Ever wanted to walk in the shoes of the rich and famous, even if just for a day? I’m sure you can’t help but wonder what it would take to collect vacation homes around the globe, slick, sporty luxury cars, extravagant yachts, and private jets. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the hollywood smile, killer jump shot, or entrepreneurial genius that can catapult us to riches, so us mere mortals have to get a bit creative to get a taste of the finer things in life.
There are a few ways to get there. For starters, you can do it the old fashioned way: saving and investing. You’d be surprised with what a little hard work, sacrifice and a well-crafted investment portfolio can get you. Alternatively, you can “hack” your way into the club with a few creative approaches that may not have you “living” in the lap of luxury but at least vacationing there. Here are 8 luxuries you can have if you really set your mind to it:
1. Lakeside Villa in Europe
Have you ever wanted to escape to a quaint town in Southern Europe to indulge in the rich culture and breathtaking landscapes? Imagine being able to take in a beautiful view of a lake and surrounding mountains in the outskirts of lovely Verona, Italy. A luxury, Italian villa alongside the tranquil Lake Garda with 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, wine cellar, fitness room, kitchen intricately designed with marble and wood, maid’s quarters, laundry room, and a pool can set you back a few million, but who can argue that it’s not worth every penny.
Invest Your Way There: While you can probably sort out some jumbo mortgage arrangement with your friendly Italian banker that could get you in the door for much less, let’s skip the excessive interest charges and hefty mortgage payments and get it for you outright. Assuming an average stock market return of 9.5%, you would’ve been able to call this villa your own if you tucked away $1,582 per month for the past 30 years.
Smart Alternative: Step away from a high profile destination like Italy, and instead shift your attention to Kotor, Montenegro. It’s equally beautiful there, offers the same pleasant, Mediterranean climate, and offers up similarly appointed villas for more than half the price. At just $1,246,000, you’d be a revered property owner for as little as $609 per month over the same timeframe as above.
Use A Luxury Hack: Want to leave the property taxes and housing maintenance to someone else? Check out AirBnB instead. You can just borrow someone else’s villa and enjoy the same lap of luxury for a week for about $5,000. To enjoy this little shortcut, you’d just need to throw $189 per month into the markets for about 2 years.
2. Italian Sports Car
When you have an Italian villa, how can you resist a top notch Italian sports car in the driveway as well. If the moment you set your eyes on a sporty, luxury coupe you have instant chemistry, then a top-of-the-line luxury car may not be just a match made in heaven, but a possible dream turned into reality. The sleek lines of the 2014 Ferrari California are hard to resist, but the price tag of $198,190 is nothing to joke about. Yet, with a 490 horsepower 4.3L v8 engine that does 0-60 in just 3.6 seconds, you really just need to find a way.
Invest Your Way There: Financing and lease options aren’t really the way to go here, so in order to get the keys to your new car, you would have had to make a monthly contribution of $988 over the course of 10 years.
Smart Alternative: While nothing really compares to the sheer beauty and overall cache of a Ferrari, you can still enjoy 4.2 second speed at half the price by instead going with the slick, innovative styling of a Tesla Model S Performance. At the fair purchase price of $94,570, not only will you be sitting on 416 horses that will keep you humming along, but you’ll never have to pump gas again. Going with the Tesla over the Ferrari, you’d have saved both the environment and $507 per month (with a much lower monthly payment of $481) that could be allocated to other more fruitful endeavors.
Use A Luxury Hack: Have a big date or need to impress some friends or clients? You can dig deep and splurge on an exotic car rental for about $1,500 per day. Considering you probably want to add some insurance coverage on that, let’s just call it $1,750. To get there, you can either cash out a few hundred of those savings bonds your grandmother gave you for your birthday all those years or cut back on the premium lattes you get every day over the course of a year and instead put that $32 a week into the market.
3. Luxury Swiss Watch
As their advertising campaign goes, “you never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely take care of it for the next generation.” That pretty much says it all when it comes to this Geneva based, family run watchmaker. Donning one of these timepieces, renowned for it’s precision and craftsmanship, will truly get you noticed. The sapphire crystal casing, self-winding 5990, which is part of Patek Philippe’s Nautilus collection, goes for over $57,000 at retail. But, the best part about a watch like this is that it’s an investment unto itself, as collectors have been known to pay $5-$10 million at auction for these revered accessories.
Invest Your Way There: With all you saved by going with the Tesla, you’d have more than enough to cover this purchase. After 7 years of $480 monthly contributions, you’d be the proud owner of this new, timeless family heirloom.
Smart Alternative: You may have heard of Patek Philippe’s Geneva neighbor, Rolex (although it was founded in London). Well, these guys have some pretty nice watches too, like the Oyster Perpetual Explorer, that retails for a fraction of the price at just $5,775. Own your own with a 3 year contribution of $139 a month piled into the stock market.
