The billionaire population boomed during the pandemic. On the 2021 Forbes list, which runs to April 6, their numbers rose nearly 700 to a record total of more than 2,700. Some super rich saw their fortunes reach unimaginable numbers, something that seemed virtually impossible to achieve in a lifetime. For example, for Tesla’s Elon Musk, that meant growing from $25bn to more than $150bn.
And while for 99% percent of the population such sums are beyond the imagination, we can at least get a glimpse at what the lives of the super rich are like thanks to this thread on r/AskReddit.
“People who cater to the super rich; What things have you seen?,” asked redditor NeighborhoodTrolley, sparking 18.3k comments and some seriously crazy stories. Below we collected the most insane responses from people who’ve seen it all with their eyes, and trust me, there’s a lot those eyes have seen.
I used to work for a billionaire Russian family as a tutor for their daughter. One day we’re in her room studying and suddenly she yells “daddy’s home!” and runs to the window. She’d heard a helicopter and knew is was about to land on the lawn.
Russian guy I sometimes work for, bought a nice house in a pretty nice area of the French Riviera (Mougins). He didn’t even visit it before buying, and just judged he liked it on pictures. He paid 11 million euros for it.
But when he arrived, he though the view wasn’t perfect because of another house that was on the way (to him…to me honestly it was barely there and didn’t even mask the sea). So he sent his lawyer there to make an offer to the owners (4 million euros). But they declined…so he doubled the offer, and they declined again…So he doubled again, and this time they accepted to sell.
He had that house destroyed the very day he got the keys, and had an underground parking lot built instead, for the cars he “won’t be using much here”.
So basically the guy paid that distant house more than the one he’s planning to spend his summers in, just to have it disappear because it kinda annoyed him. And when he told me the story, he was laughing the whole time.
I live near a company that builds yachts. One day there was an odd looking yacht. A crew member explained to me that was a ‘shadow-yacht’.
You see, when you get hyper rich and have multiple yachts. You wouldn’t want to ruin the astetic of your nice yachts with jetski’s and helicopters. Nor would you want your crew to sleep on the nice yacht. So you buy a shadow yacht to store your toys and to house your crew. This shadow yacht follows your fleet of nice yachts around.
Some extremely wealthy people I have been around have a more acute sense of their own time and mortality, leading to impatience. Like they understand how awesome their lives are and therefore how short they feel. I knew a guy whose vintage yacht broke down before summer so he bought another one strictly for that upcoming Summer. His reasoning was he likely had 20 full health summers left in his life and didn’t want to spend one of them without a boat considering he had the means to. Honestly can’t argue with that logic.
A woman who owned a small private jet business told me one time someone paid them to fly their dog (by itself) to NY for about $45,000 for some training. No other passengers.
I used to petsit. I remember a rich person asking me to petsit their cat. There was a lot of TVs, in almost every room. The weirdest was the bathroom. Sorry, cat bathroom. There was a TV playing cat cartoons, an overly fancy litter box and paintings of cats.
My great uncle was VERY well off.
He did not have a guest house. It was a guest mansion. Separate from his mansion. In case his kids dropped by. This does not include the olympic sized indoor pool. That was a separate building.
He bought a cannon. He used it to shoot the mountain behind his house. He shot brand new special bowling balls out of it. They cost 100 bucks per ball.
I’m not sure of the actual size of the pool. But it was definitely bigger than most community pools. But if you want to see the cannon in action, Nitro Circus came by and shot a car with it in one of their episodes. I didn’t expect this comment to explode so I didn’t mention the human slingshot. There have been a few viral videos made about it.
My dad’s client bought a whole block of houses to build theirs. It is so wide that they installed a moving walkway like the ones at airports.
I’m a driving instructor and one group rented the track to drive their supercars for the day. At the end of the day they all partnered up and got into the cars to leave. After they were gone we realized that they had forgotten their Lamborghini Aventador at the track.
I used to work for a company that modified aircraft for really rich people. I’m talking 747s, not gulfstreams.
This company had made several aircraft for this one customer, who I was told had purchased a new one solely because his spiritual advisor had told him that one of his current planes was bad luck. He still let his wife use it for her personal travel.
