How have you spent the pandemic? How about renting out the entire Four Seasons hotel in Palm Beach, Florida – along with a full staff, of course?
And that's only the start for hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin. While the recession raged, Griffin went shopping.
In August, he spent $69.5 million to buy three sites on an island near Miami where he'll count Rosie O'Donnell and Gloria Estefan among his new neighbors.
That is... if he ever goes there. It's only the latest in Griffin's amazing run of real estate purchases. Even for someone worth an estimated $16 billion, his property portfolio is astounding... as are the prices he pays.
He bought the most expensive home ever sold – a $238 million apartment near Central Park. He owns a waterfront compound in Palm Beach that cost about $350 million... an $84 million modernist Hamptons estate... and a $122 million mansion in London right near Buckingham Palace.
He set the records for the most expensive apartment purchase in both Miami and Chicago.
So when everyone is on home confinement, Griffin can do as he pleases. (He spends most of his time in Chicago.)
Employees at his Citadel Securities trading firm are doing well, too. Griffin booked top staff members and their families into the Palm Beach Four Seasons – which local officials treated as a private residence rather than a hotel because Citadel rented every room in the place. Strict security kept everyone else out.
It's like the bubble the NBA built for its basketball season... but for financial stars.
Rich guys do rich-guy things. They buy nice houses and spend money.
And while you likely haven't spent the pandemic in a luxury hotel or moving in down the street from Queen Elizabeth, we hope you have done well – staying healthy and enjoying what you can.
That's because while you are probably not at Griffin-level wealth... from another view, you are wildly wealthy.
By any global scale, or long-term historical scale, you have assets and a quality of life that make you one of the richest people of all time.
Most people in the history of humankind haven't had two nickels to rub together. For thousands of years, we were lucky when we could stay out of the rain and keep our bellies full.
It has only been since 1900 or so that common people have really been able to amass widespread wealth. America's $68,000 real median household income makes us unimaginably rich in the view of history.
And while you may not feel rich compared with your neighbors, when you expand your view to the rest of the world, even a low income in the United States puts you in rarefied air.
Most importantly, the progress of technology, culture, and medicine provides us a living standard that kings, sheiks, or robber barons from just a century ago would envy.
Put it another way... would you switch places with John D. Rockefeller? You get his oil wealth, but you give up air conditioning, computers, speedy travel, quality recordings of music and movies, and the modern variety of food...
That's not to mention modern medicine's cures for what ails you. Or the fact that around 160 out of 1,000 born in the U.S. in Rockefeller's day died before the age of five, compared with around five out of 1,000 today. We can't imagine what his trip to the dentist was like.
Keeping all that in mind... wouldn't Rockefeller want to switch places with you?
About the only advantage Rockefeller's life retains is his power – which appeals to some, but we don't know that it brings true happiness.
So you are, in many ways, rich. And you're becoming richer...
The U.S. government just recently sent another round of direct payments to millions of Americans... and that means many Americans are richer than ever before.
As I mentioned last week, U.S. personal income has shot up from roughly $20 trillion before the pandemic to a new all-time high of $21.4 trillion. Personal income has doubled since 2005.
Folks are flush with cash... and it turns out they are using that money to invest.
According to a recent poll by Yahoo Finance–Harris, 9% of people who expected to get a $1,400 stimulus check planned to invest some of the money in traditional assets such as stocks... while 7% planned to buy cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Younger investors are excited about cryptocurrencies. The poll showed that 15% of people aged 25 to 40 planned on using some of their stimulus money to buy cryptos.
The results of the poll were a bit surprising to me... And it shows just how high the demand is for cryptocurrencies.
Even big banks like Morgan Stanley are getting in on the action. On March 17, Morgan Stanley announced that it will allow its top-level clients access to bitcoin funds.
Bitcoin and other cryptos are making so much money for investors that folks who have previously had no interest in the traditional stock market are talking about it... And they can't stop talking about it.
It's become such a mania that my colleague and crypto expert Eric Wade is taking part in an urgent crypto briefing next Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time.
In the briefing, Eric will talk about what lies ahead for bitcoin. He'll also give details on several smaller crypto opportunities – that you probably haven't heard of yet – showing 10 times potential...
The event is 100% free to attend and will begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time on March 31.
What We're Reading...
- Young investors are putting stimulus checks into stocks and bitcoin.
- Morgan Stanley becomes the first big U.S. bank to offer its wealthy clients access to bitcoin funds.
- Something different: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sees post-COVID growth, possible full employment in 2022.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
March 24, 2021