The billionaire population boomed during the pandemic. On the 2021 Forbes list, which runs to April 6, their numbers rose nearly 700 to a record total of more than 2,700. Some super rich saw their fortunes reach unimaginable numbers, something that seemed virtually impossible to achieve in a lifetime. For example, for Tesla’s Elon Musk, that meant growing from $25bn to more than $150bn.
And while for 99% percent of the population such sums are beyond the imagination, we can at least get a glimpse at what the lives of the super rich are like thanks to this thread on r/AskReddit.
“People who cater to the super rich; What things have you seen?,” asked redditor NeighborhoodTrolley, sparking 18.3k comments and some seriously crazy stories. Below we collected the most insane responses from people who’ve seen it all with their eyes, and trust me, there’s a lot those eyes have seen.
Some extremely wealthy people I have been around have a more acute sense of their own time and mortality, leading to impatience. Like they understand how awesome their lives are and therefore how short they feel. I knew a guy whose vintage yacht broke down before summer so he bought another one strictly for that upcoming Summer. His reasoning was he likely had 20 full health summers left in his life and didn’t want to spend one of them without a boat considering he had the means to. Honestly can’t argue with that logic.
Image credits: cholula_is_good
Russian guy I sometimes work for, bought a nice house in a pretty nice area of the French Riviera (Mougins). He didn’t even visit it before buying, and just judged he liked it on pictures. He paid 11 million euros for it.
But when he arrived, he though the view wasn’t perfect because of another house that was on the way (to him…to me honestly it was barely there and didn’t even mask the sea). So he sent his lawyer there to make an offer to the owners (4 million euros). But they declined…so he doubled the offer, and they declined again…So he doubled again, and this time they accepted to sell.
He had that house destroyed the very day he got the keys, and had an underground parking lot built instead, for the cars he “won’t be using much here”.
So basically the guy paid that distant house more than the one he’s planning to spend his summers in, just to have it disappear because it kinda annoyed him. And when he told me the story, he was laughing the whole time.
Image credits: captain_obvious_here
I used to work for a billionaire Russian family as a tutor for their daughter. One day we’re in her room studying and suddenly she yells “daddy’s home!” and runs to the window. She’d heard a helicopter and knew is was about to land on the lawn.
Image credits: DiscombobulatedBabu
To find out more about what it’s like working for the super-rich, Bored Panda contacted a Redditor who worked for a billionaire Russian family and told us what it was like. It turns out the job was “pretty draining since you’re always expected to be on hand and ready to do whatever they need,” they said. However, “the money is great so you can’t complain, but it can definitely be quite tiring to work for such demanding families.”
I worked for a rich Chinese lady who told me and her CFO to hire 30 English teachers and start an NGO. We all flew out to a poor part of China and helped hundreds of gifted kids learn English so they could pass the foreign language portion of the gaokao (their SAT). We gave each of them thousands of dollars to pay for college tuition.
Why did she do all this? To help her daughter studying in the US – the nominal head of the charity – with her college application. The organization was dissolved when she was accepted into Yale.
I used to petsit. I remember a rich person asking me to petsit their cat. There was a lot of TVs, in almost every room. The weirdest was the bathroom. Sorry, cat bathroom. There was a TV playing cat cartoons, an overly fancy litter box and paintings of cats.
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I live near a company that builds yachts. One day there was an odd looking yacht. A crew member explained to me that was a ‘shadow-yacht’.
You see, when you get hyper rich and have multiple yachts. You wouldn’t want to ruin the astetic of your nice yachts with jetski’s and helicopters. Nor would you want your crew to sleep on the nice yacht. So you buy a shadow yacht to store your toys and to house your crew. This shadow yacht follows your fleet of nice yachts around.
Image credits: Doppar
While working for the family, the Redditor said they learned that such powerful and wealthy parents are often quite absent. “The baby of the family would wake up in the night and not know whether to call for his nanny or his mum. Disciplining the kids was impossible because the parents were so rarely there to enforce consequences,” they recounted.
Family friends were having marital issues. Their marriage counselor figured out a lot of their problems were over cooking meals. The counselor reminded them that they are rich and can just cater all their meals, and it would be cheaper than getting a divorce. They listened to the counselor and now are happily married again.
Image credits: waterloograd
A woman who owned a small private jet business told me one time someone paid them to fly their dog (by itself) to NY for about $45,000 for some training. No other passengers.
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I’m a driving instructor and one group rented the track to drive their supercars for the day. At the end of the day they all partnered up and got into the cars to leave. After they were gone we realized that they had forgotten their Lamborghini Aventador at the track.
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The person who worked for the billionaire family said that what makes their lives different from ours is that they can afford to be completely spontaneous. “They have an entire staff at their beck and call and no financial limitations so whatever crazy idea pops into their head is always possible. If they want to head off to the Maldives later on that day they can pay an assistant to book the flights and pack their bags, a driver to take them to the airport and a pilot to fly them there.”
