Research consistently shows that spending money on experiences makes people happier than spending on things.
Fabrice Grinda could be considered proof of that.
The New York Times profiles Grinda, a French tech entrepreneur who cofounded tech companies including a mobile phone ringtone and game maker and a global classified website similar to Craigslist. His net worth is about $US100 million.
Until 2012, he lived a life of luxury. His most noteworthy possessions, as listed by the Times, included:
- a 20-acre estate in Bedford, New York
- a butler whose services cost him $US50,000 a year
- a $US300,000 McLaren sports car
- a $US13,000-a-month Manhattan pied-à-terre near Madison Square Park in New York City
The now 40-year-old sold and donated it all, having a “midlife crisis — in reverse.”
“When I looked back at the things that mattered the most to me,” he told the Times, “they were experiences, friendships and family — none of which I had invested much in, partly because I was too busy, and partly because I felt anchored by my possessions.”
With a single suitcase full of only 50 items, he set off to visit friends and family around the world, eschewing a home base for time with his loved ones.
However, unlike many people who sell their belongings to travel the world and experience life with less, he still spent lavishly. Eventually, he found it most convenient to bring his loved ones to him, and holds twice-yearly house parties in the Dominican Republic (he became a resident for the tax benefits) where he foots the bill for 50 or more people at a time.
They cost him about $US25,000 each.
After a few nomadic years, Grinda has decided to buy a two-bedroom place in New York City’s Lower East Side, which he’ll occupy when he’s in town and rent when he isn’t.
Overall, Grinda says that his experiment in living with less helped him rekindle the relationships that were most important to him, but admits that the reality of selling everything to live out of a suitcase without a home base is different than he initially expected it would be.
“The philosophy is interesting,” he told the Times. “But how do you put it into practice? How do you make it real?”