According to the latest Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census, the typical billionaire lifestyle is both global and demanding. This exciting but exhausting lifestyle can be attributed to the juggling of several business commitments, family responsibilities, and maintaining many friendships. On average, a billionaire is involved with about five professional entities. The ‘typical’ billionaire is also married, with two children, and has an extensive social network.

While working aboard superyachts, I was exposed to these ultra high net worth individuals on a regular basis and spent many days studying their lifestyle, habits and choices. What else is there to do when you cater to their every whim and desire. Although I respect the personal lives and secrets of those I have serviced, I am comfortable with sharing some general facts and stories. So here it goes.

Billionaires juggle life and business obligations in their special way. It wasn’t uncommon for a charter guest to come on board a superyacht for a ten days charter with friends and family only to be interrupted after a day or so by a business call/email. At that point, they would hop on the tender, then the helicopter, then a private plane, go to a board meeting or two, then head back on the private jet, helicopter, and tender to spend the night back aboard the luxury yacht. Ouff! And you though your business trip was exhausting!

Other’s, with more power and wealth, and who also considered family time as gold, would do the opposite. They would fly in their team to a local port town, have the business meeting aboard the superyacht’s sundeck, then send off their business associates ashore that same day. Some would allow their guests to drive off on a jet ski for a ride or take a plunge in the Jacuzzi, but most wouldn’t. They simply wanted business time to move along to family time as fast as possible.

In terms of social relationships, billionaires tend to develop friendships with people who share common interests and abilities. This means that billionaires generally have large social circles, often including other billionaires and other ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals. On average, a billionaire has nine other UHNW individuals in his network, including three billionaires. The typical net worth of these associates in a billionaire’s network amounts to US$16 billion. If you think of it, this makes sense. A billionaire has the choice. Unless you have been friends with them since childhood or have created a strong bond under special circumstances, they rarely spend quality time with those who don’t share a similar lifestyle. Usually, their circle of trust is very small, especially in comparison with the number of acquaintance they have from around the world.

Billionaires and those in their social circles tend to have patterns when it comes to their social activity. Some prestigious events are regarded as vitally important to attend by many in this elite club. However, many events are attended by a smaller group of these individuals, based on their interests, hobbies, and passions. 68.3% of billionaires will attend sports events, particularly golf, skiing, football, tennis and equestrian events. 51.9% will attend philanthropic events. 23.4% will participate in outdoor events such as hunting and fishing. 23.1% of all billionaires will attend at least one elite art show annually.

These facts and figures present an important picture of billionaires and their lifestyle, particularly those elements pertaining to their networks, social activities and interests. One thing that is often forgotten by census, but that I know for a fact as true is this – billionaires are people, and sometimes they only want a baloney sandwich with a pickle on the side.


Roxanne Genier