Kevin Roose is a writer for the Dealbook blog at The New York Times. For his most recent story, he wanted to see what it would be like to live like a billionaire for a day…
First, you’ve got to appreciate this introduction:
As a reporter who writes about Wall Street, I spend a fair amount of time around extreme wealth. But my face is often pressed up against the gilded window. I’ve never eaten at Per Se, or gone boating on the French Riviera. I live in a pint-size Brooklyn apartment, rarely take cabs and feel like sending Time Warner to The Hague every time my cable bill arrives.
And then we get to Kevin’s reporting:
Really, I wondered, what’s so great about billionaires? What privileges and perks do a billion dollars confer? And could I tap into the psyches of the ultrawealthy by walking a mile in their Ferragamo loafers?
At 6 a.m., Mike, a chauffeur with Flyte Tyme Worldwide, picked me up at my apartment. He opened the Rolls-Royce’s doors to reveal a spotless white interior, with lamb’s wool floor mats, seatback TVs and a football field’s worth of legroom. The car, like the watch, was lent to me by the manufacturer for the day while The New York Times made payments toward the other services.
Mike took me to my first appointment, a power breakfast at the Core club in Midtown. “Core,” as the cognoscenti call it, is a members-only enclave with hefty dues — $15,000 annually, plus a $50,000 initiation fee — and a membership roll that includes brand-name financiers like Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group and Daniel S. Loeb of Third Point.
And the key takeaways:
One thing I’ve noticed so far is that when you’re a billionaire, you’re never alone. All day, your life is supervised by a coterie of handlers and attendants catering to your whims. In the locker room alone after my workout, I feel unsettled. Where’s my bodyguard? Where’s my chauffeur? Why is nobody offering me an amuse-bouche while I shampoo my hair?
I feel bad admitting it, but my billionaire day has been stressful. Without an assistant, just keeping up with the hundreds of moving parts — the driver, the security detail, the minute-by-minute scheduling — has been a full-time job and then some.