Wednesday, November 30, 2011

$10 Million in Cash!

Wife Klem and I saw Fast Five recently, a fun movie starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. A high-culture ‘art house’ piece it’s not, but it’s fun occasionally enjoying a film for the visual pleasure in lieu of scintillating dialogue. Justification for the viewing aside, the film raised an interesting topic. How would $10,000,000 in cash change one’s life?

In the film, a crew of thieves in Brazil aim to steal $100 million in cash from a drug dealer mogul. If they succeed, each of the crew members would get $10 million. Initial thought is, ‘Oh yeah! $10,000,000 is a life changer!’ But after some thought, the fact that it’s all cash raises a few problems: [1] You can’t take it home to the United States because you can’t carry such massive amounts of cash across borders without raising unwanted questions, [2] You can’t keep it safe in the bank because you can’t simply bring a series of duffel bags stuffed with $10M in cash to the bank without raising unwanted questions, [3] and then there’s the theft and life-safety exposure that comes with possessing $10M in cash. Not only could the stash get stolen, but who knows what danger a person may be willing to cause in order to steal the $10M. So Wife Klem and I got to thinking, ‘How could $10 million in cash improve our lives?’

Despite the hurdles noted above I’d be delighted with the problem of having $10,000,000 to bog me down. For simplicity purposes I allowed myself the luxury of starting with the $10M already in my possession, no border crossing conundrum with which to contend. I don’t think, however, I’d be able to quit my day job because it’s questionable I’d be able to convert enough of the cash quickly enough to pay all the monthly bills. For example, consider the monthly mortgage. I guess I could go to the bank monthly with a bag of cash to pay the bill, but I’d prefer to avoid any such questions about the origin of the stash. You also can’t pay off the balance of the mortgage with the cash because of the same concern. Traditional bill paying is also problematic without the ability to write a check or make a electronic payment. In order to do that you must first be able to get the hefty load of cash into the bank. Other areas, however, would easily flourish if one found themselves flush with ill-gotten cash.

Retail purchases would become a snap! Groceries, clothes shopping, meals, gas, and entertainment suddenly all become cash purchases! How swell to buy merchandise with no trailing obligation for payment! I’d open additional bank accounts, possibly as many as eight to ten, and make weekly cash deposits. Not huge enough amounts to raise eyeballs, just enough to be of functional use that can slowly be ciphered, by means of electronic payment or check, into retirement accounts and stock market transactions. Donations would also be an easy outlet, unless the charity started asking uncomfortable questions about the source of the ‘bottomless bag of cash’.

Money laundering was raised as a possibility for consuming the cash. This degree of difficulty, however, seems like too much work. We could periodically bring a briefcase full of cash to a casino, convert it to chips, and later go back to cash out, but we’d still be bogged down with cash, it’d just become ‘scrubbed’ cash. Wife Klem had the astute idea of opening a Check-cashing business! Bring us your checks, we’ll hand over cash, and everyone’s happy. A legitimate business to convert the cash! Except, of course, at that point we’d actually be working instead of just enjoying the easy life. Sure, we could just hire employees, but we’d still have the hassle of being involved in the rat race. Not as good as simply being worth a cool $10,000,000 and be free to spend it at will, as opposed to being obligated to surreptitiously disseminating it with the burden of trying to remain anonymous. Giving off the appearance of being worth $10M would be a luxury we’d be unable to portray.

In conclusion, $10,000,000 in cash would come with some inconveniences, but I’d be happy to try to prevail and triumph. But, yes, I would feel compelled to keep my day job.