How Billionaires Spend Their Free Time

Jul 31, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

The lazy days of summer?  For some, yes.  For others, less so.  For all of you aspiring billionaires, take a look at how far that MBA can take you.  Ever wonder how billionaires spend their summer?  While the wealthy really love to travel, you might be surprised at the most common hobby among the world’s economic elite.  Let’s take a closer look.

 

1. Travel

They’re not headed to tourist destinations—and that’s not because they’re above them.  It’s because the more accessible a vacation—like a national park or a museum tour in a major city—then the more likely it is that they’ll be targeted for who they are and what they know.  That means their families become publicity targets, too.

The key here is exclusivity and remoteness.  Private islands, superyachts, safaris, super-cush condos, submarines, sailboats, and private jets allow the ultra-rich to not only get away, but get away in style.

Where do they travel?  Just about everywhere.  From luxury resorts costing upwards of $30,000 per night to personal islands to outer space, billionaires travel a lot—and well.

 

2. Exercise

Billionaires like to stay in shape and they incorporate it into their daily lives.  Many invest in home gyms—and spend at least an hour most days a week in them.  Others golf, sail, play basketball and soccer, or practice yoga regularly. 

As for diet?  It goes hand in hand with exercise.  Billionaires are successful at what they do—at work and with their bodies.  Most are diet conscious and choose healthy diets with plenty of fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins. 

 

3. Art

Most billionaires love art—and own lots of it.  It’s not uncommon for a billionaire to invest 10 percent of their total wealth in art—and many invest much more.  How does that translate?  If a billionaire’s net worth is $5 billion, then that’s $500 million in art. 

In fact, the world’s largest private art collector, British-Iranian property tycoon Nasser David Khalili, whose net worth is about $1 billion has 93 percent of his assets in art.  That’s $930 million worth of art.  He has 25,000 pieces exhibited in places like the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

 

4. Quirky Hobbies

Billionaires have their share of quirks—which partly explains their success.

If they can buy it, they can collect it.

Anything from collecting beetles to grandfather clocks, rare Jewish coins to guitars and monster trucks is fair game—as is everything in between.

Cars, horses, boats, mountain climbs, computers, and… washing dishes.  It’s true.

Bill Gates reportedly loves to do the dishes every night, claiming he finds the chore “enjoyable.” 

Not surprising for one of the richest men in the world, either.  A Florida State University study found that students who are mindful and let their minds wander while doing the dishes experienced a reduction in stress—and a boost in inspiration.  Go figure.

 

5. Philanthropy

Here it is: a billionaire’s #1 summer fun activity.  With all the travel, exercise, art, and quirky pastimes, most billionaires give away a large chunk of what they have. 

Why?  It’s the right thing to do.

According to Nordic Business Insider, 56.3 percent of billionaires are philanthropic. 

As Andrew Carnegie said, “The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.”  After he founded his steel mills, he invested his fortune in building libraries during turn-of-the-century America.  His legacy lives on.

Blockbuster donations like Carnegie’s are still alive and well.  Consider Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who donated funds to set up an initiative to cure disease. 

Others shell out millions, if not billions of their estates to more immediate philanthropic projects, like investor Warren Buffet, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (who also does the dishes—see #4). 

Some set up their own charities and others give to causes they care about.

Bottom line?  Billionaires give—and give a lot.

So, now that you know how billionaires spend their summers, how are you spending yours?  Are you on your way to earning your first billion?  If so, start planning now.  The lazy days of summer have past—it’s time to get to work!

Learn more about earning your MBA

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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