Today, I take a break from my ranting to bring you a sorrowful tale of woe. No, I’m not going to tell you about the hurricane victims in the Philippines or the tragedy going on in Syria. I won’t bore you with tales of the pitiful Chicago Bears season. Today, I want to tell you about poor King Albert II of Belgium.
In July of 2013, King Albert gave up the throne. He was involved in an embarrassing paternity scandal, so abdicated the throne to his son. Naughty, naughty! However, the King’s struggles didn’t end there.
As a retired king, he gets an annual pittance of just 1.24 million (USD) dollars, down from the $10,000,000+ he earned* as King. Can you imagine haveing to take a pay cut like that? How can the King possibly be expected to heat his castle or fuel his mega-yacht? On top of that, he has an apartment in Rome and two vacation homes in France he has to look after. But wait, it gets even worse! On top of all of this, our King has to pay taxes on the 1.24 million, just like a commoner. Poor, poor man.
So, the King did what anyone in his right mind would do; petition the government for more money. However, it appears that the King picked the wrong time to quit his job. The Belgian government is taking austerity measures to bring debt under control. Sadly, the King’s request was turned down.
Screw the sarcasm, time to go off on this clown
This guy is a (insert one or pick your own: tool, fool, idiot, bonehead, rat-brain, arsehole, clown, jerk, bonehead, spoiled rotten brat).
If I were the Belgians, here is what I’d do: He’d get a last class ticket in the cargo hold of a propeller plane crammed with chickens and goats. The plane would make about 50 stops on its way to Somalia or Iraq or Afghanistan or any of the other places in the world where a significant percentage of the populace goes to bed hungry every night. Upon arriving, his job would be to help carry clean water to villages or hand out UN bags of rice. No indoor plumbing allowed either! This guy is doing his business in a hole in the ground. Better bring some corn cobs, Mr. King.
How on earth does one even arrive at such a ludicrous mindset? I like to think that even if I came into some massive amount of money, I’d stay grounded. Look at Mr. Crist; he is my hero! Also, take a look at this girl who was worth $160,000,000, and worked in food service.
I hate to get all preachy and serious, but if you’re reading this now, you’re probably living in a first world country like America or Canada or some place in Western Europe. Sure, our lives can suck at times. Bad stuff happens to all of us. However, next time you get mad because the drive-thru screwed up your order or some butthead cut you off in traffic, consider how fortunate you are just to have been born in a good place. This thought is clearly lost on the King.
*I use the word “earned” very, very loosely.
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*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.
Done by Forty says
I’m amazed he draws that kind of a pension, even when dethroned. It’s good to be king.
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It is good to be King apparently! Well, not anymore for him. Poor guy.
Dave @ The New York Budget says
It’s amazing how easy it is to lose perspective if you aren’t thoughtful about money. If the King actually sat down and thought about what his priorities were and went through some personal finance and preference exercises, I his thought process might change – but WHO DOES THAT? (just us few PF weirdos, that’s who).
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Ha, us PF weirdos are probably the most well adjusted set on earth. I really believe it! We have our priorities straight and have figured out what’s important!
Honestly, it’s hard to blame him. He was raised from birth to believe that he was above the rest of us, and has never had to want for anything. I mean, he’s venerated by an entire country, and has been for his whole life. When your existence has been willingly subsidized by your subjects for 79 years, gaining perspective isn’t exactly easy.
Yeah, I thought of that too. However, he cannot be completely unaware of the rest of the world. So many people live in such horrid conditions. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t done much to raise the profile of those less fortunate.
He doesn’t have to either. It’s not his responsibility.
My main beef is that he has some crazy high sense of entitlement. For being/doing what? Isn’t his position just symbolic?
It kind of reminds me of the caste system in India. Hey, I was born into this family, therefore I am better than you. People who wanted power over other people invented this kind of nonsense.
