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Super Rich: Smart or Stupid?

 "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" is my new TV addiction because I get to, number one, vicariously live a filthy rich life and, number two, imagine that I could duplicate how they actually did it.

This week I watched an episode with luxury yachts, luxury cars, luxury homes and an entire home that is a luxury closet. Plus there were the world's most lavish safes and a man who makes everything from fishing lures to toothpicks out of 100% gold.
I realized that these people were living by a different set of rules - some smart from a branding point of view, others not so much. 

1. Smart - The Yacht People: One guy on the show is a well known party organizer. He's the one who stocks the bar with gold-flecked champagne. He told the interviewer that the value of his parties lies not in the food and drink, but in the company and the atmosphere. Clients are paying for someone who can get the right high-class people in a rolm, make them feel good, and bring them back over and over again.

2. Stupid - The Empty Houses: A few people on the show had lavish homes that were sitting empty. It was hard to believe that anyone would spend, spend, and spend some more on a stunning place they did not even inhabit. You could make the home a museum and charge admission. You could turn it into an orphanage. You could use it as a school, company headquarters, or even a design lab. But to plant olive trees and spray them so they don't yield fruit and mess up the look of the grounds? Crazy! And when they interviewed one of the owners of such a home, it was clear the whole place meant absolutely nothing to him. Somebody sold somebody the Brooklyn Bridge on that one. A case of having more money than you know what to do with.

3. Smart - The Bulletproof Mercedes: One company tricks out the already-luxury car and adds glass that can withstand an AK-47. The customers are celebrities who want a subtle status symbol and also walk around in fear for their lives. Makes sense to me.

4. Stupid - The House-Sized Closet: On the show, this one lady was shown joyfully running around her insanely huge clothing space. She was about fifty years old, but looked like a child. Whatever she was buying when she bought that space, it seemed totally useless to me. Regressive and no status benefit. 

5. Smart - The Titanium Safe: They hd a company that makes super-strong safes that are also pieces of art. One customer didn't even know what he would use it for. But I could see why having this functional, stylish, hard-to-get status item around made a lot of sense to the buyer. 

At the end of the day the reasons why people buy super-premium things vary. Although we can isolate some general patterns, often it is simply remain a mystery, locked in the buyer's head.

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Copyright 2015 by Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions my own. Photo by me.

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