Use A Luxury Hack: Get a quality knock off from Canal Street in New York City for about $150. Rolex’s are reasonably easy to find, but Patek Philippe’s aren’t commonly available in knock off form. However, if you’re really interested, then let me know because I know a guy, Joey from Queens, who can track down pretty much anything!
4. 80 ft Yacht
Who wouldn’t want to hit the open seas on their very own 4 stateroom 80-foot yacht with a beautifully appointed interior fully stocked with a gourmet kitchen, wet bar, and top of the line propane grill. Yachting in style is not for the faint of heart, as a vessel of this caliber will not only cost you on the sticker price, but also rack up enormous docking and maintenance fees. But that’s the beauty of having your own boat. You can leave your worries behind, as you set sail for the horizon with not a care in the world.
Invest Your Way There: After 30 years, you and your envious friends will be able to sunbathe on your own 80-footer with a monthly contribution of $1,422.
Smart Alternative: Pick it up used (it’ll feel like new anyway because rich people never actually use them) and scale back the size a bit to a 60 footer, and you could be staring at a much more accommodating price tag of around $524,000, which you could have sorted out for a mere $731 per month for just 20 years.
Use A Luxury Hack: As they say, the only days a boat owner is truly happy is the day they buy it and the day they sell it. Your best bet is to rent instead. Check out a luxury European 80-foot yacht that sleeps up to 8 people with 4 staterooms and 4 bathrooms from Florida’s Key West for just $800 per night. Grab your friends and charter this gem for a 2-week sojourn around the Caribbean for $11,200. Deposit $268 per month into your brokerage account over 3 years, and in no time, you will be cruising off into the sunset like a billionaire playboy.
5. Private Island
If you’re someone who relishes in your own privacy, a private island could be your best bet. After window shopping for your perfect getaway on Private Islands Online, you may find an island like Dumunpalit to be just what you’re looking for. This 75-acre volcanic rock island surrounded by coral reefs in the Mindoro Strait in the Palawan region of the Philippines is located just a short 40-minute flight from Manila (but to avoid the annoyance of air traffic on your private getaway, an additional boat ride is needed from Busuanga Island). Listed for $3.5 million, the island has two residential cottages and 2,000 feet of pristine white sand beach. As a region well-known for several World War II Japanese shipwrecks and a diverse ecosystem of sea life, the area presents marvelous diving and snorkeling opportunities with underwater visibility going down as far as 80 feet.
Invest Your Way There: There’s probably no better way to spend your retirement. By packing away $1,040 per month for 35 years, you will be the proud owner of your own island. Not many people can say that, so you will truly be part of an exclusive club. They may just not be able to find you.
Smart Alternative: If owning an island is all you care about, then you could stay closer to home and get your own island off the coast of Maine for as little as $39,999. Want more than a rock in the ocean but something still a bit more manageable for your wallet, check out Pink Pearl Island (pictured above), which is a 2 acre island just 3 miles off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. With three comfortable, thatched cabanas, you can live the island life for just $500,000, or $407 per month invested over 25 years.
Use A Luxury Hack: There are endless options for renting accommodations on a private islands throughout the world, but a more ambitious approach could just be chartering a boat in Southeast Asia and heading out to explore for unclaimed land just like the pioneers of the wild wild west. One warning is that you may run into some trouble working out the contract details with the locals.
6. Ivy League Degree
While you’re off relaxing on your island, you’ll want to make sure your kids are well taken care of, which means getting them a good education. Each year, U.S. News pulls together a list of the top U.S. Universities, which most recently was topped by Ivy League heavyweight, Princeton University. Founded in 1746, Princeton University has a storied history oozing with prestige and success, having graduated an elite class of budding socialites like former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, millionaire publisher Steve Forbes, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Not a bad club to be in. Imagine the possibilities your kids would enjoy if they someday had the opportunity to follow in those footsteps. Of course, step 1 is getting your foot in the door. With an acceptance rate of just 7.9%, it’s no wonder that the Ivy League social elites are such a small tight-knit group. However, that’s not even the hardest part. Once in, then you have to figure out how you’re going to pay for four years of tuition, room and board that comes in at $53,250 per year (2013-2014: Tuition = $40,170; Room & Board = $13,080).
Invest Your Way There: The great thing is that the U.S. government offers a great tax advantaged way to invest for your kid’s college education through 529 savings plans, which allow you to take federally tax exempt distributions from your investment account to pay for qualified higher education expenses. The idea is if you start saving $373 per month when your little one is just a bun in the oven, you would have had enough to cover their education by the time s/he reaches college age.
