So many douchebags, so few bullets.
I just want to be absolutely clear on this - I initially thought you only counted other peoples meeples (adjacent to a card) when you gain money or activate a card (ie buying a building/techique, or using a character).
I only played my first game of it today, and re-reading the rules, it does seem to be saying you count any other meeples, regardless of who they belong to.
I think the reason I assumed it was only other peoples was that it would seem strange to pay extra because of your own pieces (but I know, you dont have to place extras....).
We enjoyed our first game too, it ended up a very close game (3 people within a point of each other).
When you pull one of your meeples, you count all meeples left behind, including your own.