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Old 10-04-2019, 10:41 AM
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How much ready-on-hand cash do people like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have at any moment?


Obviously, this question can't be answered without doing an audit of their personal finances, which would be illegal or impossible. But generally, how much cash do the super-rich like Bezos or Gates have at any moment? (Not necessarily physical cash, but like, money in a checking account in a bank - money that does not have to be first liquidated in some way or other.)

If Gates wants to buy a luxury yacht today, can he just log into an online bank account and transfer $100 million on the spot to the yacht seller, within seconds?
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:33 AM
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At some point you become the bank and your credit stands on its own. A luxury yacht would be an inconsequential purchase for someone like Gates, Buffet or Bezos. Their accountant would just handle it along with the grocery bill. Buying another company is a different matter and a team of lawyers, accountants and industry specific experts would get involved in making sure they had the funding to cover the deal.

If they just wanted to pay cash because it makes them feel like a common multi millionaire I guess he could get an American Express Black card.

Last edited by Si Amigo; 10-04-2019 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:34 PM
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If Gates wants to buy a luxury yacht today, can he just log into an online bank account and transfer $100 million on the spot to the yacht seller, within seconds?
First off, that's not how you buy a yacht, but setting that aside...

Depends on the millionaire. Finance types like Buffett are all about "opportunity cost" and would rather have the money invested than just sitting in a bank. He'd have to liquidate some asset to pay that much.

An entertainment type would likely keep the FDIC limit in a money-market checking account so it earns a little something, but is readily available when they want to flex (as the young folks put it).

For everyone else, as the saying goes, there's Mastercard or its equivalents.
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:54 PM
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According to this article, filthy-stinking-rich-and-everybody-knows-it-type-people generally have no use for cash. Either their credit precedes them or they are surrounded by an entourage of assistants who will take care of any gory details like paying the bill.

Not to mention the fact that when you're filthy stinking rich and/or exceedingly famous, you frequently get comped, even though you're someone who can very much pay their own way.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index....-gates-wallet/
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:09 PM
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Either their credit precedes them or they are surrounded by an entourage of assistants who will take care of any gory details like paying the bill.
Unless he wants he want a burger. In that case, Bill has to stand in line just like the rest of us.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:23 PM
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Unless he wants he want a burger. In that case, Bill has to stand in line just like the rest of us.
That is not a matter of cash. If he were super busy he would send an assistant out to fetch lunch (or groceries, clothes, or anything else he might need) so as to maximize his own productivity. He must be slowing down.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:36 PM
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First off, that's not how you buy a yacht, but setting that aside...

Depends on the millionaire. Finance types like Buffett are all about "opportunity cost" and would rather have the money invested than just sitting in a bank. He'd have to liquidate some asset to pay that much.

An entertainment type would likely keep the FDIC limit in a money-market checking account so it earns a little something, but is readily available when they want to flex (as the young folks put it).

For everyone else, as the saying goes, there's Mastercard or its equivalents.
But the OP is asking about *billionaires*. I know we often lump multimillionaires in with multibillionares and call them all "super rich" but comparing Warren Buffett to even the wealthiest of wealthy "entertainers" is to compare apples and oranges. You need certain qualities, strengths and knowledge (as well as opportunity) in order to accumulate Bezos or Gates level wealth. I think that in the process of attaining those riches, they all must learn that "flashy" big purchases and "flexing" just to show how much money you have, is *not* conducive to building their empires. Even the wealthiest of "entertainment celebrities" that are technically billionaires (Jay-Z) accumulated most of their wealth thru non-entertainment business outgrowths from their successful careers as entertainers. Im specifically leaving out billionaires such as Spielberg and George Lucas as they aren't in the same category of "entertainer" as is usually meant by the term.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:44 PM
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One day, I was at a University of Washington cafeteria, and Paul Allen was in line ahead of me with a bunch of students (computing students I think, obviously an outreach/mentor thing). He pulled out a Campus card to pay for them all (one of those student/faculty ID cards that you can charge up with $) but it declined. The cashier said "do you have anything else? This one's out of credits." He kind of chuckled and said "do you know who I am?" (in a nice, self-deprecating way) and pulled out a credit card (I didn't see it, but it didn't look black or out-of-the-ordinary).

