Splurges Worthy of the .1%

Several months ago, Tanner’s parents asked me to identify the splurges I would make if I were Oprah Winfrey-style rich. It was an interesting question at the time, and I’ve pondered it off and on since then. What would I do with unlimited wealth? How would I use my new-found wealth to say adieu to the most tedious and annoying things in my life? What would you, dear reader, do with your (perhaps ill-begotten) gains?

Before beginning, I’d like to lay out some ground rules:

  1. Your splurges cannot be the types of things that most upper-class Americans can afford.* Things such as a nice big house, traveling the world in style, many new books, dining at fine restaurants, cable, a fancy new pool and gym membership, trainer, etc., are not the splurges I have in mind. We’re talking ridiculous splurges—the types of splurges that only the top 0.1%** can afford.
  2. Your splurges cannot be altruistic in nature. I know that most of the readers of this blog would go out and save the environment, cure cancer, and fight economic inequality if given large sums of cash. Quite frankly, that’s just not that interesting. Your splurges must be only for your benefit.

Thus, without further ado, I present my selfish, outrageous splurges:

  • At every second in time, I would have every fresh fruit, vegetable, nut, seed, fish, wild grain, and cheese known to human-kind stocked in our kitchen and available to us. Freshly picked delicious heirloom New Jersey tomatoes in the middle of February? Yes. Craving something juicy, sweet, and delicious late, late at night in the middle of November? Freshly cut watermelon is in the fridge. Kumquats, kiwis, pumpkin seeds, rutabagas, pistachios, Wild-Alaskan salmon, curly kale, grapes, blueberries, farro, cauliflower, avocadoes, olives, asparagus, cherries, Brussel sprouts, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, cilantro, Parmesan. All of it. All the time. All of the highest quality. Organic, delicious, never too ripe, never past its prime, and always available, just like magic. In our kitchen.


  • A personal shopper and dresser. Yes, that’s right. I would hire a woman (or man, I suppose) of great taste and class to buy all my clothes and orthotically-correct yet still stylish footwear, place my clothes for the following day on the floor for me each night, and fold my clothes and put them away when I’m done. On the rarest of rare occasions when I decided I actually wanted to go clothes shopping, she (he) would give me a list of all the different stores and my proper sizes in all their ridiculous, inconsistent, styles: a 4 in Anthropologie’s high-waisted skinny jeans; a petite 00 in Loft’s Classic-style, Julie-fit dress pants, but a 6 in Loft’s City-style, Marissa-fit jeans; a large in Nordstrom’s sweaters; a 0 in J-Crew sweaters, etc.,…you get the picture.
  • Our own personal internet server (not to be confused with our own email server). I hate Comcast with a passion. I want Google to come build me an internet server that is faster than the speed of light, never crashes, never slows down, and has no association with Comcast.
  • The ability to pay every single medical bill in cold, hard, cash. Maybe even ones. The months of January, February, and March have been the first months in which we’ve truly had to deal with health insurance companies. It’s hard to describe how bad it’s been, or how many work days lost in all-day arguments with these companies. No more. I’ve had it. My last splurge will be to pay every single medical bill in cash so that I can go see whichever doctor I’d like, whenever I’d like, and never communicate with a health insurance company again.

What would you choose?

*The middle class in America (defined as those Americans with incomes in the 25 to 75 percent range) makes between $34,000 to $107,000. It’s time for many upper-class Americans to acknowledge that fact and stop hiding behind the ambiguous “upper-middle-class” title.

**The top 1% American households (as of 2011) hold only $2.38 million in net wealth. The top 0.1% of American households, on the other hand, hold assets exceeding $20 million.

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3 Responses to Splurges Worthy of the .1%

  1. rosie49 says:

    now that is a thought provoking post….

  2. rosie49 says:

    I’ve given this a wee bit of thought and I think I’d choose a personal archivist to both preserve my family history AND to be my own privacy guardian. It’s starting to look like personal privacy is going to be the status symbol of the future — every merchant and service provider wants to know everything about you to sell you stuff and then to include you in their data base as an asset to sell to somebody else who wants to sell you their stuff. Getting off the grid is going to get much harder. Yes, you can opt out. You can stay off social media. But if you want to travel anywhere you will give up some element of privacy with a passport or a drivers license or an airplane ticket.

    true privacy will become something only the very, very, very rich and very, very, very poor will be able to “enjoy.”

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