Hey this reminds me of a story:
In college, my roommate was from India. His dad was an insurance agent and they lived a modest, middle class lifestyle. Meanwhile, his girlfriend’s family owned some computer chip company and were very, very wealthy. However, the relationship wasn’t acceptable to his parents because he was from a much higher caste.
Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies says
Reminds me of the teenager recently who received a reduced sentence after causing an accident where I believe someone died because the judge declared the teenager had “affluenza”. That is, they were so rich and their parents had so cocooned them from the realities of life that they didn’t understand the irresponsibility of their actions. Sad, really.
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Ha, I remember that! He killed someone drunk driving. Idiot. And yes, really sad.
You commoners just don’t understand how hard it is to rule you guys. Or what it is like to be a king or dethroned king. Pffft! Now fetch me lemonade, you know I like it more sugary than lemony. Go along, shoo!
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Broke Millennial says
What an epic rant, Mr. 1500! While I detest the expression “first world problem” for various reasons, this is a classic example of people developing a terrible mindset and being unable to adjust to change. It’s sad to think someone couldn’t live on over million dollars per yer, even if he was used to far more. Clearly, he needs some eye opening experiences.
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It makes me sad because this guy could be doing a lot for the world. He could even keep his ridiculous lifestyle. If he just brought some publicity to some causes, he could raise their profile. Princess Di with landmines comes to mind immediately.
Ahhh I love that you spelt “arsehole” the English (UK) way. Nice touch that, I’ll use that one when describing this guy in future!
You couldn’t make this stuff up could you… sigh!
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I figured I needed to give the post some Euro-flair.
This guy makes me equally sad and mad.
This Life On Purpose says
Cleary King Albert has been living a life of luxuries! A good lesson for all of us who are living a life of luxury as well (even if it’s not $10 million a year) that it can all come to an end, and when it does you should be ready and comfortable making some changes.
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Yeah, great point and you got me thinking: I don’t make anywhere near 10,000,000 or even $200,000 per year. I don’t think making much more would move my happiness needle that much more either. Even if I came into a $10,000,000 tomorrow, I wouldn’t move. More vacations, but 1900 square feet (when construction is done) is just fine for me.
Debt Hater says
Oh man, where can I sign up for a pension plan like the one he is getting?! Sounds like his perspective is pretty skewed, but it’s gotta cost a decent amount to heat and cool that giant castle.
But I guess it’s also the fact of being a King your entire life you were probably never told “no” and he probably doesn’t have a great sense of reality in general.
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I know, right? I have a deal for Belgium or any other country. I’ll be your king for 10% of what that guy costs. I don’t need a yacht or castle either; just give me good beer and health care.
Mr. Grump says
I agree entirely that this guy is a clown. However, Belgium is darn expensive. Having landed here last week on a 6 month ex-pat assignment for my wife. I will try and add some perspective. Chicken Breasts on sale go for $5 to $5.50 a pound. Gasoline is $9+ a gallon. Our 900 square foot apartment in Wolowe-Saint-Lambert rents for over $2600/month. (Our place is giant compared to standard apartments). The grocery store is terrifying looking at the prices and we got a cost of living raise to account for all of this, not a pay cut like the King. It also doesn’t help not knowing any French or Dutch so whatever item you get for dinner is crazy expensive and a bit of a mystery. But that’s a personal problem, just had to vent a little.
The king got what he deserved. Let’s keep in mind, those of us paying $2/pound for chicken and $3/ gallon of gas have it pretty nice.
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Yikes, but you have the best beer in the world supposedly!
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on spending in the US versus Belgium. Seems like Americans have lost sight of what is important in a greater way than other parts of the world.
As a Belgian girl I can say it’s very expensive here. We pay a huge amount of taxes, we pay an additional 21% for taxes on almost anything.
The wages are significantly lower than in the US. However, personal debt is also much lower than overseas:-D.
We do have credit cards, but not everyone owns one. We pay with DEBET cards;-).
