The possibilities and pitfalls of having 17K a month to spend

The Skinny | No 125 – Mo Money Mo Problems

Prime Minister Robert Abela: his €17,000-a-month consultancy raised eyebrows
Prime Minister Robert Abela: his €17,000-a-month consultancy raised eyebrows

What are we skinning? The possibilities and pitfalls of having 17K a month to spend.

Why are we skinning it? Just go with it.

Okay, how do you wanna play this? Oh, you can start. What would you do if you had €17,000 a month to your name?

Well, first of all I’d have to process the complex feelings that some with that sudden injection of privilege, given how the minimum wage is what it is and inflation for basic items is actually a news headline again. Thank you for informing me that you do in fact have a conscience and at least a smidgeon of self-awareness. So the first chunk of that money will be going to therapy, I presume?

Yes, that would help ‘flatten’ my feelings of guilt so that I could then continue spending without fear or favour. Good. I mean, whoever said that money can’t buy peace of mind?

But what if these feelings crop up again? You can always take on a job – literally anything within your professional comfort zone – that will require you to work weekends on occasion. Then you can claim, without even batting a well-manicured eyelash, that real sacrifices have been made.

Okay, then what? Now’s the fun part! What would you spend it on?

Let’s see… So the wise thing would be to invest in property, I guess? Sure – Malta’s construction regime essentially helps dictate government policy, and while the Maltese aren’t terribly great at much else, they can build block upon block like there’s no tomorrow (also because they’re empowered to do so by lax height limitations).

So that would be the logical option, then? Yes, but it’ll remain an option for a long while yet. Those boring sit-down sessions with your accountants, lawyers and real-estate agents can wait. What would you like to SPLURGE on first?!

Come to think of it, I really need a new pair of noise-canceling headphones. My neighbour has decided to extend their property by two floors and it’s driving me nuts. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to take your revenge on them by building THREE floors of your own, if you wish. What’s next?

I’d like to be in nature when I build my own property. Would it be possible to block off a rare, scenically beautiful piece of land for my own? Oh yes, that 17K/month package will slot you firmly within the circle of people who can dictate that kind of thing. You will even be able to block off the foreshore for ramblers, by simply scrawling mis-spelt ‘PRIVATE – NO ENTRY’ graffiti by whatever makeshift gate you choose to put up.

Does it have to be mis-spelt? Yeah, you need to project ‘illiterate ogre’ vibes to scare off passerby.

It’s gonna be lonely at the top. True. But it’ll be worth it.

Do say: “Just because economic inequality is a fact of life the world over does not mean we cannot question it when it shows up so blatantly and explicitly at our doorstep.”

Don’t say: “Our mistake is choosing to be independent. If we sold Malta off again to the highest bidder (‘highest’ being ‘most heavily stoned’), the government will be able to dish out 17K to all of us as a wage supplement, easy.”