Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Trouble With Being Rich!

Most of us have at least occasional thoughts and dreams about being insanely rich and how we might spend our lives with unlimited wealth, right? Wouldn't it be nice not to set an alarm clock and show up at some crappy job every day? Wouldn't it be fun to travel and see the world?

Some of us are already on the path to accumulating wealth to make these very dreams come true. But in the back of our minds there's this nagging question about what responsibilities are involved in managing all that money and the lifestyles that go along with it - not to mention what would we do with ourselves once we're free from the struggle?

Since writing this blog I've had many, many questions about how the rich live; where do they go, what do they eat, what do they do with all their free time? And there's about 90 million Google inquiries asking "Are Rich People Happy?"

Most definitely there's unseen burdens and untold obligations associated with being super rich, and there's many opinions on the subject of course. But one of the most insightful I've read in a long time is an article in the BBC News by Angela Henshall, entitled "The Trouble With Being a Billionaire".

Among her many pearls of wisdom, Henshall quotes Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires about Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.

To cite an example, in one of the topics about how rich people raise their kids, Mezrich writes: "The children of the supremely wealthy have lots of issues because they never had to struggle - and struggle makes us strong. Struggle is the human condition, the key to evolution, the reason we adapt. If you don't have to struggle, you don't really have to get smart or strong, you just drift along." 

Personally I wouldn't mind drifting along for a few weeks or months, dilly dallying on an exotic beach somewhere in the Caribbean or hopping around the Greek islands. But that gets boring pretty quick, doesn't it?

Then we're faced with the age-old question that all rich people must ultimately deal with, most poetically described when Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby forlornly mused"What will we do with ourselves this afternoon, and the day after that, and the next thirty years?" 

Before going, here's a link to Angela Henshall's fascinating article in the BBC News: "The Trouble With Being a Billionaire".

Thanks from dropping in this evening,

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Farewell F.A.O. Schwarz!

With all the crazy news going on in the world these days the last thing we ever expected was an announcement in the New York Times that F.A.O.Schwarz is closing its doors on Fifth Avenue.

Quoting the Times article"The legendary toy store on Fifth Avenue will close its doors July 15, a victim of rising rents and ultraluxury retailing in New York City's hottest shopping district."

For millions of us who have known this store since childhood this is truly heartbreaking news. And for millions more who've seen the movie 'Big', who can forget Tom Hanks romping around inside and dancing 'Chopsticks' on the floor piano?

Sitting there on Fifth Avenue in the very midst of ultra high-end retailers and surrounded by neighbors like the Plaza Hotel, Bergdorf's, Cartier and Tiffany's, Schwarz was like the crown jewel of the whole neighborhood - a children's toy store in the very epicenter of all the opulence. Like a heart throb to remind us what a society and culture is all about.

Schwarz is not closing its doors altogether, just looking for lower rent somewhere off Fifth Avenue. Founded in Baltimore in 1862 by Frederick August Otto Schwarz, the store has held a New York location since 1870 and will be around for many more years to come in one form or another.

We'll look forward to hearing the new location, but we're going to miss the Fifth Avenue store big time - especially their charming windows at Christmas with the little trains running around. Allowing rising rents to push Schwarz off Fifth seems like a sad and insidious crime, doesn't it? Who's next to flee? Tiffany's? Cartier?

Unthinkable? Well then why is Schwarz having to move out?

Thanks for stopping by,