Straight From Quora

wealthymattersWhat do billionaires do in their spare time?

I know a few multi-millionaires, but only one billionaire, so I will answer in relation to the latter, though there is plenty of overlap with the former:

(1) they read. I do mean, they read. A lot. Mostly, non-fiction. Titles could range from anything on history (seems to be a favourite subject), to finance, to technical literature. I don’t see much of an interest in psychology, though people do seem to read on the various aspects of deal-making, such as negotiations and cultural differences, which is, in a way, related to psychology. I think they stay on top by simply being better informed (just because you have experts working for you does not mean that you yourself do not want to be well-informed) and avoid mistakes made by other in the past. Ordinary people learn from their own mistakes; intelligent people learn from others’ mistakes.

(2) they work. The billionaire, for example, has tonnes of paperwork to go through, be it reports, draft contracts, meetings agendas or other kinds of memos. He has taught himself to speed-read, so he can go over it relatively quickly, but it still often is boxes of stuff. His secretary prints hundreds of pages of emails regularly, just to give you an idea. The millionaires don’t seem to be as much of workaholics, but this is not to say that they relax after they leave the office. Generally, there will be after-hours meetings with various people to hold discussions on potential deal-making, even if it is over a whisky at their club. I think, after a certain level of financial security, people learn that time is the most precious, non-renewable resource and they try to use as efficiently as possible.

(3) their idea of quality time is very different from what the general public seems to think. The billionaire relaxes by reading by the fire. He does have a very, very smart property on the beach, but that he bought because of his wife. His favourite spot is in a remote, mountainous rural area with few amenities. He bought a dilapidated farmhouse there many moons ago. Apart from the smarter furnishings (his wife, again), not much has changed. He tries to go there as often as he can, stacks up a fire, and reads. That’s pretty much his relaxation. The millionaires are the same. They do have some very smart second homes, but they are not all glitz and glamour, save for one’s. Generally, they are more on the rough-and-ready side, because that’s how their owners like them. They spend time with their families there religiously. I think, and this often comes from their mouths, after a certain level, money stops mattering, spending it is even less important, and human relationships become a priority. I suppose, having worked as hard as they have, there is some catching up to do.

(4) they look for further investment or other business opportunities. I suppose business is in their blood; they are always on the look-out. This is probably important to note – the question asks what happens in their “spare” time, but, from what I’ve seen, there is no concept of that. There is no strict separation between work and leisure. A supper with others could often mean establishing a business relationship or sussing out prospective people. Having someone join them for a holiday to their second home is often so that they can combine business and pleasure and a discussion on the parameters of a due diligence on a prospective investment can easily intertwine with a discussion on family or on something that was recently in the news. I suppose, it is fair to say that they are always in business.

(5) they don’t really socialise as much or as glamorously as is usually perceived. Yes, there are some invitations that they cannot miss (like an invitation to the opening of Parliament), but those have to be very high level to make it worth their while. They would obviously attend important events for their family and friends, like weddings. But I don’t really seem them caring much for, say, smart horse-racing events or theatre galas or gallery openings (not that they don’t have an interest in culture; quite the opposite). Only the one millionaire entertains sort-of lavishly, though not too often. The billionaire and the other millionaires rarely, if ever, do, unless it’s one of their children’s important life events, like a wedding. Then, it is all the bells and whistles. But these are once-off events. You will be surprised at how ordinary a dinner party in the home of a millionaire can otherwise be.

(6) they obsess with inducting the next generation into the business. I suppose, it makes sense. Often, it is just smart estate planning, because the progeny is not necessarily interested in going into the business. In that case, they have elaborate share portfolios and whatnot for them, with strings attached. Otherwise, they try to get their children involved, with varying degrees of success. If a child turns out to be a bit of a wastrel, the strategy seems to be to pair them with someone more responsible. That someone responsible is often involved with the main business. They make for very disappointed parents when the children take things for granted. – Anonymous


About Keerthika Singaravel

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