I'm forever kicking myself that I wasn't fast enough to thrust my credit card forward so I could say I bought Paul Allen lunch...
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:55 PM
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Bezos, instead of buying a yacht, is buying his own spaceship company. But he didn't actually buy it, he invested money into it, essentially building it from scratch. Some years ago he claimed he was putting about $1 billion a year into it. AIUI, the money comes from selling Amazon stock.

At any rate, it's different than Elon Musk and SpaceX, since SpaceX has other investors who own large chunks of it. Bezos apparently owns Blue Origin outright.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:14 PM
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Well below Bezos and Gates level wealth people will have credit cards with really high limits. You could buy most cars and some yachts that way. There isn't much anyone needs to pay cash for that exceeds those limits. They will also have household bank accounts with ready cash in them, they probably never touch them personally though.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:34 PM
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Either gentleman is likely to have a billion or more in a personal stock account. Unless they're heavily margined, the spending power of such an account would be in the hundreds of millions even if there's no cash. They only need to write a check, use a piece of plastic, or telephone in Swift and account codes.

I think we can assume these big players would pay interest near prime commercial rate, not the exorbitant rates charged retail investors. They might sell some stock and pay off the loan a few days later.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:46 PM
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Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are duplicate bridge players, who often partner up to play in the Nebraska Regional. I suspect, but am not sure, that they pay pull out their wallets to pay their entry fees in cash. I'll bet they stand in line to buy their entry just like everyone else.

Bridge is a very egalitarian game.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:46 PM
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The takeaway from this thread: cash is for us lowly peons.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:48 PM
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I suspect that many ultra-rich businessmen who want a yacht or a private plane, or some other similarly extravagant object, would arrange for their businesses to buy it or set up a corporation specifically for the purpose of acquiring it. Then they can deduct it as a business expense and lease it to other slightly less rich people when they're not using it.

I know of a billionaire who owns 15-20 business jets that he leases out, some of which (including a highly customized Airbus A-345) he uses for personal travel whenever he wants. He also has a $70 million, 300-foot yacht that is available for rent (only $2 million per week) whenever he's not using it, which is probably at least 50 weeks out of the year.

Why own big-ticket items like these, which you will not be using most of the time, and not make money off them?
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Old 10-04-2019, 05:42 PM
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Why own big-ticket items like these, which you will not be using most of the time, and not make money off them?
And isn't that one of the most infuriating things about rich people? When you're already rich, it's stupid easy to make tons more.
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Old 10-04-2019, 05:45 PM
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The more you have, the more you are given. The more you need, the less you are given. The American Way.
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Old 10-04-2019, 05:48 PM
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The more you have, the more you are given. The more you need, the less you are given. The American Way.
The Matthew Principle.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:05 PM
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That's an interesting read. Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:29 PM
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Rich people don't need cash, because they have debt.

I'm not "rich rich" by any stretch of the imagination, but one thing I've found as my wealth entered "comfortable" territory is that cheap debt became very easy to come by. And why not? The bank that holds many of my assets is happy to give me a loan backed by those assets. It's safer than a mortgage, because the value in a house can be more easily destroyed than a boatload of stocks.

So Gates doesn't need cash, but he probably does have a 9-digit credit line with someone that he can use to pay any incidentals.
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:54 AM
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I live about 2 miles from Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and quite a few 100 millionaires. There is (or was) a Tully's coffee in Medina WA, which is where these folks live, and is about the only public meeting place. Anyhoo, I was in there once with my family about 8 years ago, and in walks Steve Ballmer by himself talking on his mobile phone. I tell my family in Chinese that the CEO of Microsoft and a billionaire was in the shop getting something to drink. Eldest kidlet "he dresses worse that you do Dad". SteveB was wearing ratty shorts and a well washed polo shirt. Unfortunately, my back was to the counter, and I couldn't see if he paid with cash, credit card or was comped.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:22 AM
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i heard Microsoft had a "bill's petty cash account" because even before he made millions hed often forget to carry any type of money and he'd often take a group he was working or meeting with out to lunch only to realize he didn't have any money/cards on him so hed ask to "borrow some" until they got back to the office

So they kept some in the office for him to"borrow" from a secretary/assistant whod get paid back eventually and they just added it to the fund....
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:34 AM
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i heard Microsoft had a "bill's petty cash account" because even before he made millions hed often forget to carry any type of money
*Before* he made his millions he had a petty cash account? That statement would seem a whole lot more meaningful if "before" was instead "after".
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:51 AM
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I read that "every billionaire is a policy failure" and "nobody becomes a billionaire honestly", JK Rowling excepted. I've not mixed with that crowd so I've no idea of their purchasing power and habits -- although I'm told by one who knows that a certain America's Cup contestant is an unpleasant fellow. Another prominent self-proclaimed billionaire is known to steal tips from his hostelries' wait staff, even from the documented servers.

