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View Full Version : Money Do you think you would enjoy being Billionare?


Deberg_1990
04-05-2012, 09:24 AM
Fascinating......


Middle-class writer lives like a billionaire for a day, decides its not all its cracked up to be




http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/living-like-a-billionaire-if-only-for-a-day/?hp



I HAVE a major problem: I just glanced at my $45,000 Chopard watch, and it’s telling me that my Rolls-Royce may not make it to the airport in time for my private jet flight.

Yes, I know my predicament doesn’t register high on the urgency scale. It’s not exactly up there with malaria outbreaks in the Congo or street riots in Athens. But it’s a serious issue, because my assignment today revolves around that plane ride.

“Step on it, Mike,” I instruct my chauffeur, who nods and guides the $350,000 car into the left lane of the West Side Highway.

Let me back up a bit. As a reporter who writes about Wall Street, I spend a fair amount of time around extreme wealth. But my face is often pressed up against the gilded window. I’ve never eaten at Per Se, or gone boating on the French Riviera. I live in a pint-size Brooklyn apartment, rarely take cabs and feel like sending Time Warner to The Hague every time my cable bill arrives.

But for the next 24 hours, my goal is to live like a billionaire. I want to experience a brief taste of luxury — the chauffeured cars, the private planes, the V.I.P. access and endless privilege — and then go back to my normal life.

The experiment illuminates a paradox. In the era of the Occupy Wall Street movement, when the global financial elite has been accused of immoral and injurious conduct, we are still obsessed with the lives of the ultrarich. We watch them on television shows, follow their exploits in magazines and parse their books and public addresses for advice. In addition to the long-running list by Forbes, Bloomberg now maintains a list of billionaires with rankings that update every day.

Really, I wondered, what’s so great about billionaires? What privileges and perks do a billion dollars confer? And could I tap into the psyches of the ultrawealthy by walking a mile in their Ferragamo loafers?

At 6 a.m., Mike, a chauffeur with Flyte Tyme Worldwide, picked me up at my apartment. He opened the Rolls-Royce’s doors to reveal a spotless white interior, with lamb’s wool floor mats, seatback TVs and a football field’s worth of legroom. The car, like the watch, was lent to me by the manufacturer for the day while The New York Times made payments toward the other services.

Mike took me to my first appointment, a power breakfast at the Core club in Midtown. “Core,” as the cognoscenti call it, is a members-only enclave with hefty dues — $15,000 annually, plus a $50,000 initiation fee — and a membership roll that includes brand-name financiers like Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group and Daniel S. Loeb of Third Point.

Over a spinach omelet, Jennie Enterprise, the club’s founder, told me about the virtues of having a cloistered place for “ultrahigh net worth individuals” to congregate away from the bustle of the boardroom.

“They want someplace that respects their privacy,” she said. “They want a place that they can seamlessly transition from work to play, that optimizes their time.”

After breakfast, I rush back to the car for a high-speed trip to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, where I’m meeting a real-life billionaire for a trip on his private jet. The billionaire, a hedge fund manager, was scheduled to go down to Georgia and offered to let me interview him during the two-hour jaunt on the condition that I not reveal his identity.

I arrive several minutes after the billionaire, breaking the cardinal rule of private aviation: never be later than the owner of the plane.

Still, he lets me board. I walk to the tarmac and straight onto the Gulfstream IV, before settling into a supple leather armchair that swivels 360 degrees and reclines to flat at the push of a button. A flight attendant greets me by offering me coffee and a yogurt parfait.

I’m outfitted for the day in a navy pinstripe suit, picked out by Clifton C. Berry, who outfits Wall Street workers with his own line of bespoke menswear. It’s probably the best I’ve looked all year. But I’m way overdressed for a meeting with the billionaire, who is wearing a sweater, jeans and sockless loafers.

During the trip, I ask the billionaire what it’s like to be among the richest people in the world.

“Look,” he says. “I think all it does is make things easier.”

Like most of the wealthy people I’ve met while covering Wall Street, he plays down the effects of money. “I don’t think it changes you that much,” he said. “The happy guy who makes tons of money is still happy. If somebody’s a jerk before, he’s a jerk when he’s got a billion dollars.”