Smart Alternative: If your goal is to put your kids in a place to be successful, then you don’t necessarily need the Ivy League education. A state school like University of California – Berkeley is probably a better bet. Ranked #20 on the top U.S. Universities list, Cal, as it’s so affectionately referred to by esteemed alumni like Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, former NBA all-star Jason Kidd, Gap founder Donald Fisher, and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter cofounder Dean Witter, costs a fraction of it’s Ivy League counterparts when you take advantage of in-state tuition, which comes in at only $12,864 per year. Coupled with room and board, you’d be looking at a total price tag of $112,176 over the four years. With it’s close proximity to Silicon Valley and far-reaching alumni network (think student body of 25,774 vs. Princeton’s 5,336), your kid could be well on his/her way with just a monthly investment of $197 over the course of their young life.
Use A Luxury Hack: A nice alternative would be to have them attend school for a year or two, make some friends, and then drop out Mark Zuckerberg style to start their own business with all that money they aren’t paying on tuition and fees. One of the best ways you can set your kids up for success would be to start teaching them about money from the get go. Give them an allowance that’s direct deposited into an investment account, where you can help them invest those funds wisely. By the time they’re college age, they can have the start-up capital to open and run their own business based on whatever they’re interested in. With entrepreneurs making up a majority of the billionaires in the U.S., that makes for a pretty good head start.
7. Private Jet
Now that your kids are on their way to becoming billionaires, you should ask them if they wouldn’t mind chipping in for your own private jet to make traveling back and forth to see them a bit less painstaking. Who wants to sit in security lines and airport traffic in the outskirts of most cities. Having your own jet not only gives you a lot more legroom, but it also allows you to fly into nearly any airport, making it much more convenient to get in and out of town. Lucky for you, right now is the prime time to shop for your own private jet, plane values have dropped significantly over the last few years. Considering a replica of Air Force One probably isn’t necessary, you can go with a nice, fully appointed Gulfstream with leather interior, a full cabin entertainment system, custom carpets and cabinetry, and sound deadening insulation that won’t set you back too much.
Invest Your Way There: You could be hitting the tarmac with a $2,441 monthly investment over 30 years.
Smart Alternative: Enjoy similar flexibility as owning your own plane by joining a private charter club like Jumpjet. With an Elite membership, you pay $5,500 per month and enjoy free flights for you and guest for anywhere across the U.S. So for an annual cost of $66,000 (which can be compiled by investing $329 per month for 10 years), you could be jetsetting across the country like a CEO of a Fortune 50 company.
Use A Luxury Hack: With a number of private planes going down recently with celebs onboard, maybe you should think about taking matters into your own hands and go to flight school. For close to the same price as you’d pay for an annual private jet charter membership ($69,995), you can become a pilot and start jetting around the world on someone else’s dime. Plus, not only will you get paid six figures for it, but you also get to zip through security, have a service staff to wait on you hand and foot, and can sleep through most of the flight just like if you owned your own.
8. Penthouse in NYC
Ever wanted your own penthouse overlooking NYC so you could host one of those epic cocktail parties with champagne and fancy finger foods just like in the movies? Well, let’s go real estate shopping NYC style. A penthouse looking down on the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps depends significantly upon which area of the city and the size of the penthouse, but you’re in luck. Frank Sinatra’s re-designed 3,200 sq. ft. 4 bed, 6 bath penthouse overlooking the East River just went on sale from it’s original list price of $7.7m to a more reasonable $4.995m. With floor to ceiling windows, a NuVo whole home audio system, iPad temperature and lighting controls, motorized window shades, solar panels, and a glass staircase that is an exact replica of New York’s Apple store, you will actually be walking in the footsteps of global icons.
Invest Your Way There: To enjoy your New York City penthouse, you just needed to slip $1,484 a month into your investment account over the course of a 35 year period.
Smart Alternative: Who wants to stare off at Queens, when you could be enjoying the Manhattan skyline for half the price? Instead, head across the East River to Williamsburg, where you could get an equivalent property for a mere $2,495,000. Throw $742 per month into your investment account over that same 35 year period to start taking in the twinkly lights of the big apple skyline.
Use A Luxury Hack: Do it the old school way: marry into it. It’s not hard to find a lonely, rich corporate exec or Wall Street type. They’re all over the city. If heading to the usual highso hangouts doesn’t work, you can always try online / mobile dating. You’d be surprised who uses sites like Tinder these days. Sure, you may not find true love, but you can’t beat the view.
Don’t Wait Another Second To Start Investing
No matter what luxury you want to indulge in, investing is the way to get you there. The key is starting as soon as possible and sticking with it for the long haul. With the power of compounding, every dollar today is worth far more than a dollar one year from now. So, if you want to start living your dreams, then don’t wait another second. Get started at SprinkleBit.com today!
*Please note that the above calculations are based on inputs into Bankrate.com’s investment goals calculator. Results are based on monthly investments made at the beginning of each period that are compounded monthly using an estimated stock market return of 9.5%, which is the average stock market return over the past 50 years. However, keep in mind there is always an inherent risk when investing in stocks, as prices may vary depending on the investments selected and the holding period of the investment. The above calculations also do not include the impact of taxes on your investments, which can reduce your overall net return. Learn more about risks and rewards of investing at SprinkleBit University.