|by Leonard Steinberg|
I know wealthy people rather well. In the USA, ‘wealthy’ is attributed to the 5% worth $2.5 million or more. I have worked with and been around wealthy people all my life and I feel I truly understand what really, really matters to them. These days – more than ever – there are six things that I feel matter to them most as it relates to where they choose to live:
1. Culture: Why make all that money if you cannot spend it on something and enjoy the fruits of society such as art, music, theatre, opera, great food, etc. These are the things that stimulate creativity and fuel enjoyment of life.
2. Health. Everyone knows by now – more so than ever before – that without good health life is very different and less enjoyable. Being healthy and having access to outstanding healthcare is critically important. Access to the best Doctors, Hospitals, nutrition, workout and exercise facilities all matter. Creating a healthy living environment in a healthy city/town/village is an increasing priority.
3. Opportunity: To create, grow and maintain wealth being in a place that encourages, stimulates and nurtures opportunity is vital. These days much of this can be done remotely by investing in far off places, yet the environment wealthy people live in must have a ‘can-do’ spirit, and attract job-creating industries that stimulate growth
4. Taxes. I have yet to find a wealthy person who dreams of paying more taxes. Unfortunately our world has classified all wealthy people as “billionaires who don’t pay their fair share of taxes”. In some areas this is true for the few who have enormous tax loopholes that allow them to pay far less than similarly wealthy people…..who end up paying much more to compensate for this (mostly legal) abuse of the system. Lumping all the wealthy under one umbrella is silly: I know many wealthy people who are quite comfortable paying their fair share of taxes (and some even believe they should pay more!) as long as what they pay in shows real value to the world and their community. Too often tax money is wasted and inefficiently spent.
5. Education: I know of many wealthy people who made a move specifically for schools or colleges. Some have moved towards the cities with the best educational institutions knowing corporations and innovation will follow suit. I feel certain Mike Bloomberg’s investment in the Cornell Tech Campus in New York has helped fuel a tech boom in the city. Business goes to where the talent is.
6. Safety: Most wealthy people simply don’t want to worry (or even think) about crime and safety. Safety may be their most important priority. Any country, state, village, town or city that is unable to deliver safety and security is doomed to attract or retain the wealthy.
All people will prioritize the above differently, but all matter. And all the above matter to ALL people, wealthy and not wealthy. Some of these needs may be offset by a private jet or broadband. If any state, city, town or village wishes to attract – and retain – wealthy people to their area, focusing on the above six items would be prudent and practical. While some may resent the wealthy right now, we cannot ignore some harsh realities: the wealthy pay almost 39% of all federal taxes collected, create businesses, donate heavily to charities, cultural and educational institutions, spend LOTS, create jobs and new industries and invest in them to grow, etc. Some are monsters for sure, but the vast majority are not. Most of us are extremely reliant on the buying habits of the wealthy. Unfortunately unlike most of us, the wealthy have the luxury of mobility and choice, and they will gravitate toward the places that deliver most of the above …..because they can.
Thought that this was a very interesting article and something that you might not know.