A raft of studies, including one in 2010 by Princeton researchers Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, has underscored the fact that the rich are no happier than the merely comfortable, and are often burdened by the same problems: health and work issues, family concerns and worries about making ends meet.

I reached out to Dr. Jim Grubman, a clinical psychologist who specializes in wealth, to help me understand this idea that billionaires are, in essence, just like us.

“It goes against what we’ve been told our whole lives,” he tells me. “But it’s true.”

Still, two hours later, when the billionaire and I touch down in Sea Island, Ga., it’s hard to see the similarities. As we deplane, a classic Mercedes convertible is waiting. We jump in, and he ferries me around the resort, with its multimillion-dollar villas and perfectly manicured golf courses.

Everywhere he goes, he gets four-star service. Doors are opened, luggage is carried away wordlessly, and at one point, warm chocolate chip cookies magically appear. When his brakes sputter and his convertible starts spewing smoke, he picks up another Mercedes.

“Somebody’s got to live this life,” he says, gesturing to the pristine view from his penthouse villa. “God decided it should be me.”

Three hours later, after my flight back to New York, I’m greeted by Steve Rubino, a former police detective from Florida who has been hired to be my “personal protection professional” (read: bodyguard). Mr. Rubino’s company, Risk Control Strategies, is a major player in the world of high-end security, outfitting tycoons with fancy home security systems and protecting them while traveling.

“We have to train our clients sometimes,” said Mr. Rubino, who charges $250 an hour for his services. “It can be uncomfortable if you’re not used to having security. But people get used to it.”

Mr. Rubino, tailing me through Times Square, accompanies me to my next appointment: a personal training session at Sitaras Fitness.

Waiting for me when I arrive is John Sitaras, a former bodybuilder who has trained the former General Electric chief John F. Welch Jr., the hedge fund macher George Soros and Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman. The 140-odd members of his gym pay upward of $13,000 a year to train among fellow moguls in a sparse, spotless 12th-floor facility.

“Let’s go, champ,” Mr. Sitaras said, after I suit up leisurely in the locker room. “No wasted time in here.”

One personal trainer might be good enough for a mere mortal, but Sitaris Fitness clients work with two-trainer teams. While Mr. Sitaris leads me in a set of upright rows, a second note-taker records my progress and fetches weights and artesian Voss water.

One thing I’ve noticed so far is that when you’re a billionaire, you’re never alone. All day, your life is supervised by a coterie of handlers and attendants catering to your whims. In the locker room alone after my workout, I feel unsettled. Where’s my bodyguard? Where’s my chauffeur? Why is nobody offering me an amuse-bouche while I shampoo my hair?

I asked Dr. Grubman, the psychologist to the wealthy, if a billionaire’s lack of privacy eventually becomes second nature. “For these people, being able to be alone and relaxed with those people who are around you is rare,” he said.

I feel bad admitting it, but my billionaire day has been stressful. Without an assistant, just keeping up with the hundreds of moving parts — the driver, the security detail, the minute-by-minute scheduling — has been a full-time job and then some.

When my night ends well after midnight, after a performance of Macbeth at the Metropolitan Opera and a raucous trip to a burlesque-themed nightclub called the Box, something funny happens. I realize that I’m experiencing the sensation that psychologists call “sudden wealth syndrome.”

The feeling is one of cognitive dissonance, a quick oscillation between repulsion and attraction. I’m drawn on one level to the billionaire lifestyle and the privilege that comes with it. But the lifestyle is so cartoonish, so over-the-top flamboyant, that I’m not sure I could ever get used to it.

Dr. Grubman assured me that if I were an actual billionaire, I would resolve the dissonance in time. Luckily, I don’t have to. When I wake up the next morning, my Timex watch, bought on sale a couple of years ago, goes back on my wrist. I put on my unshined shoes and slip on my blue jacket, the one with a hole in the pocket.

On my way to the subway, I stop in at my local coffee shop and order a cappuccino. It’s slightly burnt, like always. But this morning, in the haze of my hangover, it tastes rich. Really, sublimely rich.

