how I came upon so much money, but let’s just say, suddenly I had a very rich step father figure.

This man was enormously rich.  He owned sports teams, and Fortune 500 companies.  He had a multi-million dollar mansion, and a private jet.  He was the richest man I’ve ever met, and suddenly, I was like his step son.

I think everyone should live the experience of being fabulously rich.  At least for a year.  It gives you a great perspective on the world.  For one thing, I could travel.  I visited more countries that year, than in my entire life.

But another reason everyone should experience it is because for the rest of your life, you will always know what you are missing out on.  When you are back to being poor (as I am today), you will know exactly how poor you are, compared to how rich you could be.  For the rest of your life, every piece of steak you eat can be compared against a billionaire’s steak, and you will know exactly what the difference is.  And it’s a very important difference to remember.  Because the difference is – not that much, really.

As far as steak goes, it was good.  But given the choice between my mom’s home cooked steak, and a steak served in a fancy restaurant, I’ll go with my mom’s steak every time.  Both taste very good, are cooked to perfection, with just the right amount of seasoning.  But I don’t care how much the steak costs because my mom cooks the best steak in the world.

The same goes with almost everything else.  In the mansion, we had a home theatre system with a projector.  In my little studio apartment, I have a little projector that I use to project onto my barren white wall.  The picture quality is so good, I barely even notice the difference between what I have, and what we had in the mansion.

In the mansion, we had a big swimming pool.  At my apartment complex, we have a big swimming pool.  Usually, there’s no one in the pool, and I don’t even have to worry about cleaning it!

In the mansion, we had our own personal gym.  In my apartment, I have my own personal pair of gym shorts, which I use to go running.

In the mansion, we had a giant kitchen.  It was like something out of a magazine.  It had beautiful lighting, and an island in the middle made of marble counter top, a space age looking microwave, and a luxurious dish washer.

Of course, my little apartment has its own kitchen, with a microwave, and a dish washer.  Sure it isn’t as nice as the million dollar kitchen, but I’ve got all the pots and pans I need, and I can cook everything I need to.

As far as furniture goes, how much furniture does one really need?  The mansion was filled with beds and couches.  Just a whole museum of beds and couches.  Sometimes a table here or there.  Sometimes a chair.  A lamp.  What else is there to buy really, but beds and couches?  I remember walking through the mansion filled with beds, couches, tables, and chairs, and just thinking, what’s the big deal?  When we were poor, we had beds, couches, tables, and chairs too.  Sure, we didn’t have as many of them, but how many do you need?

My billionaire step father (as we’ll call him), had an Audi.  It was one of the most luxurious cars at the time.  It had a car phone, and a gps, and a sensor that beeped when you backed up.  It was a technological wonder.

But my clunky old 1986 Mercedes Benz is a technological wonder too.  I bought it for only $600, and it goes and goes and goes.  The pinnacle of 1986 German engineering, with wood paneling, and a new safety device (at the time) called an “air bag”.  That car has gotten me from A to B, all the way to Z, and back, and sometimes, I even go faster than the Audis on the road.

Unfortunately, my years as a billionaire have come to an end, and now I am back to being poor again.  But that’s not really so bad.  I’m just as happy as I was when I was rich.  In fact, probably happier.

Yet, there is one thing that the billionaire has that I don’t have.  The enormous power to give.  I only wish I could give the amount of money to poor people that the billionaire did.  First of all, he provided thousands of people with jobs.  Secondly, he gave millions of dollars away every year, to charity.  He helped people all over the world, from Guatemala to the Philippines.  He would take special trips to make sure he knew the money was going to the right projects, and to the right people.  The people who really needed the help most of all.

This billionaire gave because he was a human being, and he felt for his fellow man.  He was poor once too, so he knows exactly what it’s like to not have enough to eat.  He had so much compassion that he knew that keeping his money to himself was more helpful than giving it all away.  Because if he gave it all away, there would be no more money left to give.  But if he kept some for himself, then he could continue to invest it with people, so many more of us could afford to buy our own beds, and chairs, and couches.