The Beatles famously sang that “money can’t buy me love” – but if a recent study into the spending habits of the world’s richest people is anything to go by, that’s about the only thing that still can’t be bought.
The study, conducted by Boston Consulting Group, shows that the world’s millionaires have stopped spending so much on consumer goods, using their wealth to make memories instead. £1.1 trillion was spent during 2013 on luxury goods and ‘experiences’ including fine dining in gourmet restaurants, extreme sports and going all out at art auctions. A spokesperson for BCG says that this swing in spending reflects a change in the definition of luxury; which is “shifting rapidly from ‘having’ to ‘being’.” Psychologically speaking, new and exciting experiences have a positive impact on moods: so it seems like the super rich have finally found a way to purchase happiness.
There are some things that money has always been able to buy – including the ability to set off around the world at a moment’s notice. However, these days luxury travel is considerably more adventurous, with the super-wealthy using their capital to gain access to remote regions of the globe. In 2013, around $460 billion was spent on bespoke trips, including paying a visit to Antarctica and going on lavish safaris. One multi-millionaire from China spent $1.5 million on a two-year long vacation of a lifetime, visiting nearly a thousand UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the process.
For some ultra-HNWIs (High Net Worth Individual), however, the world quite literally is not enough. After years of rumours that space tourism could soon become a reality, reports suggest that a number of Silicone Valley’s tech millionaires have been treating themselves to seats on Virgin Galactic, which is currently in its final testing stages. A commercial flight into space will set you back around $250,000 – so far over 600 wealthy individuals have decided that the price is right and signed themselves up as amateur astronauts.
Of course, even food can become a significant expense when you regularly dine out in the world’s most exclusive restaurants – and choose to sample the world’s most exclusive ingredients. Last October, a Russian oligarch spent $95,000 on a rare white truffle, while wine investment has become more popular with those who want to speculate while growing their cellars.
It’s not all about thrills and spills, however: real estate is still a popular purchase for the super rich. Most tycoons have a host of holiday homes around the globe, while others, like Ellen DeGeneres, like to renovate homes to their specific tastes – then immediately move on, repeating the process in their next mansion. Some celebrities even use high-end homes as birthday presents: last year Angelina Jolie spent $12.2 million on a heart shaped island for her husband Brad Pitt, complete with two properties designed by his favourite architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
When it comes to luxury property, Engel & Völkers are the experts. Whether you’re one of the super rich aiming for a base in every country, or simply want to build up a strong international portfolio, our real estate agents have the skills and experience to help you make the best investment.