Do billionaires regularly whip out credit or debit cards? Is there a gender disparity? I suppose a few more account hackings might reveal such details.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:09 AM
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If Gates wants to buy a luxury yacht today, can he just log into an online bank account and transfer $100 million on the spot to the yacht seller, within seconds?
I have no yacht experience but I helped a former client buyback private jet. The jet was ordered a couple of years in advance and built to his specifications, which included interior finishings, custom paint, and things like navigation etc. He consulted with his pilot on the flying bits. He paid some money up front by liquidating stocks and we set up a liquidity plan for the rest since he was going to make payments in stages as the plane was completed. I think it was roughly 10% down, 50% at the start of construction, a payment when the engines were delivered, and the remainder on delivery.

He knew roughly when these payments were coming so the portfolio was structured to have the liquidity he needed when he needed it. He didn't just keep all the money in Treasury bills for a few years. I'm guessing yachts work roughly the same way.
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Old 10-05-2019, 01:39 PM
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Any firm large enough to handle billions will have its own internal system for allowing its customers to move their money around. A firm like Merrill Lynch will have its own checks just like any bank. Most accounts will keep a small percentage in cash that can be drawn upon. That's handy for personal expenses or to make stock or other purchases without having to sell off current holdings.

Would Gates have $100 million in such an account? No idea. Would he have $100 million in some form that would be transferable to that account in a day or two? Almost guaranteed.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:38 PM
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[QUOTE=Tired and Cranky;21899411The jet was ordered a couple of years in advance and built to his specifications, which included interior finishings, custom paint, and things like navigation etc.[/QUOTE]

I wonder how this will work with the current, younger, generations? Even me, as an X-er, want my things "now!" The idea of giving you money for something a few years away is preposterous. Note: that's for depreciating assets. Investing in a new plant that might produce profits in two years is totally cool.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:55 PM
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...If Gates wants to buy a luxury yacht today, can he just log into an online bank account and transfer $100 million on the spot to the yacht seller, within seconds?
In 1999 Mark Cuban had just sold Yahoo for $2 billion and wanted to buy a $40 million Gulfstream jet. Instead of going through a broker or having someone else do it, he found one on eBay he liked, had his pilot test fly it, then wired them the money. It is still the largest single e-commerce transaction.

That is about $62 million in current dollars.

https://beam.land/aviation/e-commerc...et-online-1208
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:16 PM
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Rich people don't need cash, because they have debt.

I'm not "rich rich" by any stretch of the imagination, but one thing I've found as my wealth entered "comfortable" territory is that cheap debt became very easy to come by. And why not? The bank that holds many of my assets is happy to give me a loan backed by those assets. It's safer than a mortgage, because the value in a house can be more easily destroyed than a boatload of stocks.

So Gates doesn't need cash, but he probably does have a 9-digit credit line with someone that he can use to pay any incidentals.
Exactly. A billionaire might not carry cash because he doesn't need or use it. Some might line up for burgers or stop at the local equivalent of Starbucks, but "working" billionaires are probably too busy with meetings, calls, and travel to have the time to just wander into a store or restaurant. As they are working, they have help who take care of the details. His gopher Bob will order food, arrange for deliver, pay for it with a corporate card, and if cash money is needed, submit an expense claim. After all, the rich are no different from you and I - if more than $20 is called for, rarely is plastic NOT an option.

If they are in the habit of going out on their own for burgers, they probably carry cash at that time. (They might forget once in a while).

