A Conversation of Downsizing with Elizabeth

Downsizing, downsizing downsizing…

“We should downsize, too,” we began a conversation with Elizabeth. “We spend too much money. Our lives are too complicated. We have too many things…too many places…too much to keep track of.”

“Yes, you’re right…we need to simplify.”

“Maybe we should get rid of this apartment in Paris. We’ve moving to London anyway.”

“Oh no…I love this apartment. And it’s where we live when we’re in the city. And when we move, I’ll rent it out. “

“Well, maybe we could get rid of the country house.”

“Oh no…we couldn’t get rid of that…that’s our home. It’s where we have all our things…and where we spend Christmas…and it’s where we have our friends…and where your aunt is buried….

“…besides, where else would I keep my horses?”

“Well, maybe you should get rid of your horses? They’re very expensive…especially that one you keep in Paris…”

“Don’t be silly. I like riding. Downsizing is one thing, but you don’t downsize yourself out of the things you really like to do. What would be the point? You downsize so you can focus on the things that really matter to you…so you can get the clutter out of the way. And riding really matters to me…”

“Well, maybe we could at least get rid of the gardener and the cleaning lady at the country house…we’re almost never there.”

“We can’t do that…who’d take care of the horses? And the cleaning lady only comes for an hour or two…just to check on things…

“…but it sounds like you only want to downsize the things I care about…why don’t you downsize that ranch in Argentina. It takes days to get there…and every time we go you get hurt or something awful happens…”

“But I like the ranch…and it may turn out to be a good investment. At least it pays for itself.”

“You say that, but you end up investing more money every year…in new reservoirs…in the house…in planting more grapevines…

“Now there’s a place you can cut back. Why go into the wine business? You know you don’t know anything about it…you’ll end up spending a fortune and get nothing for it. Last year, they even forgot to pick the grapes…but what do you expect? You’ve got cowboys tending your vines…”

“Hold on…it’s just an experiment…not a serious investment…I’d just like to get a few bottles out of it and see what they taste like…”

“It will be the most expensive wine in history…and I will also bring up that electrical system you put in at the ranch. It was supposed to be simple. It was supposed to be cheap. But it looks like one of the power plants in northern New Jersey, with pipes running all over the place. And it never works properly…the water was ice cold when we were there and you had to bring in a technician from five hours away just to get it running again…

“And, since we’re on the subject of downsizing, why don’t you get rid of that apartment in London?”

“You know I can’t do that. The girls need a place to live.”

“Let them rent their own place. They’re both women now…they’re not your little girls anymore.”

“Well, I need somewhere to live in London too. I work in London. Besides, it’s just a rented apartment and it’s tiny. If it were downsized any more I’d have to sleep standing up…”

“But why do you go there anyway…because you have to work. But why do you have to work so much? Why don’t you downsize that? You’ve been working 12 hour days for the last 35 years…and now you’re traveling all over the world trying to keep up with your publishing business. It’s gotten out-of-hand. You’re not running it any more; you’re a slave to it. Isn’t it time to cut back?”

“I can’t do that…it’s my life. And what’s more, I can’t afford to…we need the money to support all these houses…travel…and your horses…”

“Oh no…we’re back to the horses…”

“Well, you seem so reluctant to downsize anything…that’s why I’m forced to work so hard. All my life…just trying to keep up with your spending…”

“Oh, now you’re losing it completely…”

“Okay…okay…I’m not blaming you…”

“Yes, you are. And you can stop right now…I’m not the one who moved us to Europe, or bought a house in France…or a ranch in Argentina…I’m not the extravagant one in this household. We were living very simply on our farm in Maryland and you decided to globalize.”

“Well, I’m certainly not extravagant. I live simply. I don’t even have a cell phone.”

“Oh…you are so frugal…aren’t you? A real emblem of simplicity and frugality. A genuine inspiration for all those people who want to downsize their lives. You have two houses and two apartments – on different continents, naturally. You have offices all over the world – to which you have to travel constantly. You work 12 hours a day…you’re never at home…

“…but you don’t have a cell phone. That’s simplicity? That’s downsizing?”


Bill Bonner
for Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

Latest posts by Bill Bonner (see all)

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "A Conversation of Downsizing with Elizabeth"

Notify of
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Heh.. cellphones..one of the cheapest and most productive and useful tools of the modern era.

Letters will be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling and length. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not post all comments.
If you would prefer to email the editor, you can do so by sending an email to letters@marketsandmoney.com.au