Detoxing
04-05-2012, 09:29 AM
tl;dr

listopencil
04-05-2012, 09:31 AM
It's just money. It's a tool. You know how a mechanic, when given the right tools, can get your car running well? Hell, a good mechanic can do minor fixes when he doesn't actually have the right tool for the job. But you can give the best tools in the world to a guy who knows nothing about cars and nothing good will come of it.

suds79
04-05-2012, 09:33 AM
Did the writer tap a few 11s and 12s in that day when he was bored?

That might have changed his mind.

Just curious. :p

chasedude
04-05-2012, 09:34 AM
a billionare only for a day? I always thought it'd be fun like the movie "Brewster's Millions". You have to spend a set amount in a limited time period.

First step would be to buy out the rest of Cassel's contract and then pay off another team to take him away.

Dr. Johnny Fever
04-05-2012, 09:34 AM
We wouldn't have to eat Kraft dinners... but we would eat craft dinners... of course we would, we'd just eat more.

loochy
04-05-2012, 09:36 AM
Of course I would like to be a billionaire.

The money would allow me to pursue the things that I'm interested and blow off the things that I'm not interested in. I doubt my tastes, style, or personality would change much. Also, I have no problem telling people to get lost, so I don't think moochers would be much of a problem.

Frazod
04-05-2012, 09:37 AM
If I was a billionaire, I wouldn't be getting up at 6:00 a.m. for ANYTHING.

L.A. Chieffan
04-05-2012, 09:37 AM
yeah it sucks. id much rather go dumpster diving so my kids can eat. thats WAY better

Canofbier
04-05-2012, 09:37 AM
There's something to be said about the additional stress that would come with having all the extra "moving parts" in your life, as the writer called them. Be that as it may, having tons and tons of money doesn't necessarily obligate you to live that kind of life. What's to keep you from doing what you do now, just with nicer cars and bigger TVs?

mr. tegu
04-05-2012, 09:38 AM
It depends on how you choose to live with it. If you are a billionaire you don't have to continue the hectic lifestyle of strict schedules and meetings, etc. If you are happy with your billion and don't need to make more then quit the lifestyle if its stressful and too demanding. You could then truly enjoy the benefits of all the past hard work.

Dartgod
04-05-2012, 09:39 AM
If I was a billionaire, I wouldn't be getting up at 6:00 a.m. for ANYTHING.

Just the first day after you buy Chiefsplanet from Kyle and ban all the Donkey and Faider trolls?
Posted via Mobile Device

Micjones
04-05-2012, 09:40 AM
Something tells me hookers and drugs might've changed the narrative.

loochy
04-05-2012, 09:40 AM
There's something to be said about the additional stress that would come with having all the extra "moving parts" in your life, as the writer called them. Be that as it may, having tons and tons of money doesn't necessarily obligate you to live that kind of life. What's to keep you from doing what you do now, just with nicer cars and bigger TVs?

This.

Why would you need extra moving parts? Just sleep late, go fishing, and watch TV.

blaise
04-05-2012, 09:43 AM
I'd take my chances.

KCUnited
04-05-2012, 09:43 AM
That slow ass in the left lane is still going to be there no matter how much money you have.

rageeumr
04-05-2012, 09:43 AM
I think I would value the time more than anything. I think I could finally find the balance between family and hobbies if I didn't have to work 8+ hours a day.

I do a lot of endurance sports, which requires a lot of hours per week of training. I'm doing Ironman 70.3 Kansas in June and my weekly training volume is anywhere from 8-12 hours, which is actually a pretty minimal approach. Ideally I'd be doing more.

I love to play golf, but I simply don't have time when I'm prepping for a race. I haven't swung a golf club in 2012, which is ridiculous since I have a membership.

nychief
04-05-2012, 09:43 AM
I could afford spelling lessons... billionaire.

DaKCMan AP
04-05-2012, 09:44 AM
This.

Why would you need extra moving parts? Just sleep late, go fishing, and watch TV.

For some people that'd work. For others, not so much.

Canofbier
04-05-2012, 09:45 AM
That slow ass in the left lane is still going to be there no matter how much money you have.

Not if you can afford to drive one of these.

http://www.quotezone.co.uk/articles/weird-trucks/images/2-1.jpg

Frazod
04-05-2012, 09:46 AM
Just the first day after you buy Chiefsplanet from Kyle and ban all the Donkey and Faider and beaker trolls?
Posted via Mobile Device

FYP

DaKCMan AP
04-05-2012, 09:46 AM
We wouldn't have to eat Kraft dinners... but we would eat craft dinners... of course we would, we'd just eat more.

