It's easy to make fun of the uber-rich. Partially because we're a wee bit jealous but, often, because they just make it ever so easy. When the billionaires of the world are out dropping huge amounts of money on things like a racing pigeon, we really do think we could handle the money better than they do.
1. The $200,000 Pigeon
Pigeon racing may not be on your list of the top ten rising sports, but in Asia it's kind of a big thing. And while most of the fans and participants aren't of the billionaire class, a few are. Consider one Chinese buyer who paid $200,000 for a single racing pigeon; a highly pedigreed pigeon, of course, but the non-billionaires among us can't forget we're talking about a pigeon.
2. The $11M Watch
Time is money, we're told. And maybe if we had the billions of dollars that these purchasers do, we'd understand how important it is to keep track of time with a really, really expensive watch. This watch was designed and built by Patek Philippe, and took eight years to complete. In 1999, a wealthy and apparently time-conscious purchaser paid $100 million for it. Worth it? Only time will tell...
3. The $1B Home
That's B as in Billion; for India's richest man, purchasing the world's "most expensive home" cost him $1 billion dollars. Apparently he thought it was worth the investment, with 9 elevators, a 50-seat theater, a two-story recreation center, and not one, not two, but three helipads on the roof. You know, for those times when you really need to be able to have three helicopters landing simultaneously.
4. The $18M Car
Cars - fancy, fast, expensive cars - have long been a luxury of the rich, and one of the items most of us can relate to spending a large sum of money to own - at least a little. Some people don't kid around about the "large sum" part of the equation, as in the 2010 purchase of a Ferrari 250 GTO from the 1960s by British radio host Chris Evans. Evans reportedly paid 12 million pounds for the car, which equals about $19 million dollars.
-Photo courtesy of Podknox
-Photo courtesy of Podknox
5. The $6M Divorce Settlement
Of course, not everything the rich spend money on is pleasure spending. They have to pay taxes, bills, and, oh yes, divorce settlements. In the case of the 2005 divorce of billionaire Charles Brandes and Linda Brandes, the original settlement came to around $150,000 per month. That wasn't quite enough for Ms. Brandes. Mr. Brandes, apparently, concurred and increased the pay-out to $6 million per year, or $500,000 per month.
6. The $390,000 Reward
No matter the income level, there's probably not a parent alive who can claim (truthfully) to never have bribed or rewarded a child to get good behavior. But in the case of the very rich, the rewards come in numbers that are mind-boggling. Consider the recent purchase of a limousine by Sean "Diddy" Combs. This particular limousine cost $390,000 and was a reward for Combs' 17-year-old son Justin, who made the honor roll. Certainly education is important, but at this rate, getting Justin to earn those A's all through college could become quite costly.
Of course, excessive purchases tend to make the news. There are many billionaires who have earned their money through financial smarts and continue to make purchases that, at least on some level, make sense. For the rest of us, at least we get free entertainment from the not-so-frugal billionaires.