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Archive for June, 2009

#17 - Personal Bodyguards

#17 - Personal Bodyguards

Bilyeu Group
Price: US $1,500 per day per guard

Rich people love personal body guards. While protection is a factor in the love affair that the rich have with personal protection, bodyguards are an important social accessory, akin to Bottega handbags, Tiffany key pendants and Patek Philippe watches. Any self respecting well-to-do socialite would be remiss to leave home without their favorite Bilyeu, Icon or Blackwater security professional. In fact, corporations spend millions to keep their CEOs and top executives out of harm’s way.

There are many security accessories that the rich must have; home security, armoured vehicles, hand guns, chauffeured vehicles, safe rooms, property guards, personal protection dogs, risk assessments and back-up power systems but none carry the exclusivity of personal body guards. There are many monikers that security personnel adopt to ensure that the wealthy feel their money is well spent, but as they say a rose by any name smells the same. There are VIP, executive, celebrity and personal bodyguards and each fulfills the same purpose; provide wealthy individuals the opportunity to become the centre of attention among their peers by nonchalantly mentioning the 6’5”, 235lb gent acting as their bodyguard.

Numerous choices exist for you to express your self-importance through the use of a well-dressed and a well-paid bully. You may opt for round-the-clock security to plan daily driving routes, pat down visitors and generally intimidate anyone that is granted the privilege to meet with you. Salaries start at roughly $75,000 per year and climb rapidly with experience and additional training. The other option is to hire services on an as-needed basis. While the per diem for these mercenaries is $1,500 it ensures that the novelty of your bone crushing sidekick is not lost on your social circle. Beware the perils of securing personal protection, Whitney Houston was never the same after her and Kevin Costner tasted the forbidden fruit of bodyguard romance!

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#16 - French Chateaus

#16 - French Chateaus

Prestige Property Group
Price: $74,730,000

People own houses; rich people own castles, mansions, penthouses and chateaux. Unlike private islands which are intended to keep visitors at a distance, chateaus are intended to showcase superior upbringing and lavish taste. While you may not own a chateau, ingratiating yourself with the über-rich can be expedited by comparing your host to the monarchs that first erected these fairy-tale structures. Europe and particularly France have a healthy sprinkling of these beautiful edifices in some of the most breathtaking settings meaning you can always find an extravagant piece of history to discuss. Rich people have no shame when it comes to acquaintances doting on them and their material possessions.

Consider the magnificent example of a French chateau currently for sale in the department of Jura in eastern France. The property is advertised as a 10 minute helicopter flight from Geneva sitting on 200 acres of walled opulence. The, yes this number is correct, 75,000 square feet of living space features a 1,200 sq ft entrance hall with a “monumental gothic staircase”. The five floor main building houses 34 bedrooms, a Napoleonic drawing room, Louis XVI apartment, Louis XV bedrooms, billiard room, private library and a square tower; damsel in distress not included. Other property features are stables and equestrian infrastructure, a gardener’s house, 19th century workshops that have been converted to sleep 30, courtyard, farm, walled garden, English design lawns, 2 lakes, cascades, grotto and a statue of Diane Chasseresse resembling the statue found at Fontainebleau – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and therefore not presently for sale.

Discussing these features will provide ample ammunition for small talk when discussing chateaus with your new found acquaintance. Their shared love of exclusive residences will make for delightful conversation. Keep in mind, referring to such opulent residences as “pleasant summer homes” is sure to win you respect and another appropriately aged scotch. Engage the right well-to-do land magnate and it may lead to an invitation to accompany them for a weekend tryst with unpasteurized cheese, champagne and fine port….c’est magnifique!

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Ever wonder how rich you really are? The people at Global Rich List have just the thing. This great little site is simple and will tell you in an instant how you stack up against the rest of the world. No promises on accuracy but it is fun! Go to the Global Rich List web site (http://www.globalrichlist.com/) and find out how rich you are!

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#15 - Private Banking

#15 - Private Banking

Swiss Private Banking
Min. deposit: $1 million

Rich people love multiple bank accounts; rich people love Swiss Bank accounts. Switzerland is an excellent choice due to bank secrecy, low risk, economic stability and let’s be honest who doesn’t love saying “wire it to my Swiss account”. Few industries are enshrouded by mystery as Swiss banking. Despite James Bond’s distrust of Swiss bankers, learn a few rules and you will be leading sparkling conversation that makes your wealthy compatriots envy your international financial knowledge.

Bankers will not install microprocessors under your skin, you won’t feel like James Bond withdrawing your cash and you certainly won’t have a Da Vinci Code key to tote around. In fact, private banking services in Switzerland are remarkably similar to private banking services in Cleveland, but who wants to go to Cleveland? What you do get is banking secrecy rivaled by few countries the world over. Clients may use Swiss banks to shield assets from spiteful spouses, intrusive government tax agencies, angry patients, unscrupulous business associates, greedy litigators or a host of leeches laying claim to the birthright of the fabulously wealthy.

Besides the intense secrecy laws that protect account holders, private banking has unrivalled levels of service far surpassing the common man’s mass market retail savings and checking accounts. Rich people can ensure they avoid teller lines, dirty ATMs, pens on chains and cattle-herding polyester ropes by liaising with their personal banker in the comfort of a private office. Services are extensive and typically include wealth management counseling services, investment advice and estate planning peppered with offside humor at the expense of poor people. While the minimum million dollars in assets in not particularly prohibitive, many private Swiss Banks will only extend an invitation to new customers based upon a referral from current customers. Nevertheless, during your next visit to St. Moritz, delay the departure of your Gulfstream, visit Zurich and engage bankers that have served European royalty for over 300 years. Unsurprisingly, you are unlikely to encounter Mr. Christoph Meili in the lobby.

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#14 - Patek Philippe Watches

#14 - Patek Philippe Watches

Patek Philippe Ref. 5004G
Price: $241,000 

Rich people love luxury watches. Rich people know that anyone can afford a Rolex or a Cartier and that TAG Heuer makes an excellent holiday gift for the gardener. To ensure that you have something in common with rich people, conversational knowledge of Patek Philippe is required. Unbeknownst to the masses, most luxury watches are manual winding movements, a feature greatly appreciated by aficionados. Refer to a quartz crystal and you are sure to be identified as a bus-riding commoner who appreciates the hourly chime feature of your Timex more than Patek’s moon phase complication.

Some of the world’s most expensive watches to cross Sotheby’s auction desks, fetching more than $11 million, have been built by Patek; great news if you prefer a used timepiece. If shiny and new are more intriguing, choose from a catalog of 203 exquisite Patek Phillipe watches. The 5004G is a hallmark of virtuosity and the most complicated model in the Patek line of stopwatches. Features include perpetual calendar, 24-hour display, precision moon phase mechanism and an ingenious rattrapante device. Not surprisingly, the 5004G tracks day, month, date, leap years and is available in white gold, yellow gold, platinum or rose gold with white or black face.

Are the Bugatti payments delaying Patek ownership this quarter yet you still need to impress the wealthy? Infer ownership by speaking of the Patek Philippe Magazine published twice a year exclusively for owners. Offhandedly reference the Calatrava Cross adopted by Patek, formerly the emblem of brave Spanish Knights. Use the French term ‘bienfacture’ or know the story of Henry Graves Jr. With this knowledge in hand, you are en route to meeting a sugar daddy willing to adorn your wrist with Suisse chronographs.

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