One superpower I wish I had

Bill and Melinda Gates sent out the 2016 Annual Letter: “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?”  Their answers are: more time, more energy, and to be able to fly.  That’s more than one wish.  Even billionaires don’t know how to count 1, 2 and 3 (just kidding).  That’s why I don’t want to be a billionaire.

I thought about it for a long time:  what is the superpower I wish I had?  Today, I like to share it with you.

Just give you a heads up about who I am.  I’m 52 years old, retired not too early (at the age of 49).  My previous profession was IT engineering (focusing on systems, applications, and networks).  If you know those words, that’s great.  If not, that’s totally fine.  I don’t remember them either.  They were flushed out of my system on the day I retired.

The superpower is Money.

Yes, I wish I had more money.

How much? 

I’m not that greedy.  $10 million would be great.  That’s pretty much what I need to take care of myself and my loved ones.

$30 million would be better.  The maximum is $50 million.  Don’t give me more, please.  I don’t want to be a billionaire, believe me.  The related hassles outweigh the benefits.  At least, that’s how I feel.

Why money?

People keep saying that, money can’t buy happiness.  I agree, kind of.  That’s what rich people tell you.  Yeah, those people like Bill Gates, of course, don’t need more money.

But, it’s nice to have it, right?  With money, your basic needs are met.  You can have a place to live, a vehicle to drive, nutritious food to eat, and means to help your family.  With money, the level of stress goes down.  Who likes stress?

In my case, as an early retiree, I would not have to worry about health insurance.  Yes!  What a huge relief!  The property tax hikes and inflation won’t affect me that much as today.

I would be able to help my loved ones, if they are financially stuck some day.  I hope that, they will take care of themselves, and that day would never come.  But it’s nice if I had a bigger cushion to weather the ups and downs of my life, and show my love in dollars if really needed to.

Would $10 million change my life a lot?

The answer is no.  My life wouldn’t change much.  I’d live in the same house, and drive the same car.  What matters to me the most is the gained protection, the financial security.

Mr. Tako Escapes asked the $10 million dollar question in his blog.  From the readers’ response, you’ll see what a wonderful and diversified world.

I would keep using my cute purse, which is 23 years old.  It has accompanied me for so long, rain or shine.  The more I used it, the more I fell in love with it.

I would wear the same clothes and shoes.  Some clothes are over 20 years old.  Why throw them away while they are still in good shape?  Don’t you see the landfill places are already full?  I’ll use them till there are holes.  I never donated anything to Goodwill.  Why?  My clothes and shoes are too worn out, and nobody would want it.

I do have decent clothes and accessories, and can dress up nicely whenever needed.  The name brand doesn’t mean much to me.  I don’t need to spend money just to impress others, or to keep up with the Joneses.  Life is too short for that.

I would keep using the same cell phone.  It was purchased in 2015, after my 8-year-old LG flip phone died.  Still miss my old phone.  Hey, Warren Buffett is still using the Samsung flip phone.  I don’t feel too far behind.  My $30 cell phone is a smart phone at least, and has 1.5GB storage space.

I would still shovel the snow on my driveway.  The winter in central Ohio is not too bad.  It only snows once a while.  It’s a good exercise, and gives me the chance to enjoy the snow.  Sometimes snow scenery reminds me of the beautiful movie “Doctor Zhivago”.

Do you remember the snow stories in Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”?  Scout freaked out when seeing the first snow (in Alabama) in her life time, and thought the world was ending.  And the lovely snowman built by Scout (the follower) and Jem (the leader) …

The only change of my life might be:  I would travel a little bit more.  Probably live in a more comfortable hotel, and eat a bit better and healthier.

Still flying in economy class?  Absolutely.  Even for the 14-hour non-stop flight.  There would be no exceptions.  I flew business class once.  That was a business trip to Hong Kong.  I didn’t like it.  Why?  I felt so cold in the business section.  Not just the cabin temperature, but also the people around me.  Plus, it takes the same number of hours to get there, no matter it’s first class, business, or economy.

I’m so used to the hustle and bustle in the economy class section.  Babies are smiling and crying, and people are chatting and laughing.  That’s what life should be.  It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

Do I feel ashamed or embarrassed about my “shabby” (in some people’s eyes) lifestyle?  No, not at all.  I’m so proud of myself.  That’s not shabby.  It’s called simple lifestyle, and is part of who I am.

One of the beauties living in US is that, most of the people just mind their own business.  A book is not judged by its cover, most of the time here.

Having the superpower would be sweet.  That’s why I keep spending $1 each week on the lottery ticket.  But, I always remind myself how lucky I am.  I grew up in a poor village in China, went to a college in Beijing at the age of 15, and came to US in mid 1990s on my own.  I have more than enough good food every day.  I’m healthy, and happy.  My life is truly blessed.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?  Why?

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8 Responses

  1. NZ Muse says:

    Haha, look, I’d do the same thing. I’d take the money, absolutely (I had a rant about this topic a while ago: What would currently have the biggest impact on my life? Dollars, thank you very much. I’m blessed and am happy with my life in all aspects, really the only thing that would make a difference is cash – to bulk up my retirement savings, to do the house projects on the list, to fund parental leave should we get pregnant.

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      NZ Muse,
      I’ll definitely check your post. I’m so glad to hear that, you have a blessed and happy life. Yes, money can help us to do a lot of good things, and make our lives even better. I wish you the best.
      – Helen

  2. GYM says:

    Thanks for sharing the video about Warren Buffett! I’m surprised he doesn’t have an iPhone yet given he likes to buy what he invests in! He drinks so much Coca Cola in one day 🙂

    That is a very cute purse by the way!

    I think another superpower that many people take for granted until it is taken away is health- like the book “When Breath Becomes Air” that you recommend 🙂

    Money can’t buy health and health is so important to be able to have quality of life and spend time with your loved ones.

    • Retire Early Helen says:


      I’m surprised, too, that Warren Buffett is still using the flip phone. I really admire his low-key lifestyle. He has been living in his current house for 60 years. Eats McDonald, ice cream, and drinks Coca Cola daily.

      Thanks, yeah, I like that old purse. I agree, health is very important. We all shouldn’t take it for granted. People and health should come first, then is money, not the other way around.

  3. Caroline says:

    Assuming I am in the same financial situation as I am now, I would want to be able to bring loved ones back! Maybe I can even make money doing it! haha
    The additional financial security would be nice but I find money at the end always seems to create more problems.

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Yes, money could cause problems. It is a double-edged sword. The loved ones are more important for sure. Just like Suze Orman says: “People First, Then Money, Then Things.”. I agree with her.

  4. If I could have one superpower it would be to fly like Superman! How cool would that be? I could travel quickly most places and would have a perspective like no other. It would not only be fun, but profitable as well! How much could I charge for a flying show? A lot I bet. 🙂

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      It sounds fantastic flying like Superman. So you won’t have to go through the hassles at the airport. That’s really freedom. I never thought it could be a business opportunity as well. Thanks for sharing your thought.
      – Helen

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