If it's something that requires serious plastic, say $1,000 to $20,000 or more, they probably are doing this with an assistant in the wings who has the necessary plastic if they don't. Beyond that, they have a line of credit arrangement of some sort wherever their money is parked so they can on a whim buy that $2M supercar or speedboat or rent the top floor of the hotel for the month. When you get into the millions, if they don't make the arrangements, they have accounting minions who will shuffle the investments to make it happen. Usually multi-million dollar items like private jets are financed rather than bought outright. (A jet is a good investment because usually it is worth close to the same years later, unlike a car which depreciates the moment it's driven off the lot).

JFK was notorious for not having cash on him, particularly when president, and expecting his handlers to take care of money.

I read a book a few years ago called "Richistan". The Super-rich live in a different world. the author mentions different tiers. There's the regular rich - typical ordinary CEO makes a few million a year plus bonus, has tens of millions socked away, and can fly first class, has a executive assistant to help with arrangements and can afford most things without question - a flight on short notice first class, a vacation stay anywhere in the world, whatever house they want to buy, any car, etc.

Then there's the super rich, the near billionaire and better. They don't have to mix with the hoi poli, they have a staff dedicated to smoothing the way. They tell them what they want, and the staff take care of details. They fly private jets, not even first class. They own houses (mansions) all over the world. When they plan to go to one, the staff makes sure the place is cleaned and ready, the fridges are stocked with their favourites, the Escalade is waiting to whisk them from the airport, their luggage is packed for them and unpacked at the destination. And - any staff have signed non-disclosure agreements... They want to go skiing in Aspen? A suite is booked, ski outfits and equipment is waiting. Going to Venice? Private speedboat whisks you to a personal villa and tickets for the film festival are waiting. Rarely do entertainers or mere CEO's fall in this category. In this category, a minion would have the accountant on speed dial.

There's the notorious documentary of Michael Jackson, in one scene he's shopping in Vegas. "I want that, that, that..." he points to schlock in an artsy shop. He pays nothing, the shop wraps it and ships it and his minions make payment arrangements.

Last edited by md2000; 10-05-2019 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:55 PM
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There are the generationally rich. I've known a few. For them, money does not enter into the equation. Want a Tesla 3 because you've heard about it? Well, just buy it and who cares if it's $100k when the list is $35k if you won the lottery.

July and you feel like skiing? Just go. There's New Zealand and S American with resorts, whaddya feel like? Your jet or mine?

I forget the name of the poster. He grew up with wealth. Family wanted the family dog to go with them on a vacation in Mexico, so hired a private jet just for convenience. Because it's not in the money equation. And that's a different tier from having your own private 747 on stand-by.

Then again, self made billionaires, after a decade or three of being a billionaire are a bit more down to earth. I remember the CEO of a global manufacturing company, who's wife suddenly became enamored with the NBA finals (LA and someone about 8 years ago) at the last minute. They just freed up the calendar and had awesome tickets at the last minute for every final. The cost was immaterial and never entered into the equation of go or no go.

I remember being part of the handlers at a conversation between then MSFT CEO Steve Ballmer and a major manufacturing CEO conversation comparing the merits and sizes of their respective Bombardier jets capable of flying across the pacific ocean. Ballmer was "I'm a big guy, I need the largest one they have." Said manufacturing CEO landed his private jet at a private airfield in Seattle, only to learn that Ballmer was in Vegas, so he just turned the plane around and flew to the private plane airport in Vegas where he had staff ready and waiting to whisk him over to meet Steve. On a separate visit with that same manufacturing CEO in Vegas, the hotel where he was staying at arranged for a brand spanking new Bentley stretch limo to take him across the street from one casino where the meeting was held, and the other casino across the street where he was staying in a private set of bungalows with his family and nannies. It literally took us about 2 minutes faster to walk to the waiting Bentley than it took to actually walk to his hotel (We had done the 5 minute walk from his hotel over to the meeting hotel an hour earlier). Just part of the service for a valued guest that on occaision plays a million dollars a hand.
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Old 10-06-2019, 02:38 PM
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I wonder how this will work with the current, younger, generations? Even me, as an X-er, want my things "now!" The idea of giving you money for something a few years away is preposterous. Note: that's for depreciating assets. Investing in a new plant that might produce profits in two years is totally cool.
Even then there was a market for the impatient to buy their way to the front of the line. People like my client could basically sell their plane before they took delivery at any point in the production process to other people who didn't want to wait. The cost of new planes tended to rise over time so there was some built-in appreciation even for an undelivered plane. If the waiting list remained long, buyers would pay a premium above that to someone with an earlier production date. I know I read about this happening but have no personal experience with it.

