What do billionaires dream of?

What do billionaires dream of?

Alain Roch

Alain E. Roch, MBA

President and CEO


We know just how billionaires invest…. for example; we know that in 2018, they focused on private investment and real estate.

But what do we know about their dreams, their aspirations and their expenses? Nothing, or just about!


Private islands…

Having your own private island is hugely popular with billionaires. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, invested over $10 million to turn the rugged landscape of Necker Island into a luxury resort. One day’s rental costs $46,000…

Musha Cay, magician David Copperfield’s private island (one of eleven), is one of the world’s most private properties, known only to a privileged handful in the magician’s circle. Accessible only 10 weeks a year (the Copperfield family lives there the rest of the year), Musha Cay is a mammoth project that emerged from the illusionist’s fertile imagination. Like most private islands, Musha Cay can accommodate a limited number of visitors and can only be rented in its entirety. The tab runs to $37,000 a night (if you spend a minimum of four nights on the island).


Spectacular homes…

The real estate market for billionaires is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In this booming market, one Florida property topped this year’s list at US$135 million. This record was quickly surpassed by a Beverly Hills residential complex at US$195 million. This sumptuous property of over 10 hectares boasts a magnificent view of the Los Angeles canyons and city lights and has its own private vineyard.

Oracle’s founder, Larry Ellison, a key player in the computer world and keen enthusiast of Japanese art and samurais, has recreated a medieval Japanese village on his majestic property in California.


Private planes…

In its recent market survey of high net worth individuals, Airbus revealed that in some cultures, these customers prefer to travel with more people than the maximum capacity of most private jets. Thus the wealthy of Asia, the Middle East, China or Russia tend to favour airliners converted into private jets.

This trend is supported by the growing number of billionaires worldwide and the demand is generating a significant share of turnover for the two major aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing.

However, additional seating isn’t quite enough to satisfy these demanding customers. Customization is the watchword of conversion and aircraft must be equipped with the comforts and luxuries to which their wealthy owners are accustomed: ultra-sophisticated showers, fully equipped kitchens, seamlessly connected meeting rooms, pianos, aquariums, etc.

Prices vary widely from a basic $300 million for an A380 and $350 million for a Boeing. Customization involves additional costs between $200 and $400 million, depending on the selected furnishings and equipment.

Airbus has already sold 170 private jets since launching this business segment in 1997. Boeing, which started a year earlier, delivered 195 aircraft and has 217 orders pending.


Explorations and adventure

Surprisingly, more people have visited space than the wreck of the Titanic, which lies about 4,000 metres deep in the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland. This incredible cruise is priced at US $105.129, first-class fare for the tragic maiden voyage of the famous liner, adjusted for inflation. The funds raised help finance the costs of the company that owns the site. Each participant spends seven days aboard the research vessel and gets one dive on the Titanic.


And finally, dreams of immortality

What does someone who can potentially own everything want? One of the few things impossible to buy: time.

Peter Thiel, billionaire libertarian and major investor in Silicon Valley, is 48 years old and worth 2.8 billion euros, a fortune that allows him to buy anything he wants and live like a king for life. However, he’s interested in one of the few things he can’t buy: immortality.

Peter Thiel’s obsession with cellular regeneration and the fight against aging, and his investments in start-ups dedicated to the cause, are well-known in Silicon Valley. In 2014, he said he was “essentially against” death and that, unlike all those who have embraced the fact that they will die one day, he “prefers to fight against it”.