Luxury Purchases by Billionaires People Wouldn’t Even Fathom

Shannon Quinn - May 23, 2021
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There are some people who ride horses all day just to keep the owner’s investments in shape. Credit: Shutterstock

26. Horse Investments

Buying and owning a horse is incredibly expensive. Even just having horses as a hobby most likely means that you’re rich. You need to either own your own barn and field, or rent the space for your horse to live in. Taking care of a horse is nowhere near as easy as taking care of a dog or cat.  But for the mega-rich, they go to a whole other level when it comes to owning horses.

For billionaires, horses are not just a means of getting around from place to place. It’s a full-on investment, similar to stocks or pieces of art. Race horses cost a pretty penny. And if they win championships, these horses are used for breeding purposes, as well. Since horses need to be trained, there are people whose entire job is to ride them. On Reddit, a user named equestrian123123 said, “I’ve made a career out of riding rich people’s horses that don’t have time. People always ask how many horses I own (because I’m an equestrian) and I haven’t owned my own for 25 years. Then so many questions after that.”

Rich and famous people need to worry about getting kidnapped. Credit: Shutterstock

25. Kidnapping Insurance

As the saying goes, “More money, more problems.” Here on HomeAddict, we already had a collection of stories people shared about home break-ins. In one story, the thieves broke into the house and left just a few minutes later. She was so broke, there was nothing worth stealing! As you can imagine, when you become rich, you start to experience the opposite problem. If people know that you’re wealthy, they are more likely to try taking advantage of you. 

When you’re a multi-millionaire or billionaire who becomes well known in the public eye, it puts a target on your back. This is especially true when you start to have children. That’s why the will pay for kidnapping insurance. As the name suggests, this is an insurance plan that is put in place just in case someone gets kidnapped. This will cover the ransom that the kidnappers demand, instead of it dipping into your personal finances.

Credit: Shutterstock

24. Luxury Food Service 

A lot of people are familiar with private chefs, but for the ultra-rich, it goes one step further. On Reddit, a user called YeastLords explained how he experienced “food service” for the first time. “When I was young my first serious girlfriend’s family was super rich. Hundreds of millions rich. They had what I would learn was “food service”. This consisted of a woman who would show up in the morning at maybe 5:30 AM and stock the fridge and make sure the coffee was on the timer and there were fresh pastries etc. At 7:30 AM the actual food service people would arrive with fresh food for the day and prep anything you wanted.”

“If you wanted something special for dinner, say lobster thermidor, you just told them by 3 and it would be ready whenever you wanted. This included any snack you *might* want. Did you like the cheese burger and want a few for later? Done. Every day the fridge would be stocked and cleaned out. It was fucking amazing. An excellent use of disposable income in my humble opinion.”

Russian millionaires build out fake ambulances to get through traffic faster. Credit: Shutterstock

23. Fake Ambulance Taxis to Get Through Traffic Faster

No matter where you go in the world, an ambulance siren means one thing: There is an emergency, so you better pull over and let the vehicle through traffic. In Russia, millionaires figured out an ingenious way to beat traffic. They purchase fake ambulances, and retrofit the interior to look similar to a luxury limousine. Then, their drivers turn on the siren, and speed through traffic in a fraction of the normal waiting time. Not only does this help save them time, but it also protects them from potential thieves and paparazzi much more than a limousine. 

Here in the United States, you could never get away with this, because it’s illegal to impersonate a first responder. So if a fake ambulance were to ever get caught, they would be in huge trouble, and potentially go to jail. Please don’t try this at home, guys.

Building your own man-made lake costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Credit: Shutterstock

22. Private Man Made Lakes

When most people imagine a rich person’s house, they might think of having a built-in swimming pool. Some people take it one step further and build an entire private, man-made lake. This way, they can do so much more than swim. It’s your own private place to fish, go on a boat, jet ski, and so much more. There are evern companies out there that will help you create your own lake on a huge piece of land. But building a private lake is no simple undertaking. 