I became personal friends with my boss and his wife; super nice people. The wife turned out to be an heiress and would buy me whatever I mentioned, like in passing during a conversation. I learned gifts were how she was raised to show love.
I’ve trained myself to only talk about things I already own, unless I find something useful she might like and suggest it for her.
Image credits: Lazybummer
My great uncle was VERY well off.
He did not have a guest house. It was a guest mansion. Separate from his mansion. In case his kids dropped by. This does not include the olympic sized indoor pool. That was a separate building.
He bought a cannon. He used it to shoot the mountain behind his house. He shot brand new special bowling balls out of it. They cost 100 bucks per ball.
I’m not sure of the actual size of the pool. But it was definitely bigger than most community pools. But if you want to see the cannon in action, Nitro Circus came by and shot a car with it in one of their episodes. I didn’t expect this comment to explode so I didn’t mention the human slingshot. There have been a few viral videos made about it.
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I used to install directv in wealthy areas of an east coast city in the US. While I try to give customers options on where I install the satellite dish, I have to get a good line of sight for it to work properly, so sometimes the location options were limited. One rich lady’s house (gorgeous house right on the beach) I only found 2 good spots for the dish, it could either be on a pole in the middle of her backyard, or on the corner of the roof. She DEFINITELY did not want it in the middle of her yard. Only problem was that she had a metal roof and we use specific mounting hardware for that. We happened to be back ordered on that hardware for a few weeks out. When I informed her of this, she got visibly upset that she’d have to wait that long to get her cable up and going. I apologized many times and told her she’d need to reschedule a few weeks later and I leave. 3 days later I’m looking over my work orders for the day and I notice her name and address. I’m like…wow…I bet she thinks she’s getting a different installer who she can try to convince to give her a different answer. I was wrong. I pull up to the house…brand new shingle roof. I did the install on the roof.
Image credits: mle32000
For anyone who’s setting up a career working for the super-rich, the person we spoke with said that having an iron clad contract in place is very important. “Be absolutely certain that you are entitled to everything you should be entitled to – don’t accept any vague promises about pay, holiday, notice periods, etc.”
Having said that they added that you should also just have fun and enjoy the perks. “I was given a lift from Russia to the UK in a private plane because we both needed to be in London at the same time. You have access to crazy things through working with a super-wealthy family so make the most of it!”
One wealthy guy I cook for wanted his house built so that his bedroom was right above the cow barn, with a retractable spot in the floor so he could fall asleep listening to (and smelling, I presume) the cows.
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I live across the street from the trump towers in miami(yes, the one the ukrainians were arrested at)
There are cameras all over the entrance. But there are times when people showing up dont want to be on camera(Mostly see it happen when a party BUS of strippers shows up). When the bus is coming down the street, 5-10 servants come out of the building, large black squares attached to long polls. They each put the large black squares up to completely block a camera.
And then the bus deposits all the strippers and the servants go back inside.
When rich people want to buy a Jaguar in the UK they get assigned a special sales person who is incredibly knowledgeable, they meet in a special fancy office, and special arrangements can be made. This was my friend Chris job, he had access to things that a normal Jaguar sales person wouldn’t have. Like he could ring up the manager of the factory for special requests level of access.
Well a Saudi Price wanted to buy this new Jaguar that had been released, so they met up and spent a full day specing the Jaguar out. I believe the final price was something like 125k for the vehicle.
Then came the decision for color, at the time the factory had 16 different color choices for this model. The Prince asked if he could sleep on it as it was getting late and almost time for dinner/prayer my friend Chris says of course and they set a time to meet the new morning.
The next morning the Saudi price is like “I figured out an acceptable solution to my color dilemma” to which Chris goes “And what would that be?” the Saudi Prince goes “i’ll order one of each color”
And my friend Chris is like O well of course. They quote delivery time, Saudi prince was fine and asked for his options and was presented with ocean travel options to which the Prince said “what about air cargo?” Chris thinking maybe they’d do 1 or 2 by air cargo and the rest by boat, the Prince was like “No I want all 16 vehicles loaded on a plane, and flown to Saudi Arabia”
So thats the story on how 16 of the same Jaguar with different colors ended up being flown to Saudi Arabia all in the total cost was around 2.5 million.
Please note the prices should be £ not $
Hired someone to take his credit card and create for him (and pay for) a whole fake and very expensive trip to Europe so he could go to Mexico with his mistress during that same time. Was in the middle of a divorce and he didn’t want any evidence of his affair affecting the proceedings, so he had someone create a whole alibi.
Image credits: bway_stan
Was invited to a Christmas Dinner while i lived in Seoul by an extremely wealthy Korean family. Very nice family but I think in hindsight they wanted to show their friends that they had foreign friends like me. Wife had everything catered and the home professionally decorated – it felt like we were in a department store. Multiple Christmas trees, a working train set, staff handing out appetizers on plates etc. It looked like she studied Christmas movies from the USA and copied everything.
