The 10 (very expensive) hobbies of the super wealthy

Watch collecting is one of the many pursuits of the super wealthy. Picture : Reuters

Watch collecting is one of the many pursuits of the super wealthy. Picture : Reuters

Published Nov 29, 2022


When you have all the money in the world and don’t need to work, what is left to do?

Well, for the super wealthy, collecting art and watches and going fly fishing are some of their all-time favourite pursuits.

Based on the findings of New World Wealth’s in-house high-net-worth individuals database, there are 10 most popular pursuits of centi-millionaires (the new super wealthy).

According to The Centi-millionaire Report 2022, this year marked the rise of the centi-millionaire, a person whose wealth amounts to 100 million in any currency.

The centi-millionaire is the new benchmark to be considered as being super wealthy, according to the report.

Centi-millionaires are typically the founders of successful companies or the CEOs of large multinationals.

There are only 25 490 centi-millionaires in the world (as at June 2022), so it’s an elite club. Interestingly, South Africa has only five billionaires but 92 centi-millionaires.

Most of them have their own private jets and super-yachts. Their assets and finances are normally managed by private family offices and they traditionally have three or more homes that they move between over a year.

While travelling to the French Riviera and Switzerland ski towns, as well as staying at luxurious hotels in Las Vegas and Monaco, are some of the things the super wealthy spend their money on, the pursuits do not fall in the top 10 list of what you and I would call hobbies.

According to the report, the ultra wealthy tend to divert a portion of their millions toward the expected pursuits — travel, luxury goods such as a $1m (about R17m) Patek Philippe watches, fine art (with the market valued at more than $85 billion), golf, and classic cars such as a 1960s Ferrari 250 GTO valued at $40m.

However, seven of the 10 most common pursuits for centi-millionaires involve outdoor recreation such as mountain biking and the increasingly popular fly-fishing. They are also spending more on sustainable purchases and eco-friendly investments.

The 10 most common pursuits:

1. Golf

2. Art collecting

3. Cycling and mountain biking

4. Skiing

5. Horse riding

6. Fishing

7. Classic car collecting

8. Hunting

9. Yachting and sailing

10. Watch collecting

Cycling and classic car collecting, as well as fishing, particularly fly-fishing, are growing in popularity amongst the world’s super wealthy.

Art collecting, which is second on the list, is an expensive pursuit, with the global fine art market being valued at just over $85bn.

Works by Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso can fetch around $50m each.

The most expensive painting sold is is Da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’. It fetched $450m at auction in 2017.

The world’s ultra-wealthy love hunting for a bargain but they also buy artworks in the core market, because they know the works can deliver real value.

There has also been a rise in private museums in Asia, including in China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, where collectors want to leave a legacy.

Buying classic cars can cost the super wealthy anything from $100 000 to $40m. The brands of choice include Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.

The super wealthy are also travelling to various cities or countries for fly fishing. Rivers that are popular for fly fishing can be found in Argentina, New Zealand and Iceland, among others.

IOL Business