Frugal Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford’s claim that, “I always lived very frugally. I flew around in a private jet, I had a boat, but I always lived very frugally” is sufficiently amusing to have drawn scorn from Felix Salmon and Ezra Klein. And, indeed, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for a man “forced to fly on a commercial plane for the first time in almost two decades,” especially when his gains were not only ill gotten but caused so much harm.
Setting aside Stanford’s baggage, though, owning a private plane and a boat could indeed be part of a frugal lifestyle for a man worth $2.2 billion. Plenty of middle class people own boats and some even own planes. Bill Whittle managed to save up enough to buy one eight years after leaving his buddy’s garage!
Presumably, frugality is measured on a sliding scale based on ones resources. If you’ve got $500 in the bank, then flying coach on vacation is probably extravagent. If you’ve got a few hundred mil lying around, spending $5 million for a Lear jet might be considered a perfectly reasonable purchase. Indeed, if your private plane is actually being used for mega-million dollar business deals, it might even be a prudent investment.
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