Steven Page still eats Kraft dinners because he spent all his money on blow.

suds79
04-05-2012, 09:48 AM
This.

Why would you need extra moving parts? Just sleep late, go fishing, and watch TV.


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/WekD5Np3zF4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Frazod
04-05-2012, 09:48 AM
That slow ass in the left lane is still going to be there no matter how much money you have.

If I'm a billionaire, I'll pay somebody to hunt him down and kill him.

Mr. Laz
04-05-2012, 09:48 AM
Hell yes ... money can't buy happiness but it sure as hell can rent it for awhile.


how happy would you be if all financial stress was removed from your life? Want to go on vacation ... go. Car falling apart ... buy a new one.

All you have to do is work on you and your people. life less stressful makes it easier.

Dr. Johnny Fever
04-05-2012, 09:49 AM
Steven Page still eats Kraft dinners because he spent all his money on blow.

Maybe I'll buy him some art... a Picaso or a Garfunkel. Or maybe a green dress. But not a real green dress. That's cruel.

-King-
04-05-2012, 09:51 AM
Although I'm sure being a billionaire can be stressing, that's the type of stress I'd like to have 8 days out of 7.

Hoover
04-05-2012, 09:53 AM
To be honest, I'm not all that interested in being that wealthy. In fact, I rather enjoy my life because I feel like I get to live the best of both worlds at time. My wife and I live a very comfortable lifestyle. If there is something we want, we can have it. We wanted a nice house on a nice lot so we built a house a couple of years ago. It's nothing grand, but but we live in a 350k house. On the other hand I still drive my 2002 toyota carolla that has 225k miles on it. Why? Because it's fine and I'd rather live in a nice house than drive a nice car. My wife drives a 2008 Camry. The biggest TV in my house? 27 inch tube. Yeah, it sucks, but I don't watch TV and when I buy something its going to rock. I would rather become debt free than have a nice TV.

That's my actual life, but in the world of politics and fundraising I get to live an alternative life style. I watch college football games in skyboxes and enjoy catered tailgates with free booze. I travel to major cities for business but while there we stay at the best hotels, eat at the best restaurants, and attend sporting events, concerts, and other events. Most of the time I fly coach, but sometimes I travel in private jets that pick me up a mile from my house.

All of this is fun to do. I love it when I can bring my wife along. But I'm also glad its not the norm. For as fun and as interesting as life can be at times, I love nothing more than a weekend at home with my wife and the dogs. I like mowing my yard.

Through my work I've been able to get to know and interact with some very wealthy people. I find them all to be very normal. Some of them are as crazy as the guys I like to drink beer and play cards with. To be honest, I think what they really want is to be treated like a real person, not someone who can make contributions of 100k, or 100 million. That's tough, especially in my line of business, but most of theses people don't come from wealth so it is possible to relate to them at some level.

Fansy the Famous Bard
04-05-2012, 09:54 AM
The thing that a billion dollars would do for me, is buy me back my life.

Right now, I can't do much of anything because my entire life... all day everyday, and weekends and nights many times are occupied by work. Work I need to keep the lights on, to keep my kids fed, and the Rent paid.

The car I drive, is so I can get to and from work.

Where i live at now is because it is close to my office.

My wife works, too... because having four children is not cheap.

Having 1 billion dollars would untie me from this office chair, and buy me my freedom.

SO yes. It would make me very ****ing happy.

loochy
04-05-2012, 09:54 AM
On the other hand I still drive my 2002 toyota carolla that has 225k miles on it. Why? Because it's fine and I'd rather live in a nice house than drive a nice car. My wife drives a 2008 Camry. The biggest TV in my house? 27 inch tube. Yeah, it sucks, but I don't watch TV and when I buy something its going to rock. I would rather become debt free than have a nice TV.

I guess we can safely assume that you aren't black.

chasedude
04-05-2012, 09:55 AM
That slow ass in the left lane is still going to be there no matter how much money you have.

ROFL

Mr. Laz
04-05-2012, 09:56 AM
To be honest, I'm not all that interested in being that wealthy.

