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Ultra-Wealthy Expenditures: Have Money, Will Travel

On what did the ultra-wealthy spend their money over the past year? Enhancement and enrichment were priorities (as were vacations, clothing and jewelry).

| BY Donald Liebenson

The majority of $25 Million Plus households self-report that saving and investing their money gives them greater satisfaction than spending it, according to a Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner wealth level study.  Roughly half (49 percent) attribute their happiness in large part to the wealth they have accumulated.

But spend they do, and a look at their expenditures over the past year finds that enhancement and enrichment were priorities, (as were vacations, clothes and jewelry).

The highest percentage of ultra-wealthy households (64 percent) spend up to $9,999 on the arts, such as symphony concerts, followed by:

  • Clothing (62 percent)
  • Sporting events (59 percent)
  • Jewelry (53 percent)
  • Household staff (48 percent)
  • Political contributions (43 percent)
  • Club memberships (38 percent)
  • Charitable contributions (37 percent)
  • Home improvement (37 percent)
  • Collectibles (36 percent)

Of expenditures in the $10,000-$24,999 range, the highest percentage (31 percent) of ultra-wealthy households spend on vacations or leisure travel, followed by home improvement (24 percent) charitable contributions (22 percent), and clothing (20 percent).

As spending escalates, the ultra-wealthy spend the most dollars, again, on vacations. Fourteen percent spend between $50,000 and $99,999 on their travels, followed by home improvement (9 percent) and automobiles, club memberships and household staff (8 percent each).

The desire to give back is strong in the ultra-wealthy. Of a yearly expenditure of $100,000 or more, the highest percentage (12 percent) spent it on charitable contributions. An equal percentage also reports spending this amount on home improvement in the past year.

On what are the ultra-wealthy not spending their money? Primarily, it’s boats. In the past year, nearly eight-in-ten $25 Million Plus households (77 percent) reported they did not purchase a boat, while two-thirds said they spent nothing on gambling. Forty-two percent report spending nothing on political contributions, while 40 percent shell out nothing on collectibles.

About the Author

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.