From personal Christmas tree decorators to one's own in-house first-run movie theatre, the ultra-wealthy, put their wealth to some amusing and amazing uses.
“There are people who have money and people who are rich,” French fashion designer Coco Chanel once observed. And the rich, as we all know from F. Scott Fitzgerald, are different from you and me (unless you are rich, too; in which case, they are just different from me).
Ultra high net worth households put their wealth to some amusing and amazing uses. For example, Bob Pranga, aka Dr. Christmas, is a holiday decorator for the Los Angeles’ social elite and A-list luminaries (Kathy Hilton, Mia Farrow and Kirstie Alley have reportedly been clients). For between $2,500 to $80,000, according to CNN, Pranga will deck your halls (indeed, the entire house) with the Christmas tree as the centerpiece. The top end is normally charged for a large home with space for two to three trees, a grand staircase and “several mantles that need garland, elaborate wreaths, decorative tabletops and a lot of high-design items, like tree skirts and $100 European ornaments,” CNN reports.
And sure, you could go to a theatre to see “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Ted 2,” or the hotly anticipated Amy Schumer comedy, “Trainwreck.” Or you could wait six months after they are released in theatres and catch up to them on DVD or cable. Or you could become a member of Prima Cinema, and for $35,000 to install the equipment and about $500 for a single screening, you could watch them in your own home theatre.
While most of us could swing $20 to have a neighbor’s child shovel the driveway, the ultra-wealthy can afford to pay $10,000 or more to spring for a heated driveway that melts the snow on contact.
Do you charge more than $250,000? Then you might be invited by American Express to become a Centurian (aka the BlackCard), Card member. Initiation is $7,500; the annual fee is $2,500. But for that, you get an astronomical credit limit. Reportedly, one cardholder used the Centurion to buy a $300,000 Bentley. This is not to mention entry into the luxurious American Express airport lounges or the free 24/7 services of a concierge.
High Net Worth travelers fly higher than regular passengers. CNBC reports that Singapore Airlines’ A380s have first-class suites that contain actual beds and Givenchy linens. Austrian Airways has on board a private chef for its premium pasengers.
Guests of the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills who book the Royal Suite, Presidential Suite East or Presidential Suite West (from about $9,000 to $11,000 a night “when they are available,” a staff member underlined) have access to a fleet of the world’s most glamorous cars, including a Rolls Royce Phantom, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mercedes-Benz SLS, Mercedes-Benz S600 or Porsche 997.
It’s like what Mark Cuban said: “I don’t care what anybody says. Being rich is a good thing.”
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.