On a YouTube channel called The Chateau Diaries, Stephanie Jarvis owns a castle in rural France. When she bought the property, it came with a lake that the previous owners had created. The local authorities lied, telling her that she was not allowed to have the lake under new EPA regulations. So they forced her  to remove the lake by shutting off the water source from the river, and it became wetlands. Now, she is in the process of getting the lake back. But this requires a ton of EPA regulation and red tape. Even though everything was set up for her by the previous owners, she still needs to spend over $100,000 in paperwork and labor to get it done. So if it’s that much for an existing lake, we can only imagine how expensive it would be to create a new one from scratch.

Hamad in the Sand was iconic, until it was removed. Credit: Atlas Obscura

21. Carving Your Name in The Earth So It’s Seen From Space

One of the most over-the-top things a billionaire has ever done was have their name carved in the Earth to be so large, it could be seen from space. It reminds me of how little kids write their name on everything before they go to preschool. Hamdan Al Nahyan owned a private island called Futaisi. Because he had so much land to work with, he hired a team of men to carve his name into the ground. Much of this filled up with water, spelling out the name Hamand. This was so large, you could see this from space, and look it up live on Google Earth under “Hamand in the Sand”. 

Normally, Hamand spelled his name in Arabic letters, but he purposely chose the English spelling, because he wanted to be as famous as possible. By 2012, his name had disappeared in the sand. After searching online, I can’t find any explanation as to why he allowed his name to be removed, but it’s most likely due to strong winds pushing the sand towards the shore. In the three pictures above, you can see how the letters gradually disappeared over time. Now, only part of the “H” still exists. 

Rich oil magnates from Dubai bought and rehabbed homes just to recover from surgery. Credit: Shutterstock

20. Custom Houses Built Just to Recover From Surgery

No matter how rich you are, you’re still human. This means there is no escaping the ravages of age. But of course, if you have all the money in the world, it means that you can get the best medical treatment money can buy. This next story comes from a Reddit user called Ohiomensch. “Before Cleveland Clinic built their hospital in Dubai, the middle eastern rich used to come here for organ transplants. They needed to stay for 6-8 weeks till they could go home to recover. They picked out a house, offered the owners money to get out in 48 hours. The crew came in and worked around the clock. They flew in materials from all over the world. Marble, stonework, stained glass windows. Money was no object. All so some rich oil dude can live in it for a couple of months and never come back.”

Someone else who worked for the same clinic called AgitatingMyDots chimed in, “They also had an entire floor of the Cleveland Clinic to themselves for surgery and recovery. My grandfather’s brother’s job won the plumbing contract for the renovation and un-renovation(?) after the entourage left. He took one of the gold sinks home and installed it in his basement bathroom. My grandfather loved tall tales so I thought he was lying about it my whole life. Then, after my grandfather died, we went to my great-uncle’s house and I saw it for myself. In the basement half bathroom of a 1970’s ranch house.”

Years ago, rich moms would rent a disabled person to skip Disney lines. Credit: Shutterstock

19. Renting a Disabled Person at Disneyland

For years, Disneyland and Disney World had a policy that anyone with a disability would get to cut the line. After a while, rich moms realize that they could exploit this policy by bringing someone with disabilities along on their vacation. So you can guess what happened. Mothers would pay for someone with a handicap to go to Disney parks with their family, because it meant that everyone could cut the lines. This became such a big problem, that Disney had to change their policy so that disabled people need to stand in line, just like everyone else. 

Now, the pandemic has changed the policies once again. Lines are now extra-long because of the required 6 foot social distance. It becomes so confusing to know where a line begins or ends, that they now have employees standing with a sign to let you know where to get in line. If you are willing to pay extra for Fast Pass or use the My Disney Experience app, you can reserve spots in line for a certain time of the way. This way, you can come back when it’s your time to ride, instead of doing nothing but standing in line for two hours.

Millionaires don’t have to wait in line at amusement parks like the rest of us. Credit: Shutterstock

18. Renting an Entire Amusement Park (Or Building Your Own)

Everyone loves going to amusement parks, including the rich and famous. However, they can’t always go to these parks with normal people for a lot of reasons. Mostly, they might not be safe going to the park without their security detail. While Disney can’t shut down its entire park for a celebrity, they can pay for something called Disney After Hours. However, they are no longer taking reservations during the pandemic. For smaller theme parks, it may be possible to negotiate with the owner to rent the entire place for a group.