I'd also forgotten entirely that my client didn't pay cash for the whole plane. There was some secured lending involved but I wasn't involved in arranging for that and don't remember the details.
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Old 10-06-2019, 02:57 PM
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If a billionaire doesn't carry cash, it's because he or she has no chance to use it. And it's not because they are rich and snooty, but because they are at risk for kidnapping, extortion, robbery, etc. So they often travel with security and the people they travel with handle mundane purchases.

This is the same reason why Presidents don't carry cash. It's why Hillary hasn't driven a car for 20 years, and why a president can get confused in a grocery store. Rich and powerful people often become isolated whether they want to or not.

As for being easier to make lots of money when you are rich... It's also easier to lose a lot of money. Elon Musk was one failed rocket launch away from bankruptcy when he first tried to launch orbital rockets.

Lots more rich people would lose their money if governments weren't in the habit of bailing them out when they get into financial trouble. That's the real problem.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:10 PM
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There are the generationally rich. I've known a few. For them, money does not enter into the equation. [...] On a separate visit with that same manufacturing CEO in Vegas, the hotel where he was staying at arranged for a brand spanking new Bentley stretch limo to take him across the street from one casino where the meeting was held, and the other casino across the street where he was staying in a private set of bungalows with his family and nannies. [...] Just part of the service for a valued guest that on occaision plays a million dollars a hand.
A Bentley stretch limo is the most tasteless and absurd thing I can imagine, I hope you made that one up. I refuse to believe they make them in Crewe.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:52 PM
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A Bentley stretch limo is the most tasteless and absurd thing I can imagine, I hope you made that one up. I refuse to believe they make them in Crewe.
It doesn't matter if Bentley has good taste. Someone somewhere in America will take any vehicle and make it stretch, or ludicrously stretch, depending on the current owner's whims. It likely is not practical... but who cares?

The rich don't carry money for the same reason you and I don't - you don't need it. Anything over $20 is plastic nowadays unless your credit score sucks. (Guess whose credit score really really does NOT suck?)

Plus, given the amount of money they can throw around, they have people who take care of these details and paying the bills for them. Who needs money for a cab when someone has arranged a limo? Just like the boss at the office doesn't need cash, just can tell the intern "get me a Frappe latte mochachino" (whatever the hell that is) and the intern get reimbursed by the executive assistant from petty cash coming back from Starbucks.

I suspect people who spent their formative years not well off probably have a different perspective, but I'm sure most appreciate the convenience of having it all done for them.

it's a completely different mindset when what we perceive as expensive is price irrelevant. Want to go to Hawaii? There's almost always an open seat in First class; if not hire a private jet. By the time you put 8 people in the jet, it's probably not much more than first class. That sort of expenditure is like you deciding whether you want to spend $3 on that Starbucks drink.

Put it into perspective. Imagine making $1M a year clear. that's $20,000 a week. Try to imagine spending that much. Now imagine it's $200,000 a week. The new Tesla looks cool? Buy one. It's going to eat up a week's income or less. Want a $5M apartment in Manhattan? a mortgage at 5% means about $250,000 a year, or $20,000 a month. Or, shuffle your investment and buy it outright. Or ask your accountant to handle the details. He'll tell you if you're overdoing it... unless you're Michael Jackson, apparently he spent like a drunken sailor until he was way over his head because his minders didn't have the guts to warn him. Now that he's dead, he's not spending and he's never been richer.

I'm also reminded of Warren Buffet's comments about money and his kids "I gave them enough money that they could do anything - but no so much that they could be nothing."

