conspicuous by their absence

12 July 2008

Reading this, it occurred to me that the rich really are different from you* and me: they can afford to stay out of sight.

Russ Alan Prince and Lewis Schiff describe a similar pattern in their book, The Middle-Class Millionaire, which analyzes the spending habits of the 8.4million American households whose wealth is self-made and whose net worth, including their home equity, is between $1 million and $10 million. Aside from a penchant for fancy cars, these millionaires devote their luxury dollars mostly to goods and services outsiders can’t see: concierge health care, home renovations, all sorts of personal coaches, and expensive family vacations. They focus less on impressing strangers and more on family- and self-improvement. Even when they invest in traditional luxuries like second homes, jets, or yachts, they prefer fractional ownership. “They’re looking for ownership to be converted into a relationship rather than an asset they have to take care of,” says Schiff. Their primary luxuries are time and attention.

*Unless you are rich, but you wouldn’t tell me that, would you? Unless you’re only recently rich.

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the west “coast”

12 July 2008

The geographical problems with this paragraph leave me nearly speechless:

Do you really need to ask? Obviously, I’m for building high speed rail. The California coast is a potentially excellent rail corridor with a whole bunch of kinda close urban areas. I’d say that there (potentially extending upcoast to Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver) is one of the most promising possible areas for rail improvement. It’s an expensive undertaking, but one that will pay large dividends for a long time once it’s done.

(I am, of course, for high-speed rail, but I am also in favor of knowing something about the layout of the Pacific coast and its transportation routes.)