To me, one of the most exquisite features of these planes wasn’t the gold plated everything, or rare wood veneers, it was the silk carpet. That stuff cost over $1,000 per square foot and feels like walking on a bed of angel feathers harvested in the most inhumane way possible. Granted, these guys don’t deck out the whole plane, just their personal areas (the aft third is usually reserved for staff and such and is more like a fancy economy class), but yeah… silk carpet.
I worked for a rich Chinese lady who told me and her CFO to hire 30 English teachers and start an NGO. We all flew out to a poor part of China and helped hundreds of gifted kids learn English so they could pass the foreign language portion of the gaokao (their SAT). We gave each of them thousands of dollars to pay for college tuition.
Why did she do all this? To help her daughter studying in the US – the nominal head of the charity – with her college application. The organization was dissolved when she was accepted into Yale.
One wealthy guy I cook for wanted his house built so that his bedroom was right above the cow barn, with a retractable spot in the floor so he could fall asleep listening to (and smelling, I presume) the cows.
I live across the street from the trump towers in miami(yes, the one the ukrainians were arrested at)
There are cameras all over the entrance. But there are times when people showing up dont want to be on camera(Mostly see it happen when a party BUS of strippers shows up). When the bus is coming down the street, 5-10 servants come out of the building, large black squares attached to long polls. They each put the large black squares up to completely block a camera.
And then the bus deposits all the strippers and the servants go back inside.
I became personal friends with my boss and his wife; super nice people. The wife turned out to be an heiress and would buy me whatever I mentioned, like in passing during a conversation. I learned gifts were how she was raised to show love.
I’ve trained myself to only talk about things I already own, unless I find something useful she might like and suggest it for her.
Hired someone to take his credit card and create for him (and pay for) a whole fake and very expensive trip to Europe so he could go to Mexico with his mistress during that same time. Was in the middle of a divorce and he didn’t want any evidence of his affair affecting the proceedings, so he had someone create a whole alibi.
Have been working for the super rich for sometime.
Craziest thing I’ve seen – brand new 90 metre multimillion pound (GBP) yacht was built in Netherlands. Maiden voyage to Antibes in France. Owner came onboard and left after a few hours. Next week we get sent to Genoa Italy, where all the bathrooms onboard were ripped out and upgraded.
That doesn’t sound like a big deal but I’m talking about brand new marble sinks, showers, floors and lobbies all crowbarred out chucked in skips. Tonnes of brand new polished marble binned.
New marble colours and patterns arrived in the weeks following.
There’s feed me money, there’s f**k you money and there’s “it’s not even a thought money.”
Was a boyfriend of a girl from an obscenely rich family. The sister used to have the nanny (who was sleeping with the husband, but that’s another story) fly to Paris in their G550 to buy the newest Hermès bag so she could show it off a few days before it went on sale in the US.
Was invited to a Christmas Dinner while i lived in Seoul by an extremely wealthy Korean family. Very nice family but I think in hindsight they wanted to show their friends that they had foreign friends like me. Wife had everything catered and the home professionally decorated – it felt like we were in a department store. Multiple Christmas trees, a working train set, staff handing out appetizers on plates etc. It looked like she studied Christmas movies from the USA and copied everything.
Dinner is served on a comically long table with 2 huge oven roasted Turkeys and all of the trimmings – they looked perfect. I was later told that Koreans don’t like turkey & were just for decoration – they would be thrown out later. We ate Korean food. The family said I could take a turkey home and that the caterer would drop it off with anything else I wanted.
Hubby does IT for a bank & financial management firm that requires prospective clients to have something like 20 million to invest. When the company was still pretty small, the owner would host events at his house. The first Christmas party we went to, I was standing by the fireplace and admiring a large, beautiful painting. I looked closer to see if I could find the artist’s signature. That was when I realized it was a Picasso.
A friend from high school worked a few years as a deck hand on yachts in the Mediterranean and he said he once jumped in to get a customer’s bag and got tipped €4000.
My partner once helped build a $350,000 PERGOLA. Built from I wanna say something like mahogany imported from Fiji because they couldn’t source solid beams from anywhere else? And we’re in the middle of the Midwest. It was then PAINTED because the color didn’t suit the homeowner.
I still sometimes think about the fact that our beautiful historic home that we’re lucky enough to own was still over $100k cheaper than this person’s glorified outside stick fort.