But for the OP's answer - depending on how complex their assets are, either their accountant or banker will take care of any big expenditures - line of credit or shuffle and liquidate some investments. I presume the accountant knows their boss, and whether it's prudent to have a how much sitting in easily liquidated assets (like bonds). For really big assets - real estate, yacht, jet - these can be financed and represent a regular payment, not a lump sum - since they tend to hold plenty of value and can be sold for much of the original price when necessary.
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Old 10-07-2019, 01:09 PM
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I'm also reminded of Warren Buffet's comments about money and his kids "I gave them enough money that they could do anything - but no so much that they could be nothing."
In college and in the post-college years, I knew a few people who had small trust funds. (I never knew the exact amounts but this was probably a million or two. They seemed much less driven to find a job after graduating than those of us who had student loans and other bills to pay. One is still, after three decades, still self-employed, making very little money but living extremely frugally. I think his goal was never to have a conventional job.
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:56 PM
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Mike Ashley, a British billionaire, pulled out a wad of 50's you could choke a horse with when he was searched in front of a tv crew while showing some dignitaries around his sports warehouse.


https://www.joe.co.uk/news/mike-ashley-84454
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Old 10-07-2019, 04:08 PM
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Then there's the super rich, the near billionaire and better. They don't have to mix with the hoi poli, they have a staff dedicated to smoothing the way. They tell them what they want, and the staff take care of details. They fly private jets, not even first class. They own houses (mansions) all over the world. When they plan to go to one, the staff makes sure the place is cleaned and ready, the fridges are stocked with their favourites, the Escalade is waiting to whisk them from the airport, their luggage is packed for them and unpacked at the destination. And - any staff have signed non-disclosure agreements... They want to go skiing in Aspen? A suite is booked, ski outfits and equipment is waiting. Going to Venice? Private speedboat whisks you to a personal villa and tickets for the film festival are waiting. Rarely do entertainers or mere CEO's fall in this category. In this category, a minion would have the accountant on speed dial.
Kevin Smith had an interesting encounter with that when he briefly worked with Prince.

Prince has been living in Princeworld for some time now.
  #37  
Old 10-08-2019, 05:16 AM
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Long prelude for context, but you can scroll down to blue text.

I've got a friend who is pretty wealthy. She got a wad of money from her family, but sha has also worked hard to grow it. I'm not sure how much her entire holdings are worth, but I know she own a pretty big house here, rents an apartment in New York that she doesn't stay in all that often. She sublets when she's not there, and undercharges the tenants, makes up the different with the landlord, and the understanding is that if she wants to use the place, she gives them two weeks notice that they have to find other accommodations, or move to the storage room upstairs, which once upon a time was the servant's quarters. Yeah, it's that nice an apartment.

She also has a small-ish (for someone of her means) in California which she rents (again, very low) to a family with two children who are from Haiti, and probably thought they'd won the lottery when they hooked up wit her. The master bedroom is hers, and they use the other two. Keeping the house occupied is in her best interests, because it actually keeps her insurance low (apparently enough to make up for the hit she takes on the rent. Moreover, when she's there, they do who laundry, cook for her, and clean the house, including vacuuming her room, cleaning her bathroom, etc.

I visited her their once. FTR, she treats them very well. The kids call hr "Aunt," and she gives them birthday and Christmas presents.

She's go two cars in Indy (I actually met her at a car museum, then I helped her fix something on her Bel Air), a Tesla and a 56 Bel Air, and a Prius in Cali. No car in NYC.

We turned out to have something else in common-- she also collects pinball machines, except she's really serious about it. And she's got a full set of cocktail-top arcade games.

She also collects vintage musical inastruments, and gold coins from around the world.

I'm going into such detail, to show that yes, in fact, she is rich. She is not Bill Gates rich, but she does have an endowed foundations. One gives tuition money to highly rated (and usually highly expensive) pre-schools to use for families living below the poverty live, or with a parent on disability. The other one gives money to families with older foster children who will turn 18 before they finish high school, so the kids can continue to be supported through graduation (or if the families won't keep them, even with financial help, to help the kids themselves stay on their feet, and support them so they will finish high school.

OK. She's not Richie Rich. But I'd guess the totality of her holdings are between $5-10,000,000.00. You'd recognize her last nam ihyjn8ue as being associated with an Indiana family (NOT the Pences, and not the Jacksons), so I'm just going to call her T. Anyway, like I said, her family gave her generous seed money when she finished college, but she built it by about 400%.

OK. Here's my point: I would never ask someone about their financial situation unless 1) they had just proposed; 2) wanted to go into business with me; C) just asked to borrow more than $100 from me.

But once when I was having coffee with T, and a couple of other friends, someone just bluntly asked her "How much money do you really have?

T: Depends on what you mean by have. In my pockets? In my debit card account? Plus the annuity I'm building for retirement? How much would I have if I liquidated my entire holdings?