Dinner is served on a comically long table with 2 huge oven roasted Turkeys and all of the trimmings – they looked perfect. I was later told that Koreans don’t like turkey & were just for decoration – they would be thrown out later. We ate Korean food. The family said I could take a turkey home and that the caterer would drop it off with anything else I wanted.
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I used to work for a company that modified aircraft for really rich people. I’m talking 747s, not gulfstreams.
This company had made several aircraft for this one customer, who I was told had purchased a new one solely because his spiritual advisor had told him that one of his current planes was bad luck. He still let his wife use it for her personal travel.
To me, one of the most exquisite features of these planes wasn’t the gold plated everything, or rare wood veneers, it was the silk carpet. That stuff cost over $1,000 per square foot and feels like walking on a bed of angel feathers harvested in the most inhumane way possible. Granted, these guys don’t deck out the whole plane, just their personal areas (the aft third is usually reserved for staff and such and is more like a fancy economy class), but yeah… silk carpet.
Image credits: Prune_the_hedges
I went to a New England prep school for high school on a full ride sports scholarship.
There were a decent amount of foreign national students – mainly from Asia, that came from EXTREMELY wealthy families. One of those students parents bought him a brand new BMW 5 series – fully loaded, when he got his license our Junior year.
When we graduated a year later, he was going back to Korea and obviously couldn’t take the car, so he gave it to his best friend…kid got an $80k car at 17 years old, just for being good friends with the right guy! I’ll never forget that.
I work at a restaurant in a small but very wealthy town and during the year of 2020 people were leaving $2,020 tips for a long while..
Image credits: Curious_Tea_8330
Hubby does IT for a bank & financial management firm that requires prospective clients to have something like 20 million to invest. When the company was still pretty small, the owner would host events at his house. The first Christmas party we went to, I was standing by the fireplace and admiring a large, beautiful painting. I looked closer to see if I could find the artist’s signature. That was when I realized it was a Picasso.
Image credits: I_M_The_Cheese
My dad’s client bought a whole block of houses to build theirs. It is so wide that they installed a moving walkway like the ones at airports.
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A friend from high school worked a few years as a deck hand on yachts in the Mediterranean and he said he once jumped in to get a customer’s bag and got tipped €4000.
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My partner once helped build a $350,000 PERGOLA. Built from I wanna say something like mahogany imported from Fiji because they couldn’t source solid beams from anywhere else? And we’re in the middle of the Midwest. It was then PAINTED because the color didn’t suit the homeowner.
I still sometimes think about the fact that our beautiful historic home that we’re lucky enough to own was still over $100k cheaper than this person’s glorified outside stick fort.
Image credits: firewalkwithme0926
Have been working for the super rich for sometime.
Craziest thing I’ve seen – brand new 90 metre multimillion pound (GBP) yacht was built in Netherlands. Maiden voyage to Antibes in France. Owner came onboard and left after a few hours. Next week we get sent to Genoa Italy, where all the bathrooms onboard were ripped out and upgraded.
That doesn’t sound like a big deal but I’m talking about brand new marble sinks, showers, floors and lobbies all crowbarred out chucked in skips. Tonnes of brand new polished marble binned.
New marble colours and patterns arrived in the weeks following.
There’s feed me money, there’s f**k you money and there’s “it’s not even a thought money.”
Image credits: tobias269
Was a boyfriend of a girl from an obscenely rich family. The sister used to have the nanny (who was sleeping with the husband, but that’s another story) fly to Paris in their G550 to buy the newest Hermès bag so she could show it off a few days before it went on sale in the US.
Image credits: fulthrottlejazzhands
My dad works in shipping and has a lot of friends who have worked on super yachts. In the 90s one of his mates got a call up to bring the yacht of a particular Australian media tycoon billionaire (not that one) from Sydney to New York, with instructions to be anchored in a particular bay at an exact time with a lunch spread for 50 people ready. So they got there and set up the food. The guy never showed up. Turns out he was having a rich dude party in a building overlooking the harbour and wanted to be able to point down and say “that’s my boat”. He wanted the lunch just in case he decided to take his rich friends down to his yacht, but he didn’t feel like it that day, so all the food got wasted and they sailed back to Aus without seeing him.
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I know of someone that had a $100,000 toilet.
Image credits: AverageSizeWayne
I briefly worked with one of the top Saudi Arabian crown princes in the 80’s. He would buy out the top three floors of the best hotels (Four Seasons etc); two floors were for maids/help/security, top floor was for the Royal family… once it was only the prince and his three wives. Crazy s**t.
Image credits: Elysian-Visions
My wife’s aunt and uncle were busy the entire day of their 25th anniversary and returned home at about 21:00. Decided that the kids needed a bit of fun and booked a private jet to Moscow( they live in paris) and spent a week there.
Money- gotta love it.
Image credits: grouchyclownposse