I used to install directv in wealthy areas of an east coast city in the US. While I try to give customers options on where I install the satellite dish, I have to get a good line of sight for it to work properly, so sometimes the location options were limited. One rich lady’s house (gorgeous house right on the beach) I only found 2 good spots for the dish, it could either be on a pole in the middle of her backyard, or on the corner of the roof. She DEFINITELY did not want it in the middle of her yard. Only problem was that she had a metal roof and we use specific mounting hardware for that. We happened to be back ordered on that hardware for a few weeks out. When I informed her of this, she got visibly upset that she’d have to wait that long to get her cable up and going. I apologized many times and told her she’d need to reschedule a few weeks later and I leave. 3 days later I’m looking over my work orders for the day and I notice her name and address. I’m like…wow…I bet she thinks she’s getting a different installer who she can try to convince to give her a different answer. I was wrong. I pull up to the house…brand new shingle roof. I did the install on the roof.
I briefly worked with one of the top Saudi Arabian crown princes in the 80’s. He would buy out the top three floors of the best hotels (Four Seasons etc); two floors were for maids/help/security, top floor was for the Royal family… once it was only the prince and his three wives. Crazy s**t.
My dad works in shipping and has a lot of friends who have worked on super yachts. In the 90s one of his mates got a call up to bring the yacht of a particular Australian media tycoon billionaire (not that one) from Sydney to New York, with instructions to be anchored in a particular bay at an exact time with a lunch spread for 50 people ready. So they got there and set up the food. The guy never showed up. Turns out he was having a rich dude party in a building overlooking the harbour and wanted to be able to point down and say “that’s my boat”. He wanted the lunch just in case he decided to take his rich friends down to his yacht, but he didn’t feel like it that day, so all the food got wasted and they sailed back to Aus without seeing him.
Family friends were having marital issues. Their marriage counselor figured out a lot of their problems were over cooking meals. The counselor reminded them that they are rich and can just cater all their meals, and it would be cheaper than getting a divorce. They listened to the counselor and now are happily married again.
I went to a New England prep school for high school on a full ride sports scholarship.
There were a decent amount of foreign national students – mainly from Asia, that came from EXTREMELY wealthy families. One of those students parents bought him a brand new BMW 5 series – fully loaded, when he got his license our Junior year.
When we graduated a year later, he was going back to Korea and obviously couldn’t take the car, so he gave it to his best friend…kid got an $80k car at 17 years old, just for being good friends with the right guy! I’ll never forget that.
My wife’s aunt and uncle were busy the entire day of their 25th anniversary and returned home at about 21:00. Decided that the kids needed a bit of fun and booked a private jet to Moscow( they live in paris) and spent a week there.
Money- gotta love it.
When rich people want to buy a Jaguar in the UK they get assigned a special sales person who is incredibly knowledgeable, they meet in a special fancy office, and special arrangements can be made. This was my friend Chris job, he had access to things that a normal Jaguar sales person wouldn’t have. Like he could ring up the manager of the factory for special requests level of access.
Well a Saudi Price wanted to buy this new Jaguar that had been released, so they met up and spent a full day specing the Jaguar out. I believe the final price was something like 125k for the vehicle.
Then came the decision for color, at the time the factory had 16 different color choices for this model. The Prince asked if he could sleep on it as it was getting late and almost time for dinner/prayer my friend Chris says of course and they set a time to meet the new morning.
The next morning the Saudi price is like “I figured out an acceptable solution to my color dilemma” to which Chris goes “And what would that be?” the Saudi Prince goes “i’ll order one of each color”
And my friend Chris is like O well of course. They quote delivery time, Saudi prince was fine and asked for his options and was presented with ocean travel options to which the Prince said “what about air cargo?” Chris thinking maybe they’d do 1 or 2 by air cargo and the rest by boat, the Prince was like “No I want all 16 vehicles loaded on a plane, and flown to Saudi Arabia”
So thats the story on how 16 of the same Jaguar with different colors ended up being flown to Saudi Arabia all in the total cost was around 2.5 million.
