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Are The Rich Still Getting Richer?

Jul 11, 2008
Two years ago there were fourteen Americans on the list of the world's twenty richest people. Now there are four. Thanks to Warren Buffett and his $62 billion, an American remains on op of the list and Buffett can thank his company, Berkshire Hathaway. Being able to float loans enables Buffett to buy a wide range of companies. In fact, if you've ever worn UGG's, you can say you've walked a mile in Warren Buffett's shoes.

Not all the mega rich, however, are investing in companies. Some are investing in art. One of Claude Monet's paintings recently sold for $80.5 million. That's almost twice as much as any of his other paintings have sold for. A month ago a painting by Lucian Freud sold for more than $33 million. That's the most ever paid for a work by a living artist. It and an $86 million Frances Bacon triptych were bought by a Russian billionaire. The buyers at Art Basel, the major art festival in Switzerland, used to be 1/3 American. Now, because of the U.S. Economy, 1/10 are American. Now American buyers are having to resort to a new way of buying art. They're borrowing money from companies like Art Capitol Group and using the art they buy as collateral. For some of the rich art is a hang-up.

For Michael Jordon endorsements are his new game. Although Jordon retired in 2001, he makes $40 million from endorsements. That's $109,589 a day, which means he earns $36,528 while he's sleeping. If Jordon wanted to save his money to buy a $90,000 Acura NSX, it would take him less than twenty hours. He may pay $200 for a round of golf, but he earns $18,264 while he's playing. This year Jordon will earn twice as much as all our past presidents combined. Nevertheless, even if he saved all his money for the next fifty years, Michael Jordon wouldn't be as rich as Bill Gates is now. Nerd outscores jock.

Where do the world's rich bargain hunt? Maybe at their local dump. Bargain hunters in upscale suburbs like Wellesley, Massachusetts are picking through trash and driving away in their BMW's and Mercedes with everything from flat screen monitors to Wedgwood crystal bowls. Drop and shop has become so popular some towns have to hire police to keep outsiders out. Dump devotees don't want to talk to strangers - not even trash talk.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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