My wife and I live a very comfortable lifestyle. If there is something we want, we can have it.
so in other words, you're already wealthy enough so you don't need more.

Money does help

saw some survey that said that financial stress/issues create more marital problems than everything else combined.

Hoover
04-05-2012, 10:02 AM
I would not consider myself wealthy. I would say that we know how to budget and live within our means. It's amazing what sound money management can do. That said I know how difficult it is to climb out of a hole. Thankfully we have never gotten deep into debt. I will say that the biggest gift we were ever given was the ability to live in my in-laws basement for 10 months while be built our home. We basically had no expenses which allowed us to bank everything we earned. Reading a Dave Ramsey book doesn't hurt either.

Dayze
04-05-2012, 10:04 AM
that writer is an idiot.

that much money, I would be stress free. Hiking, Fishing. Shooting. Canoeing, camping for weeks on end. RV Cross Country trips. Good food/cooking.

Granted, I could probably do a lot of that anyway, but with a Billion, I'd be completely stress free.

lcarus
04-05-2012, 10:05 AM
Of course I would like to be a billionaire.

The money would allow me to pursue the things that I'm interested and blow off the things that I'm not interested in. I doubt my tastes, style, or personality would change much. Also, I have no problem telling people to get lost, so I don't think moochers would be much of a problem.

Yeah, I'd have multiple nice homes, and I'd travel a lot to see the wonders of the world. Plus I'd eat really good food every day. It would be awesome.

big nasty kcnut
04-05-2012, 10:05 AM
I would trick cassel with a bogus job telling him that the world need him and that he's to live in england. Then hire people to pretend to listen to his job report. Freeing the chiefs to have a real qb.

Hoover
04-05-2012, 10:07 AM
There is also a big difference between having a billion dollars and being worth a billion dollars.

ChiTown
04-05-2012, 10:08 AM
I'm just telling it like it is, but the more money I make, the less fascinated I am with making more.

saphojunkie
04-05-2012, 10:09 AM
If I was a billionaire, I wouldn't be getting up at 6:00 a.m. for ANYTHING.

I have the opposite view. I'd be up at six and asleep by ten all the time. Who needs nightlife when you have a 7:00 AM appointment to go deep sea fishing off St. Bart's?

ChiTown
04-05-2012, 10:09 AM
I would trick cassel with a bogus job telling him that the world need him and that he's to live in england. Then hire people to pretend to listen to his job report. Freeing the chiefs to have a real qb.

That is so gawdamned stupid, crazy that it might just work!

suds79
04-05-2012, 10:10 AM
What's interesting is that I think it would be okay when you're single. Go do your George Clooney thing.

Now that I'm married, I could see how that wouldn't do many marriages any favors.

It reminds me of this exchange from the movie "Funny People" Where Adam Sandler explains something to Seth Rogan that I think is legit for famous people. Because if this, I restrain from jumping all over them when most of their marriages fail inside of 5 years. Just different challenges.

IRA - Why did you guys break up in the
first place?

GEORGE - I cheated on her.

IRA - Why would you cheat on her?

GEORGE - It’s easy not to cheat when no one
wants to f#%k you, you judgmental
pr!#k.

lol

DaKCMan AP
04-05-2012, 10:11 AM
To be honest, I'm not all that interested in being that wealthy. In fact, I rather enjoy my life because I feel like I get to live the best of both worlds at time. My wife and I live a very comfortable lifestyle. If there is something we want, we can have it. We wanted a nice house on a nice lot so we built a house a couple of years ago. It's nothing grand, but but we live in a 350k house. On the other hand I still drive my 2002 toyota carolla that has 225k miles on it. Why? Because it's fine and I'd rather live in a nice house than drive a nice car. My wife drives a 2008 Camry. The biggest TV in my house? 27 inch tube. Yeah, it sucks, but I don't watch TV and when I buy something its going to rock. I would rather become debt free than have a nice TV.

That's my actual life, but in the world of politics and fundraising I get to live an alternative life style. I watch college football games in skyboxes and enjoy catered tailgates with free booze. I travel to major cities for business but while there we stay at the best hotels, eat at the best restaurants, and attend sporting events, concerts, and other events. Most of the time I fly coach, but sometimes I travel in private jets that pick me up a mile from my house.