Nosy: How much cash could you get hold of in ten minutes?

T: 10 minutes? About $50,000 in cashier's checks, or about $12,000 in cash.

Nosy: What about an hour?

This went on, with me trying ro make myself smaller and smaller, but it went something like this:

1 hr.: $1,500,000
24 hrs: $2,500,000
a week: $4,000,000

Then she said that above one hours were estimates because markets change, and for the same it was impossible to give anything but a ballpark figure fo liquidating all of her assets, or something like all but one living space and enough money to live frugally for a year, and it would probably take a year to do, and there would be a number before paying all the lawyers and accountants, and a number after paying the lawyers. And she wasn't going to tell her any of those numbers, because she didn't want to hire a bodyguard for her dog.

Then she said she had $6 in her pockets in ones, in case she needed to tip someone, and she carried two credit cards, one with a $700 limit, and one with a $10,000 limit, and a debit card, and what she had in the bank fluctuated.


So the answer it "it varies." Some people like to carry cash, and some don't. Another person I know who is wealthy, albeit, more like makes 2k a year, lives below is means, and invests conservatively. All he ever carries is a credit card with a $1,000, which he uses for absolutely, gas, food. He says it keeps down his impulse spending. He pays in it full twice a month, after each paycheck. He never has any ready cash-on-hand.

On the other hand, I know an auto mechanic who has such horrible credit, he can't get a bank account. He finally got one of those secured debit cards that is check can be deposited into. He used to have to cash his paychecks at those places with the sigh that said "CHECK CASHING! MONEY ORDERS!" and charged him 10%. The debit card charges him only something like 2%, plus a flat monthly fee that like $19.

Now, HE carries LOTS of cash. When he withdraws cash from an ATM, he withdraws A LOT, to minimize the "foreign ATM fees he pays.

I would say "How much can you get together in a day" is a better standard, because it means emptying all bank accounts, CD, annuities, other retirement accounts and PERSONAL stock holdings, but not selling future potential earnings (other than retirement accounts that are not ALSO current sources of income, living space, and valuables that need to be auctioned, and can't be sold in a day, except for far, far less than their value.
  #38  
Old 10-08-2019, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by epbrown01 View Post
First off, that's not how you buy a yacht, but setting that aside...
Well, that's how MBS buys one. To the tune of over half a billion dollars, the deal completed in a matter of hours shortly after he spied it offshore while vacationing in France. (Much better link at the NYT, but may be paywalled)
  #39  
Old 10-08-2019, 08:14 AM
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Well, that's how MBS buys one. To the tune of over half a billion dollars
I don't know if I'd count the antics of wealthy Saudis as they're pretty well known for gratuitous flexing, so that's an outlier. For most wealthy people, such purchases tend to involve hours just selecting available options and waiting months or years for the final acquisition.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:14 AM
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Then she said she had $6 in her pockets in ones, in case she needed to tip someone, ...
One thing I read said that the born rich/always rich are horrible tippers, while the people who were poor and made themselves rich are a lot more generous. I would imagine that someone moving in the world where service help is the norm would need more than $6 a day for tips. I presume at that point where tips exceed $1 she adds it onto the credit card slip instead. She sounds pretty level-headed.

Money is the last atboo subject in America.

Last edited by md2000; 10-08-2019 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:02 AM
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BTW, I think it was a stretch Bentley. It was brand spanking new and it was really big. Maybe it was a Bentley standard and not a stretch.

Adding on to my previous post. The manufacturing company CEO with the Bentley above is a multi billionaire. When I was walking him from his meeting to the Bentley, he stopped at the cashier's and broke a couple of hundreds for twenties. He commented that he needed to give out little tips. So, he carried around some cash. Sorry to say I can't remember if he had a money clip or a wallet.