I personally know of a Korean billionaire who built a private amusement park since he had to work in New York City often, he would fly back and forth from the United States. Eventually, he purchased a large piece of land in Egg Harbor, New Jersey. He made an American vacation property for this family to visit from Korea. The property was surrounded by a tall brick wall. But in the distance, you could see all of the amusement park rides that he paid to have installed. Since then, someone else has purchased the property. But the rides still remain.

Many wealthy families use art museum as their luxury public storage units. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Paying For the Wing of an Art Museum

A Reddit user named writenroll has this story: 

“An exceptionally wealthy family I know refers to a wing of the local art museum as their ‘public storage unit.’ They funded the wing to store their huge collection of classic and modern art since it was more practical than private storage. It included a climate controlled, 24/7 secure location managed by professionals. Plus, the curators would handle swapping out pieces from the museum and the home when they needed a different style or era to fit the mood of the next dinner or event at the house. Which was funny because sometimes the swaps would introduce a dozen or so pieces not before displayed at the museum. This created a new exhibit that the museum would package and promote. Behind the fuss, the family just wanted to create the right ambiance for grandma’s 80th birthday party. 

Some rich people want their own car to be driven around the world. Credit: Shutterstock

16. Around the World Luxury Car Service

When most people move to a new country or go on a long term vacation, they have a few options for transportation. They can hire an Uber, rent a car, use public transportation, or buy a new car once you get there. But there are some millionaires out there who love their car so much, they will pay to have it travel to their location. If you ever wanted to ship your car from one country to another, it would cost from $1,000 to $5,000 over the ocean, and you’re going to have to wait a while for it to get to you. Or, you could pay $5,000 to $40,000 for it to arrive much more quickly on an airplane. 

You don’t have to be a millionaire to use a cart transport service. A lot of people actually do this if they plan to move across the United States, or they want their old car when they move to a new country. Some people will also double this up with a shipping container filled with their belongings. However, it’s expensive enough where most middle-class people would try to think of other options, first. Does it really make sense to spend thousands of dollars to ship your vehicle if it costs the same as what the car is worth?  But for a millionaire with a $100,000 lamborghini, it makes perfect sense why they would pay for a service like this.

Before the pandemic, rich people had to pay thousands of dollars to get a private movie screening. Credit: Shutterstock

15. Before 2020, Millionaires Paid a Fortune to Get Movie Screenings at Home

For years, the movie industry had a tight grip on their new releases. If you wanted to see a brand new movie, you only had one of two choices: Either go to a theater, or wait for months before you could buy it on DVD or digital. Even bootlegs online were often terrible, and never really gave you the satisfaction of actually watching the film. Believe it or not, there were businesses that would charge upwards of $30,000 for millionaires to have personal movie night screenings in their own homes. When you think about all of those house tours with people who built movie theaters in their basements, this makes sense. What’s the sense in building a literal theater if you can’t watch something new? The price for this luxury was massive.

Now, us normal folks are experiencing what the millionaires once spent thousands of dollars on. New releases on Disney Plus are $30 each, and HBO Max is $15 per month. They have new releases for about a week when the movie first comes out before taking it down, to encourage people to still go to the theater if it’s safe to do so. Another thing that has gotten significantly cheaper is to rent a private theater. Now, you can spend just $150 for new releases or $99 for older films at AMC and rent an entire movie theater for you and your friends. They allow you to bring up to 20 people, so this is actually a huge bargain. Before 2020, this was never an option for people. So if you love movies, we’re about to have a new era of luxury cinema experience.

Many millionaires buy up the land surrounding their homes to build a bigger property. Credit: Shutterstock

14. Extra Land For a Good View

Out of everything on this list, buying my next door neighbor’s house just to knock it down is the thing I would do if I became a millionaire. And I’m not the only one. Many wealthy people will wait for the opportune moment to buy their neighbor’s house for the sake of having a better view, or additional land. One of the most famous cases was when JK Rowling bought her next door neighbor’s house in Edinburgh, Scotland for $1.6 million, and knocked it down. This was enough land to build her kids an epic treehouse, and provided her more privacy. 