All of this is fun to do. I love it when I can bring my wife along. But I'm also glad its not the norm. For as fun and as interesting as life can be at times, I love nothing more than a weekend at home with my wife and the dogs. I like mowing my yard.

Through my work I've been able to get to know and interact with some very wealthy people. I find them all to be very normal. Some of them are as crazy as the guys I like to drink beer and play cards with. To be honest, I think what they really want is to be treated like a real person, not someone who can make contributions of 100k, or 100 million. That's tough, especially in my line of business, but most of theses people don't come from wealth so it is possible to relate to them at some level.

I live a similar lifestyle. I live pretty damn comfortably. If I want something, I buy it. I go out when I want, travel when I want, eat what I want, etc. Up until a month ago I drove a 1998 Accord and only got a new car because it was time.

Now, the difference is I do aspire to be wealthy, but not at the expense of the lifestyle I live.

I think the biggest change I'd make (other than traveling even more than I do) is I'd venture off to do something work related that I am truly passionate about. I enjoy what I do now, but I do it mostly because it's good $$, not because I love it.

I also agree, to some extent, about your experience with wealthy people. Last year at a convention I had the opportunity to meet a very recent former fund manager of one of the largest mutual funds in the world. For the rest of the convention a few of my friends and I partied with this guy until the early hours each night. He enjoyed hanging out with us because we treated him like any other dude. Looking back I can't believe we got this older, wealthy, important guy to climb the roof of the hotel with us at 4am. In retrospect, we're fortunate nothing bad happened.

ROYC75
04-05-2012, 10:11 AM
Yes, I would . I can handle it, well !

Bring it on !

listopencil
04-05-2012, 10:12 AM
that writer is an idiot.

that much money, I would be stress free. Hiking, Fishing. Shooting. Canoeing, camping for weeks on end. RV Cross Country trips. Good food/cooking.

Granted, I could probably do a lot of that anyway, but with a Billion, I'd be completely stress free.

The article itself is fairly worthless. The real question here is whether you would be willing to live a lifestyle that could earn you a billion dollars. I wouldn't be.

DaKCMan AP
04-05-2012, 10:14 AM
Now, the difference is I do aspire to be wealthy, but not at the expense of the lifestyle I live.

The article itself is fairly worthless. The real question here is whether you would be willing to live a lifestyle that could earn you a billion dollars. I wouldn't be.

Precisely.

Dayze
04-05-2012, 10:14 AM
The article itself is fairly worthless. The real question here is whether you would be willing to live a lifestyle that could earn you a billion dollars. I wouldn't be.

that's a good point.

philfree
04-05-2012, 10:15 AM
Shit......with a cool billion us Chiefs fans still couldn't buy a QB to save our asses./thread

tooge
04-05-2012, 10:19 AM
meh. I'd rather be a gazillionaire for a day. You could buy all the major league teams in every sport and a few small countries for your own.

philfree
04-05-2012, 12:50 PM
I wonder how many double cheese burgers a guy could buy with a billion dollars?

L.A. Chieffan
04-05-2012, 12:54 PM
I wonder how many double cheese burgers a guy could buy with a billion dollars?

a billion mcdoubles?

thats a lot of bjs

loochy
04-05-2012, 12:54 PM
I wonder how many double cheese burgers a guy could buy with a billion dollars?

Probably like 14.

El Jefe
04-05-2012, 12:55 PM
I guess we can safely assume that you aren't black.

Oh noe u di'int!!!

loochy
04-05-2012, 01:35 PM
Oh noe u di'int!!!

FOR TRAYVON!

Sofa King
04-05-2012, 02:11 PM
I'd donate it all to CP.

Then I'd damn sure expect to actually be able to ban the dumbass trolls like eric007 and Mr. Plow.

Marcellus
04-05-2012, 02:15 PM
Would I be happy? I dont know but I would love to give it a shot to see...................

crispystl420
04-05-2012, 07:33 PM
I'd donate it all to CP.

Then I'd damn sure expect to actually be able to ban the dumbass trolls like eric007 and Mr. Plow.

Lol Mr Plow? What did he ever do wrong?