For context, he's Asian (most countries still use a lot of cash), a self made billionaire, and runs a manufacturing company with razor thin margins that watches every penny like a hawk.
  #42  
Old 10-09-2019, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Pardel-Lux View Post
A Bentley stretch limo is the most tasteless and absurd thing I can imagine
Mulsanne Grand Limousine:
Quote:
Its creation involved extending the wheelbase and body of the original Mulsanne by 1,000 mm, as well as adding 79 mm in headroom in the rear, to create a passenger experience like no other.
...
Unlike traditional ‘stretched’ limousines, it has been carefully designed to preserve the Mulsanne’s effortless lines and aesthetic purity. The result is the longest manufacturer-built limousine in the world, its shape adapted beautifully to the length of its wheelbase
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:47 PM
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Unless he wants he want a burger. In that case, Bill has to stand in line just like the rest of us.
And when he visits the "three-dollar theater" like he was occasionally known to do when I too lived in Seattle, he's got to have 3 bucks on him.
  #44  
Old 10-09-2019, 07:41 PM
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Over the course of the past 13 years, I've worked on many helicopters belonging to high net worth individuals... at least one of whom was named previously in this thread. It's been almost 50-50 on the number that are owned by a corporation (almost always a Delaware corporation, sometimes simply named "Nxxxxx, LLC" [where Nxxxxx is the FAA registration of the aircraft]), and the number that are owned by a bank (Wells Fargo is the one that I recall seeing most frequently).

Currently, the two helicopters my employer maintains for HNWIs are both owned by Delaware corporations. Both of them also own bizjets, which are owned by Delaware corporations that are separate from the ones that own the helicopters.
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  #45  
Old 10-09-2019, 11:19 PM
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Delaware has interestingly generous rules for corporations. (oops, almost type coprorations).

Plus, assets like aircraft and yachts don't depreciate much compared to other assets. So it makes sense to finance them and reap the capital gains when they sell. So, keep their finances separate from the rest of your typical billionaire's wallet, it's cleaner that way. Pay your corporation when you do take a flight. If necessary, leas it to a service that rents it out to others when you won't need it and make more money. (IIRC, when he was still in the primaries, Trump had the campaign and the RNC pay him to use his big jet. Political comments aside, it was making money for the jet's corporation.)
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:28 PM
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The takeaway from this thread: cash is for us lowly peons.
I have a couple of non-peon friends, and I end up bailing them out with cash when they've forgotten that the local greasy spoon diners take... greenback dollars only. And all they have is some pretentious Molybdenum Amex card.
  #47  
Old 10-10-2019, 09:21 AM
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I have a couple of non-peon friends, and I end up bailing them out with cash when they've forgotten that the local greasy spoon diners take... greenback dollars only. And all they have is some pretentious Molybdenum Amex card.
It's been a long long long long time since I ran across an established business that doesn't take plastic. Typically that's only pop-up things like street fairs and special event parking. (But then. the Canadian banking system is usually a few years ahead of the USA)

But again, to be repetitive, billionaires don't need ready cash. They use their assets to offset any money they need someone to front them, and banks are happy to oblige. To see how this works out, take a lesson from Michael Jackson. He made money hand over fist, spent like a drunken sailor. Some spending was quite useful - he bought the Beatles' catalog which was an on-going money-maker. He had a back catalog of his own songs, which to this day continue to make money. For any big purchase, he went to some banks somewhere and they were happy to advance him cash against future income.

However, he went too far. As I mentioned - in that first documentary, they not only showed Neverland in all its extravagance, but showed him walking through some artsy schlock shop buying this and that (African masks, 3-foot brass elephant, that sort of thing). He said "I want that, that, that..." and the store boxed it up, sent it to Neverland along with the bill. The banks began to get worried he owed too much. They started demanding specific security - i.e. we won't actually buy the Beatles' music rights, but you agree their income will be directed specifically to our loans first until they are paid off; about as close to a mortgage as one gets.

(When I was in Dubai and took a boat tour around the Palm, the tour guide mentioned that the room over the arch in the Atlantis cost $79,000 a night and Michael Jackson stayed there once for a while...)

Once he died (and so stopped spending like crazy) trustees sorted out his debts and income, paid down his loans, and his(?) kids are well off.

That's how billionaires spend when they want to. They say what they want, and someone makes the arrangements for them, and unless they want to get involved, they are not bothered with the details unless it means significant changes in the character of their holdings.

Last edited by md2000; 10-10-2019 at 09:24 AM.
  #48  
Old 10-10-2019, 09:28 AM
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Old joke - accountant comes to billionaire and says "sir, your son lost a million dollars playing cards in Vegas last year. How long can you let him do this?"

Billionaire: [thinks for a moment] " About 1200 years?"
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