The season’s in full swing here in the Caribbean. Snowbirds are here in force; annual cruisers join the large numbers of charter boat guests and mega yachts are more numerous than ever. There is no doubt that the rich are getting richer whilst the poor are getting … What are they getting? Hard to tell really but none of them are getting a Caribbean holiday.
An investment banker once told Charlie that it’s fear that drives a rich person to strive for ever more riches. By and large rich people make their money off the backs of others, for which they have to pay – so money is essential. It is bankers, investors and businessmen that make up most of the Forbes list of billionaires and these people typically are not very ‘hands on’ individuals. In other words they need someone to change the spark plug in their outboard; for this they have to pay.
Super rich mega yacht owners are afraid that the dollar will suddenly become worthless due to the huge US debt. Other fears include a sudden life threatening illness or losing a fortune by an unknown calamity. It’s a funny thing but the mantra is ‘more, more and even more’ and if I don’t make it Competitor Joe over there will and I’ll be looked upon as slipping. Can you imagine having so much money that you spend all your waking hours worrying that you might lose some of it, or even worse, lose an opportunity to make more!
“Now, don’t get me wrong,” said Charlie, “I like money as much as the next guy. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said: ‘You don’t know the value of money until you don’t have any’. But if I get to half a mil I’ll definitely be spending, not earning.”
According to Forbes there are over 500 people in the world worth over three billion! What on earth really drives them? I mean their cold Heineken doesn’t taste any better than mine and their dinner—a plate of fish all dressed up to look like a Picasso painting—isn’t any better than my grilled Mahi with lemon and butter. Perhaps it’s just that they like seeing their picture in the paper.
Charlie knows one thing that definitely peeves a super rich mega yacht owner. The other day he was anchored in ‘millionaires’ playground (North Sound, Virgin Gorda) when a rather snazzy mega yacht anchored nearby. About half way through the afternoon a gigantic multi mega yacht, similar to Paul Allen’s Octopus, sporting two helicopters, one forward and one aft, anchored close by and positively dwarfed Snazzy. It seemed as though the one-upmanship was just too much for Snazzy as he quickly moved to another location.
It sure can be rough being rich.
Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.