Please note the prices should be £ not $
I briefly worked as a consultant with a family office set up by an individual with a low 9-figure USD net worth.
a. Everyone in the family would travel by their own car to meetings, even if they travelled to and from the same place.
b. They employed separate concierges for each of the family members. They were all paid top dollar.
c. Shopping sprees that started in Milan and ended in Paris and cost a $100,000.
d. They had a closet in the family office ‘for emergencies’ and it was bigger than our living room.
f. The patriarch didn’t like monsoons so they flew to the US to their other home during the monsoons in India.
e. They were surprisingly sensible about their cars and houses – they never bought new cars every year. No extravagant cars, either. Just sensible mid range Beemers or Mercedeses.
Rich broker I worked with got a divorce. His wife wanted 30k a month, per child, in child support. His lawyer convinced him it was a good deal and he should take it. He asked me if 30k a month was a lot of money. I told him that was more than I make in an entire year. He said, “f***, can’t believe I have such a s**tty lawyer”
Cool dude. Had to overnight him some pants because somehow he ended up in Scotland and it was cold and he couldn’t be bothered to go shopping.
He had a house in Santa Barbara that was given to his first ex wife that stopped paying taxes on it, basically an abandoned mansion. He sent his assistant there to check it out and there was a family of raccoons living in it.
He really liked Greys Anatomy and needed ice for his Diet Coke. Like really needed ice, so the office got a $1,000 ice machine just on the off chance he showed up to the office.
My dad used to work for a private air field. They had a ton of people fly in but most of the more richer clients always flew in at night. I remember one time in high school, I had to do a “job shadow” thing and went to work with my dad. They had the owner of a California air port fly in for the weekend. My job was to stand outside with an umbrella. So I stood outside with the umbrella. His wife tipped me 20 dollars and said “the sandwich trays are real silver, have at it kid.” After they got in their car, I asked my dad what she meant. Apparently, when some richer folks fly, they let the people who detail their planes have the platters and other serving items. I always wondered how we got so many weird serving trays.
Another time when I visited him at work I got to hold an albino kangaroo. Most adorable and softest animal I’ve ever touched.
An acquaintance of mine was building a house for a married couple who hated each other, but the husband was far too wealthy to get divorced- they had separate elevators installed so they would never worry about ever having to see each other!
I used to ‘work’ for an Arab billionaire’s son, a Daddy’s money guy, terrible garbage human being.
Once saw him spend $16 000 on a wallet, was a fancy one with little gold spikes on it and stuff. He had shoes with gold on them.
I remember one year for his birthday he received like 30+ cakes, big fancy cakes and he told us to leave them on the floor in the hallway outside his room.
We walked by those cakes every day for two weeks waiting for instruction, after the two weeks we were told to throw them away.
I had a client that lived right outside NYC. They were “new money” in an area that was mostly old money. Hated their neighbors, but played nice face to face. Every time the neighbor’s wife would buy something and try to show it off, they would buy a more expensive/rare version, or buy two of the same if that wasn’t possible. The vast majority of it was displayed in the front room. Client’s wife called it the f**k off room. They were a bit eclectic but were really nice people.
In high school I had a rich friend whose parents owned a pro sports team. I stayed at his house one night and we got up in the morning and he wanted to go get his hair cut for a concert we were going to that night. I was thinking cool I’ll get my hair cut and we will go get some lunch. He drives to the airport and I’m confused. He says his barber is in Florida. At 16 we get on a private jet, fly to Florida, get our hair cut and fly back. It was crazy.
My high school friend’s parents were low rich, like, a few mil. He had a swimming pool on Long Island suspended in the deck OVER the ocean. Then, they had a boat slip with a boat, so you could jump out of the pool, and dive into the ocean. They had a state-of-the-art projection screen tv that was 10 feet tall (this was 1986) and they had super expensive art that didn’t match. Imagine like a $500,000 painting of a clown, next to a $300,000 sculpture of a dog? It was just off. Still, I really liked his parents. I saw them oddly enough in the restaurant I was working at two cities away.
My dad works as a marine pilot, usually moving cruise ships or freighters, but occasionally a super yacht will come through. Well, one time a Russian billionaire came through who collects super yachts… I believe he had somewhere in the ballpark of 5-8 of the largest yachts in the world. My dad said that for dinner, they would just casually grab bottles of wine in the $1000+ range, and the yacht also had two helicopters… one for the kids.