The majority of the belgians are what we like to call ‘born with a red brick in their stomache.’
So, many of us invest in our own homes or in real estate.
Ps: your article about the former king is hilarious and sad but true..
The other members of the family are also acting as little spoiled brats. This weekend I read about princess Claire, the wife of prince Laurent. The government had to cut in their yearly donations and now Claire decides to stay home all the time, cause ‘the hairdresser’ costs too much.
Real life problems in Belgium!!
Greetings Karen from Belguim! I heard from a couple other Belgians, but the comments weren’t fit for a family blog (they were unhappy with my post on the King)!
Personal and government debt in the US is off the charts. I make fun of your King, but I could write 10 posts about the silly ways my fellow Americans manage their lives. I could write another 10 posts about our government debt.
Anyway, I look forward to visiting your fine country some day in the near future and sampling some of your beer!
Jen @ Jen Spends says
I recently read a story about how Tori Spelling is in dire straits and had to downsize to a $10,000 per month rental home. The horror! That’s a quarter of what my family lives on per year! It’s hard to believe what some people consider roughing it. Then again, I know many ordinary people who think I’m nuts for not having a smart phone or cable. Ah well, I’m nuts all the way to the bank.
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“Ah well, I’m nuts all the way to the bank.”
This is flat out awesome!
I really think that us folks who realize all of this are deep down much happier, well adjusted folks. The thought that came to me today is I’ll bet I have a happier life than this king.
I understand there is the monarch history but aren’t the kings and queens of European countries that still exist mainly just figureheads and maybe serve as a tie breaking vote in parliments. Why on earth are they shelling out 10 million a year for that? Think of all the safety net programs that could be run for that amount. I think this guy should be happy he doesn’t live in the time frame when the pitchforks and torches accompenied an upset kingdom.
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EXACTLY! This dude is getting paid for who knows what. It is worse than our American congress. At least they are supposed to be doing something…
Sigh…. we Canadians are technically stilled ruled by a monarch. For whatever reason… 😀
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All in all, it is pretty wild how out of touch the King’s mentality of what is deserved or not deserved. Sadly, this concept of entitlement is not limited to those only in royalty, and is quite prevalent, even here in the states. It is sad (and expensive!) that entire generations have lived their lives depending on handouts and that the concept of work is entirely foreign to them.
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Mom @ Three is Plenty says
Belgium is one of the countries that has it “pretty” good in the whole Eurozone problems, but *still* – if they’re doing austerity measures, I’d just up and cut off the King’s pension – he can live on his family’s money (or not).
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Kay @ Green Money Stream says
I like this rant! I hadn’t heard of poor King Albert’s plight. It just goes to show how powerful perspective can be. From his point of view he has to try to makes ends meet with a 90% pay cut. It would be sad for one or more of his castles to have to go into foreclosure.
If only the world could give him a nice collective slap in the face to wake him up to the fact that he can probably pick himself up by his riding boot straps, dust himself off, and he might actually be OK.
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JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit says
This reminds me of Warren Buffett’s quote of “winning the vaginal lottery” and being born in the United States. It’s so true and amazing how even the poorest of the first world citizens has a higher standard of living than most of the rest of the world. We’re all 1%’ers when it comes to the global population, but too many people forget that. And that’s just ridiculous that $1.24 mill for doing nothing, after being disgraced into retirement, isn’t enough to support your lifestyle. How in the world will he manage?
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You pheasants are so easily upset. Jeez!
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Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says
I was tempted to bitch and whine after reading this about how the king should try living on a not terribly highish 5-figure income and pay off a bunch of debt at the same time, but then I remembered just how darn lucky we are to have that income, a warm home, and food every day. Seriously, dude, get a frickin’ clue. I would happily sign a petition that your plan for the king be implemented immediately. 🙂
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King Doofus clearly thinks he is better than all of us.
Good for you for seeing what is important. There is so much to like and simple things are really what matters.