After looking through Reddit, there are several stories out there. Here’s what CreativeMind11 had to say: A guy in my town bought 4 plots of construction places for houses across the street and turned them into gardens, solely so his view wouldn’t be deteriorated. The plots were 500k each.” Here’s another from IBetThisIsTakenToo. A partner at my wife’s firm bought his neighbor’s house when they listed so he could knock it down and make a garden. Then did the same with the neighbor behind him, and put in a tennis court, pool, and “pool house” (which has an attached 2 car garage and like 3 bedrooms). And these were all million dollar homes. So now he owns 3 out of 4 houses at the end of his street, presumably biding his time for the last one.”

Never worry about backing out of your driveway again, with this car turntable. Credit: Shutterstock

13. A Rotating Garage Floor

When you start to make a lot of money, you begin to chip away at all of the little annoyances in your life. Saving time and making life more convenient is often at the top of a rich person’s priority list. After all, “time is money”. So when I was browsing for luxury items I had never heard of before, I stumbled on these car turntables. This is built into the floor of a garage so that your car is rotated 180 degrees. It’s no longer necessary to back into your garage, or try to back out of your driveway when you try to leave. 

On their own, a car turntable is only $1,500. So even middle class people could afford to get one of these…However, considering how that’s basically rent or a mortgage payment, middle class people aren’t likely to ever pay for something like this. After installation for multiple cars, this could easily add up. The next time you see a luxury house tour, take a peek at the ground. Most likely, they have installed turntables that get into the $10,000 range.

A billionaire bought an entire floor of a Manhattan apartment building just to have parties. Credit: Shutterstock

12. An Entire New York Penthouse Apartment Floor Just For Partying

This story comes from a Reddit user named Lazlo_Hollyfield: 

I used to work for an engineering firm and we did the engineering (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire protection) for high end residential in NYC. There was a client who owned a floor in an apartment building on Central Park West. The people below him moved out so he bought that floor to host parties. He had a 6” thick sound and vibration dampening system installed on that level so he wouldn’t bother the people that lived below. The building was old and the existing elevator would not stop the additional 6” higher on that floor only, so he installed a new elevator in the building. He also paid for French plasterers to come and live in NYC while they do the ornate plaster crown moulding in the apartment.”

Donald Trump has a solid gold bathroom inside of his private jet. Credit: LifeBeyondSportsMedia

11. Gold Bathroom in a Private Jet

Before he was famous for being the President of the United States, Donald Trump was your garden variety billionaire who likes expensive things. His private jet’s bathroom was filled with literal gold. There is a gold sink, toilet, and so much more. We’re not sure why you need gold in your airplane bathroom, but there are pictures online to prove it exists. For the record, Trump apparently has a luxury gold toilet at home, too. Not sure where the toilet obsession comes from. 

The rich can literally get away with anything. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Paid Body Doubles to Go to Prison For You

Here in the United States, one of the only ways to stop a billionaire from misbehaving is to get him in trouble with the law. Heck, even Al Capone was taken down for tax evasion. But in China, millionaires can get away with serving their prison sentence by hiring someone to do it for them. These body doubles need to at least closely resemble the real person, in order for this to work. 

Since there is such a wide gap between China’s rich and poor, there are a lot of people struggling to make ends meet. This is why some men agree to do this in order to have their family provided for the rest of their lives. Or, they might receive a large sum of money when they have completed their jail sentence. Meanwhile, the millionaire needs to keep a low profile, and stay out of the press. But at least they are free, and enjoying the comforts of home.

Luxury sports coaching means working with actual pro athletes. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Getting Pro Athletes to Be Your Personal Coach

For some people, hiring a personal trainer is a sign that you’ve “made it”. Not only are you making the effort to get in shape and go to the gym, but you’re making enough money to pay someone between $25 to $100 per coaching session. But for millionaires, that’s often not enough. They don’t want just anyone with a degree in health and fitness from the local community college. Millionaires often hire former pro athletes to train them, as well as their kids who may be playing on their High School or college team.

