We all know that the celebrity lifestyle is a glamorous, pampered one, but have you ever wondered who the biggest spenders in Britain are? There are more than a few likely contenders – premiership footballers on astronomical weekly wages, pop stars selling out arenas by the dozen and socialites blowing their inheritance on jet-setting and exclusive nightclubs.
Aside from these obvious choices, there are also some less well known candidates in the frame. For instance, stock market traders in the City of London, who earn annual bonuses in the millions of pounds bracket. Some of these are almost as notorious as some of the more lively celebrities for their big-spending, hard-partying lifestyles.
Hey big spender
A new survey by Virgin Money has gone some way to ending the speculation by compiling a list of what the company describes as Mega Spenders. Owned by Sir Richard Branson – himself no penny-pincher – the bank set out to discover which of the famous faces "actually most enjoys their hard-earned cash".
Keeping up with the Princes
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is near the top of the list. He owns no less than four yachts and has another on order. This has allegedly been specifically designed to be bigger than the current largest yacht in the world, Platinum, owned by the Crown Prince of Dubai, and will set Abramovich back a stunning £100 million.
Not to be outdone, other hugely successful entrepreneurs are also in the race to build the biggest luxury yacht. According to Virgin, Larry Ellison of Oracle deliberately ordered his yacht to be increased in size during construction to a yacht being built for his rival Paul Allen of Microsoft.
It’s good to have a (realistic) dream
Sadly, for most of the British workforce the dream of being able to spend enough to outdo a rival’s yacht will remain distant one. The type of money that Roman Abramovich is spending on his latest yacht could not be accrued even through an entire lifetime of working for the average UK wage.
However, lack of funds is no barrier to spending big if you are a celebrity it seems. Virgin Money’s Jason Wyer-Smith said that, while constructing the research for the report, it was "interesting" to see that "the rich do not necessarily spend according to their means. It’s not always how much they’ve got to spend but a matter of what they want to buy". Unfortunately, this does not always work out. Many a celebrity spender has filed for bankruptcy after over stretching their finances.
A bird in the hand…
It seems that many rely too heavily on potential future earnings when drawing up their budgets, which can lead into financial difficulties. This is not a problem faced only by the super-rich either. Overspending is increasingly becoming a concern for average Britons of all ages, according to a study conducted by financial services provider Prudential.
Researchers for the company found that more than 3.4 million people in the UK get into debt because of spending in anticipation of receiving a pay rise or bonus. Prudential describes these people as "money illusionists", as they spend money that they have not actually yet received. This practice is believed to be responsible for around £2.49 billion of UK consumer debt. Having trouble with debt – use MoneyExpert’s debt consolidator calculator today and see how much you can reduce your payments
…is worth two cheques in the post
Approximately one in five British adults admitted to spending money they are due as a pay rise or bonus before the funds have been paid into their accounts. Half of this group had run up an average debt of £1,414 through spending in anticipation of receiving more money from their employer. These would be well advised to follow the example of some of the thriftiest millionaires, according to Mr Wyer-Smith.
A penny saved is a penny earned
Sir Ken Morrison, chairman of the Morrisons supermarket chain, does not have a private jet or a chauffeur, despite the fact that he is nearly a billionaire. Microsoft owner Bill Gates, often described as the richest man in the world, drives a Porsche, while the founder of the Ikea furniture chain still drives a Volvo.
Mr Wyer-Smith concluded: "Not many of us have the spending power of those in the list but there are common traits, whatever your bank balance or spending habits. It’s important to make sure you’re looking after your finances, whether that’s spending in the right way, saving for a must-have purchase or protecting your money."
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