Have you ever wondered what ultra-wealthy people do in their free time? As you’d guess, it’s filled with extravagant hobbies, like collecting famous art pieces, breeding thoroughbred horses or flying expensive planes and plenty more. Let’s take a look at some of the favored activities and past times of the affluent. Here we go!
1) Collecting Art
Collecting art can be one of the most expensive hobbies, with some famous pieces in the world worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The highest known price paid for a painting was in 2017, when Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi sold for $450 million. Some famous art collectors include pop artist Madonna, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and DreamWorks founder David Geffen, whose collection is rumored to be valued in the billions of dollars.
2) Collecting Wine
Fine wines are somewhat of a commodity among the ultra-rich, but that doesn’t stop them from amassing valuable collections of expensive and rare bottles. One of the most expensive wines, Screaming Eagle Cabernet from 1992, sold for $500,000 at auction – a pretty hefty price tag for one bottle. Ultra-high net-worth individuals are also known to become sommeliers in their own right – Arnold Palmer, Brad Pitt and Francis Ford Coppola own or have owned vineyards and wineries.
Known as the “Gentlemen’s Game”, Polo has become a favorite past time of the ultra-wealthy. Played on horseback with players hitting a wooden ball with mallets, it’s one of the oldest team-based sports in the world and has been historically popular among the bourgeois and royal classes. You’ll have to pony up the dough in order to join a polo club – Boca Raton Polo Club, for example, costs $65,000 up-front for a full membership, which doesn’t even include fees. Plus, you’ll need to buy a horse, which can be as much as $200,000 for a well-trained thoroughbred.
4) Collecting Watches
The affluent throughout the world love to collect expensive, high-end watches, and not just for the style factor. Classic timepieces have been popping up in investment circles as watch values continue to raise. Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe have become some popular brands that are considered hot new assets in wealthy individuals’ financial portfolios.
Ultra-wealthy people won’t be seen on Carnival or Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, because their finances allow them to afford private aquatic transportation. In the quest to uncover open waters, private islands and expensive tropical ports, the rich rent or own yachts, sailboats and other larger-than-life sea vessels. To put the price in perspective, a yacht can cost $1.5 million and up to buy, and renting one can set you back as much as $5,000 per day. And don’t forget about operating costs, which can total in the hundreds of thousands per year just for a smaller-sized ship.
Golfing and money go hand-in-hand. Plenty of wealthy people, from Bill Murray to Michael Jordan to Condoleezza Rice, are happy to cough up the fees of some of the most exclusive golf club memberships in the world. Many times in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a membership, at the least. If you’re looking for some of the best golf courses in the country, check out our post 10 Incredible Golf Destinations in the U.S.
7) Car Collecting
From the latest luxury sports cars to rare, classic finds, car collecting has become synonymous with the upper echelons of society. The top 100 collectors in the world have a combined value totaling $8 billion for just 3,500 classic cars. Walmart chairman Rob Walton, one of the richest people on the planet, has one of the most expensive collections, allegedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
8) Horse Racing
While attending a horse race doesn’t have to be an expensive affair, breeding, training and racing horses has historically been reserved for those who can afford it. The average price for a two-year-old thoroughbred race horse is just under $95,000 on average. When you also add in club, housing, feeding, training and race entrance fees, prices can go up to $75,000 a year and higher.
Not all hobbies of the ultra-wealthy are self-serving—in fact, philanthropy consistently ranks among the favorite activities of affluent people. Bill Gates, for example, is famously involved in his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has recently contributed heavily to the eradication of polio worldwide. Warren Buffet is also known to regularly donate money and contribute his time to the charities run by his children.
While many different types of people learn how to fly, the hobby is particularly popular among ultra-high net-worth individuals. Getting a private pilot license (PPL) isn’t overly expensive for the majority of students, however, purchasing a plane won’t happen if you’re on a budget. Obtaining a PPL costs, on average $8,000 – $12,000, but buying a plane, even a basic Cessna 172R, costs $250,000+.
For those with millions of dollars at their disposal, affordability isn’t even a consideration as they enjoy their time on super-yachts, golf courses and flying private planes—reaching a level of extravagance that normal people can only dream of.
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