by Beverly Thomas

The affluent lifestyle is defined uniquely by each individual who lives it. Those of the upper echelon may acquire nearly any item or service desired, and this ability gives those of the elite class immense freedom to select the finest things the world presents. Most affulent individuals are either born to or acquire the most refined taste, which is the signature of great wealth.

Of those who can be called truly wealthy, their number is quite small. For the purposes of the discussion here, one should consider perhaps $10 million (U.S.) in annual income to be the lower demarcation. At this level, nearly any desired can be satisfied, and the obstructions most of the general public face each day have long ago fallen away. The world is limitless.

In Affluent Lifestyles one finds a collection Internet web sites whose quality is unmatched. The very elite references listed here, many of which are also visually stunning, are hand-selected for the appeal of their products and services to the very wealthy. Here one may gain insights into the objects, services and lifestyles of the truly affluent. Whether one's aspiration is to move to the highest echelon oneself, or one wishes simply to view some of the accoutrements of the affluent lifestyle and imagine the possibilities, this guide should be most beneficial. Should one know of other sites whose membership in this very elite list would be appropriate, one may make suggestion here.

Motor Cars

For the general public, the automobile is frequently one's most valuable possession (if it is second, it is second only to one's home). The great emphasis the media places on motor cars makes them a constant center of attention in the public's eye. Yet for the wealthy, cars are mere trifles. One must simply imagine receiving payments in excess of $1 million (U.S.) per month, and the reason is obvious. For the wealthy, even the most expensive automobile is purchased with little or no concern as to the price. Automobiles are playthings.

Yet the choice of the automobile is important, even for the wealthy, for it is part of the individual's public persona. Automobiles have also become an important element of the security shield most of the affluent must build for protection in the modern era.

The sites described here have been chosen for their association with the wealthy in the popular media, and also for the existence of a model in the line whose price exceeds $100,000 (U.S.).

BMW - Favored by European business executives, the BMW 7 series is well-known for its secure and stylish ride.

Ferrari - The quintessential sports car in the minds of many, rare Ferraris have long been the playthings of the very wealthy.

Jaguar - Well-bred and cultured, the Jaguar's English roots and associations with royalty make it a well-known symbol among the affluent.

Lamborghini - Pure sporting heritage with an undeniable visual appeal and a well-known rarity, Lamborginis have long attracted the young (and youthful) rich.

Lotus - High performance and exotic, Lotus offers a British alternative with a sporting heritage.

Mercedes-Benz - Favored by Sheiks, royalty of all nations, and the most powerful in nearly every culture, Mercedes-Benz is well-known for its large, hardened sedans.

Porsche - A hard-earned racing reputation gives the Porsche a strong performance image that is appealing to many.

Rolls-Royce and Bentley - The pinnacle of luxury and class.

Other notable manufacturers who currently lack web sites: McLaren, Aston-Martin.

Executive Aircraft

As described in the previous section on Motor Cars, it is not the automobile that defines travel for the wealthy. Instead, it is the executive jet. Private air travel gives the wealthy startling mobility and freedom, allowing them to arrive anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. Aircraft are outfitted with interiors of unsurpassed luxury and accommodation, allowing an entire entourage to travel together and arrive well-rested and productive. En route important business is conducted with the same ease as it is on the ground.

Learjet - The Learjet was the first private jet and defined the genre. The Learjet name is synonymous with affluent travel.

Bombardier Aerospace - A well-respected manufacturer of long-range business aircraft.

Gulfstream - Gulfstream aircraft are known for their large interiors and long range.

Dassault Falcon - The Falcon is a highly acclaimed long-range jet.

Raytheon Jets - Raytheon offers a range of models to accommodate a variety of needs.

Sino Swearingen - A new company based in Texas produces a stylish jet.

VisionAire - Based in St. Louis since 1988, VisionAire offers a small executive jet based on advanced technologies.

Cessna Citation - Cessna's Citation-class small and mid-size jets are the fastest production jets.


The hallmark of wealth and luxury in many eyes is the large motor yacht. Plying the waters of the Caribbean or the South Seas, yachts provide the ultimate in refined leisure travel. Yachts starting at 30 meters are common among the very wealthy, and are often equipped with such accessories as helicopters.