I live in New Jersey, so I’m not too far from the wealthy elites of New York City. This is something I’ve personally witnessed a lot in my area’s tennis and golf community. These sports aren’t just a form of exercise. They’re also a networking opportunity. Business deals are sometimes made out on the golf course. So it makes sense that powerful business leaders want to improve their golf swing, so they don’t look like a fool. And like most millionaires, they want the best of the best. Normally, they can’t hire someone who is too busy training for an upcoming tournament or professional sports season. Pro trainers are usually people who have retired, but they’re still fit enough to teach someone else.

Why wait in traffic when you have the luxury of flying to your destination? Credit: Shutterstock

8. Flying Taxi Service

Why drive somewhere when you could fly? In places like New York City, traffic is notoriously horrible. It takes so long to get from one end of the city to another, that you could be in the car for over an hour just to drive a couple miles. That’s why a lot of rich people opt to pay for helicopter taxis to take them from place to place…For the longest time, this was something that only the elites could afford. Now, you can get a helicopter service for a few hundred dollars. Typically, this is used by New Yorkers who are trying to get to the airport in under 10 minutes, instead of waiting an hour in traffic. For most people, it’s worth leaving early and bearing the commute, instead of wasting so much money.


But now, thanks to modern technology, flying taxis are now closer than you might think. Recently, information on Uber Elevate was released online, showcasing Uber’s plans to expand to offering travel via small aircrafts. In 2020, Uber Elevate was purchased by Joby Aviation. Maybe someday, our world really will look like Tomorrowland.

Rich people swap luxury furniture out regularly. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Rare and Seasonal Furniture

A Reddit user called StiffCoffeePlease explain the following concept:

“Seasonal furniture…Meaning their house is furnished multiple different ways (furniture included) and they pay someone to store it and swap it out a couple of times a year.” Similarly, I’ve known millionaires who get bored of their furniture very quickly. They might remodel their entire house in a certain aesthetic, only to get tired of it after two years. Then, they completely redesign their home again to fit whatever is happening with the newest trend. 

For the record, this is furniture from places like Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and more. So they are spending thousands of dollars per year swapping out new furniture. There are some brands that most people have never even heard of, like a Cloud Couch for $20,000. But the real money comes in when you start buying antiques. In case you were wondering, most expensive piece of furniture ever purchased was a cabinet bought by Prince Hans Adam II for $36 million.

The Deep Sea Challenger cost James Cameron $500 million. Credit: Shutterstock

6. James Cameron’s Submarine “Deep Sea Challenger”

James Cameron earned his fortune by directing several famous box office hits like Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, and Avatar. Before he filmed Titanic, Cameron acquired a $500 million submarine called the “Deep Sea Challenger“. This submarine was the first of its kind- a mobile underwater filming unit. But this isn’t just an expensive toy. Because of this submarine, James Cameron was able to film Titanic in a way that the story was never portrayed before. He has collaborated with National Geographic to film several underwater documentaries, as well.

This is an example of a wise business investment. What most people don’t realize is that Rolex and National Geographic also helped to pay for the creation of the submarine. But since he’s a famous Hollywood movie director, James Cameron gets all the credit. He currently has a net worth of $700 million, not including the sub.

For some reason, millionaires are obsessed with sharks. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Sharks

Yep, sharks. Both alive and dead. Remember in the Austin Powers movie when Dr. Evil had a tank of sharks with lasers on their head? Turns out that’s not too far from the truth. Okay, jokes aside, For whatever reason, a lot of millionaires have a thing for sharks. Maybe it’s because they are one of the most dangerous predators in the sea, and rich people can relate to that. Or maybe it’s because sharks don’t get cancer, and they’re wishful thinking? I once dated a guy who kept pet sharks, too. I wish I was joking. When I tried asking why, he said “because they’re cool.” The relationship didn’t last long.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen purchased a work of art that is quite literally just the body of a dead shark, titled, “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”. Okay. Sure. Cool. But he paid $12 million for it. Why? I don’t know. So he can enjoy Shark Week every week, I guess.

