Nothing succeeds like excess...
Friday’s Wall Street Journal (where else) brought news that a Palm Beach (excuse me, Manalapan) estate was soon to close for $175 million dollars. This immediately caused me to consider the terrible burden billionaires must carry.
This property, with a 62,200 square foot main dwelling (do you really call that a dwelling?), 16 acres of waterfront property and a little island perfect for a child’s playhouse called Bird Island was bought by Netscape founder Jim Clark and his wife “on a whim” for $94 million and change in March of 2021. Clark made a few “mechanical” improvements and then decided that he really wasn’t going to spend that much time in Florida.
I know exactly how he feels since I often act on a “whim”. For example, I was at Publix just the other day and decided to try Bai Lemonade and Blackberry. Normally, I’m a Kula Watermelon girl but I decided to throw caution to the wind and give into the impetus to go “Lemonade”. Of course, I had to invest $2.49 for this thrill. When his property closes, Clark might want to invest in a public relations handler so phrases like “$94 million” and “on a whim” don’t get printed next to his name.
The WSJ article didn’t name the captain of industry who will be parting with the $175 million but I’m sure the news will somehow slip out. That price will be a record for Florida but will trail Michael Eisner’s (ex Disney chieftan) Malibu compound currently listed for a jaw-dropping $225 million.
Obviously, billionaires are different from you and me. For example, I am never referred to by my net worth, which, thankfully, is positive. Billionaires, however, are constantly referred to by their official title, which appears to be “billionaire”. Billionaire Jeff Bezos, billionaire Elon Musk, you get the idea.
I can’t imagine being trailed by such a long line of zeros. It probably takes twenty minutes for all those zeros to turn a corner behind you on your morning constitutional. Getting into the car with the procession of zeros must be like trying to get a long-trained wedding dress into a horse drawn carriage before the horse bolts. I guess that’s why billionaires travel with a cortege of SUVs: one for them, three for the zeros.
Billionaires have real life problems though, just like you and me. My boat has a defective shift actuator and no available replacement part meaning that our boat just sits there this summer. Jeff Bezos’ new 417’ superyacht (photo attached) is sitting in the shipyard because it can’t fit under the Koningshaven bridge and leave the shipyard in Rotterdam. He has persuaded the city to dismantle the bridge to allow free passage for his superyacht so he’ll get his boat out later this summer. Our boat, who knows.
Now that we’ve entered a bear market, it may be a bad time for some billionaires. I don’t think we’ll be hearing the term Bitcoin billionaire for a while. The fall from billionaire is steep considering that the next stop down is multi-millionaire. A multi-millionaire can have as little as two million dollars in net worth, and with what houses are going for today, there are probably thousands of new multi-millionaires minted every day. So, one day a billionaire, a man among men, and the next day, a mere multi-millionaire, part of the hoi polloi. Too bad, so sad.