Camper & Nicholsons Yachts

Palmer Johnson Custom Yachts

Princess Motor Yachts

Queenship Yachts


Real Estate

The wealthy generally maintain a lavish primary residence as well as residences in frequented cities. Many also own one or more luxurious vacation chateaus and villas in desirable locations. Few of these premium residences are offered in resources visible to the public, but some are and the following sources will allow one to browse among some of the world's most valuable private properties. The resources are sorted in order of their browsing quality.

Luxury Real Estate - Search for properties with values in excess of $5 to $10 million to view some of the world's premier real estate.

Fuller Western Real Estate - This resource frequently offers ranches measured in the thousands of acres.

Special Properties - Properties can be viewed sorted by price, and the site frequently has offerings whose value exceeds $5 million.

Results real estate - All properties handled by this agent are located in Hawaii, and frequently exceed $10 million.

Pacific Island Investments - Nothing is more private than an island. This site and the one following offer a look at islands available for sale.

Vladi Private Islands - Private islands, many of a non-traditional sort.

JP King Auction Company - Auctions are frequently used to market valuable properties. This site and the next deal in a number of premium properties

The National Auction Group

Time Pieces

Although they are mere baubles to the ultra-wealthy, time pieces are important as part of a fashion statement. A time piece reflects individuality, personality and taste, and is generally worn as a piece of functional jewelry. As such, the time piece plays an important part in the image presented by the wearer. The following resources represent many of the world's most notable watchmakers. Makers chosen are limited to those offering pieces valued in excess of $10,000.

Audemars Piguet


Chopard Geneve


Harry Winston

Jaeger LeCoultre

Philippe Charriol

Patek Philippe

Several noteable brands currently lack web sites: Rolex, Girard-Perregaux, Vacheron Constantin

Vacation Destinations

In almost all cases, the wealthy either own their vacation homes or loan vacation villas amongst themselves. However, many of the resources listed will give one a flavor of the sorts of vacation homes that the affluent enjoy. Return also to the Real Estate section above, as many of the properties there would serve additionally as vacation homes depending on the location.

Camper & Nicholsons International Villas and Private Resorts

Small luxury hotels of the world

The Parker Company

Overseas Connection

Villas Caribe

Villas by Linda Smith

The Hamptons

Ingleside Inn

Rent a Home International

Vahine Island Resort - something different


Fashion is a remarkably personal topic, and for the wealthy it is personal to the point of purely customized. The wealthy generally have all clothing custom made and hand-fitted. A very small number of establishments are able to meet the needs of such an exacting clientele. The four resources listed below give one a sense of the sort of establishment that is able to satisfy the requirements of the very affluent.

Kilgour French & Stanbury Custom Tailors, Savile Row

Henry Poole and Co., Savile Row

Dion Scott, Custom Wardrobe Designers, Beverly Hills

A Selection of Italian Fashion Design Houses - many provide bespoke tailoring.


For thousands of years jewelry has been the signature of great power and great wealth. From the treasures of Egyptian pharaohs such as King Tut, to the crown jewels of the monarchy, to modern creations of stunning beauty and complexity, the wealthy have always bedecked themselves with the finest jewelry obtainable.

Tiffany Jewelers

Harry Winston

Christopher Designs

David S. Diamonds

Craig Drake



The following two resources are of interest because of their descriptions and images:

Gems of the Rich and Famous - an enlightening, if somewhat tasteless, catalog of gem ownership among several wealthy individuals.

Dazzling Diamonds - Several striking jewelry images.

Festivals and Events


Cannes Film Festival

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

The Hamptons Classic

Spoleto Festival

Napa Valley Wine Auction

Lincoln Center events

U.S. Open, British Open and other PGA events

Other Resources

Sotheby's Auction House

Christie's Auction House

Council on Foundations - Information on starting private foundations, a common way for the wealthy to give back to the community.

Biltmore Estate - America's Largest Home

John B. Scholtz Architect

Accessories and Amusements

Hasselblad cameras

Schimmel Pianos

Steinway Pianos

Exotic Pool Cues

Jorg Hysek

Baltic Leisure Saunas

Putting Greens International

Bengal Cats



Bang & Olufsen

Mark & Levinson


Vidikron Home Theater

Runco Home Theaters

Specialty Vehicles

Dusenberg Motors

Lynch Hummer

Fountain Power Boats

Motor Coach Industries

Vantare Executive Motorcoach


Krystal Enterprises Limosines

Helicopter Association International

Blackhawk Automotive Museum

Pre-owned Vehicle retailers - although their sites are, in general, quite unfortunate:

Ultimate Motor Works

Prestige Imports

Motorcars International

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