Teresa Roemer owns the world’s largest closet. Credit: Ryan Serhant on YouTube

4. A 3-Story Closet

Here at Home Addict, we already shared some stories about the world’s most luxurious closets. The biggest closet in the world belongs to Teresa Roemer in Texas. Both she and her husband are entrepreneurs, and they have made over $20 million in the Texas oil industry. Throughout her marriage, Teresa loved to throw charity events in her house. Every time women would come over, they asked to see her closet. So she decided to just expand her closet to be big enough to house the charity event. Now, it’s a 3-level closet that spans over 3,000 square feet. This is big enough to fit 100 people during her events. Everything is locked with a fingerprint control, and she even has staff in charge of the closet.

It must have cost well over $1 million to construct this massive closet. And that doesn’t cover the value of her purses, clothing, and accessories. Not many people realize that fashion is an amazing investment. Some people will buy a purse and flip it for double the price one year later. So it’s actually a great way to make money. Teresa has so much stuff in her collection, all of her items have to be catalogued so that she can keep track of where everything is, what it’s worth, and more.

One billionaire was so rich, he bought an entire island in Hawaii. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Buying Your Own Hawaiian Island

When most people think about Hawaii, they know that it’s a popular vacation destination, as well as a home to many people. But one billionaire named Larry Ellison loved Hawaii so much, he decided to buy the island of Lanai for $300 million in 2012. Personally, I didn’t even know someone could do that. Even though he owns the island now, the original residents are still living there, but they pay rent to use the land. And he also purchased all of the vacation resorts, which means he pockets that revenue, as well. Since buying the island, he has invested an additional $500 million to make it more sustainable for the environment.

It should be no surprise that in 2020, Larry Ellison decided to move to Lanai and manage his company, Oracle, through Zoom during the pandemic. Unfortunately, Larry didn’t have total control over the situation. At first, Lanai was Covid-free all through the spring and summer. But their first cases came in October, when they finally tried to re-open the resorts. Lanai was still hit by Covid pretty hard, because they don’t have a critical care unit in their hospital. Basically, owning your own private island isn’t as luxurious as you would imagine. Ellison had a lot of responsibility to protect the people of Lanai during the pandemic.

Imagine the luxury of having a manager running your house for you. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Hiring a House Manager

If you own a house, you’re technically a house manager. And anyone who is a housewife knows how much work goes into managing a house, but they rarely get paid. But what happens when you’re wealthy, and you own multiple mansions around the world? Billionaires will hire a “house manager” to look after their house while they’re gone. This is similar to property management, but it goes one step further, because the house manager is usually working there full time. They handle hiring and managing any cleaning staff, paying for utilities, hiring landscapers, and more. It’s very much like a modern-day version of Downton Abbey.

A Reddit user named Sincere Enthusiasm had a story about his experience working in a wealthy person’s home: “I worked as a house cleaner in college, and I was hired by the house manager! The owner asked me to trap any scorpions I found so he could make him fight in the scorpion tank at his office.”

Vertu is a luxury phone company that very few people have heard about. Credit: Vertu Online

1. Private Smartphones that Come With a Butler Button

Vertu luxury smart phones are known for being the most expensive in the world. Many of their models cost over $9,000. Buying a new iPhone for $1,000 is bad enough as it is. So what makes them so great? After looking at some unboxing videos online, it’s difficult to understand why you would want one. The website offers to custom-build a phone for you in any material you like. So you could have a smartphone made of leather, gold, or whatever you want. There is also a “butler” or concierge button you can press. This person will help you get pretty much anything you need.

For the record, many elite credit card companies like the American Express Black Card also come with a concierge service, too. But when you really dig into what this job entails, it is the equivalent of hiring a personal or virtual assistant. Any business owner can hire a freelance PA or VA for $15 per hour, and ask them to complete certain tasks within a certain number of hours per week. So when you think about the perks of these luxury services, they might not actually make a lot of financial sense. Except, of course, these companies recruit the concierge for you without doing any hiring or interviewing.

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