Under Biden’s plan, the top 1% of Americans would pay an extra $100,000 in taxes every year

biden amtrak
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.

  • Biden wants to increase taxes on the highest-earning Americans to offset his spending plans.
  • His proposed increases would basically only impact the top of 1% of Americans, according to a report.
  • Biden’s tax proposals aren’t final, and his proposed capital gains increase may not go up that much.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Under President Joe Biden’s proposed tax increases, the top 1% of Americans could soon see their tax bills grow by about $100,000 per year.

A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) finds that only the highest-earning Americans would see their taxes change if President Biden’s proposed increases to the income tax rate and capital gains rate pass. That change is concentrated amongst the top 1%, defined as those with an income over $681,600 (their average income is $2,167,700). The bottom 99% of taxpayers would see a 0% tax change, it said.

On average, the highest earners would see an increase of $104,130 in taxes, coming in at around 4.8% of their income. For those making between $276,200 to $681,600 – an average income of $404,100 – the average tax increase would be $20 a year.

Some states will be hit harder than others by tax increases

In a few states, a larger share of the population would feel the impact of proposed tax hikes. The report highlights that in five states – and the District of Columbia – a more than 1% share of the population would feel a hit.

Those are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, and New York. In Massachusetts and New Jersey, 1.2% of the population would be affected by tax hikes. The wealthiest New York City residents will soon have the highest tax rate in the country regardless, per Insider’s Hillary Hoffower.

Biden’s proposals target the wealthy, but they’re not final

Biden’s latest tax proposals explicitly target the highest-earning Americans to offset the costs of multibillion-dollar investments in childcare, education, and paid leave. He’s also proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to offset investments in infrastructure like roads and bridges.

Beyond increases, the IRS could also get about $80 billion in funding to ramp up enforcement on the wealthiest taxpayers, as Biden is proposing. A recent study by IRS researchers and academics found that the top 1% of Americans may be hiding billions from the IRS; Biden’s increased IRS funding could raise $700 billion over a decade, which would still leave the wealthy hiding hundreds of billions.

Of course, the package still has a long way to go before becoming law. A Morgan Stanley research note looked at Biden’s proposals versus what they predict as possible, and said the corporate tax rate and rate on capital gains will ultimately come in lower. However, the income tax rate increase and IRS enforcement will likely be as Biden proposes.

“Look, I’m not out to punish anyone. But I will not add to the tax burden of the middle class of this country,” Biden said in a Wednesday speech to the joint session of Congress.

He added: “When you hear someone say that they don’t want to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% and on corporate America – ask them: whose taxes are you going to raise instead, and whose are you going to cut?”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Richer countries have most available vaccine doses as the global recovery becomes K-shaped

vaccination
A woman receives the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the US, which is ahead of vaccination compared to other countries.

  • The wealthiest countries are vaccinating 25 times faster than the poorest countries, per Bloomberg.
  • Wealthier countries were snapping up doses in November, creating a vaccine shortage.
  • Poorer countries may not have enough vaccine supply until 2024, a Duke University analysis found.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The vaccine race has intensified wealth inequality across the globe.

Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker found that the world’s wealthiest countries are vaccinating at 25 times the rate of the poorest countries. The database has thus far tracked more than 726 million doses administered in 154 countries.

So far, per the tracker, about 5% of the global population is able to get fully vaccinated. But the vaccines have been unevenly distributed, with 40% going to 27 wealthy countries that comprise 11% of the global population and 1.6% going to the countries comprising the poorest 11%.

Consider Pakistan. It has 2.7% of the world’s population, but has only received 0.1% of the vaccines. Meanwhile, the US, which accounts for 4.3% of the world’s population, has nearly a quarter of the world’s vaccines.

As of Thursday, the US has vaccinated nearly 20% of its population. It’s set to have enough vaccines for 75% of Americans by the end of June, per Bloomberg.

The pandemic has widened many wealth gaps

Patchy vaccine distribution is just the latest way the pandemic is exacerbating wealth inequality. In the US, the divide between the rich and the poor deepened as the economy’s recovery turned K-shaped, with higher-earning Americans recovering and lower-income Americans continuing to struggle.

From nabbing coronavirus tests when there was a shortage during the first stages of the pandemic to taking advantage of loopholes to get vaccinated early, the system has been working for the wealthy since the pandemic began.

The same dynamic has manifested on a global scale. While the global economy is expected to grow by 6% in 2021, according to IMF’s World Economic Outlook, that growth is projected to be uneven. Lower-income countries are expected to see an average annual loss of 5.7% per capita GDP from 2020 to 2024, but advanced economies will see a smaller loss of 2.3% in the same time frame.

“Recoveries are diverging dangerously across and within countries,” wrote Gita Gopinath, chief economist for the IMF.

Wealthier countries were snapping up “billions of doses” as early as November, reported The Washington Post’s Emily Rauhala, creating a supply shortage for poorer countries that could last until 2024.

She cited an analysis from researchers at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center that suggested these priority-supply deals between countries and drug manufacturers were undermining the World Health Organization’s initiative to equitably distribute vaccines.

The Biden administration committed $4 billion in February to Covax, a global vaccine alliance dedicated to ensuring equitable vaccine distribution, to help bolster the worldwide vaccine effort. More than 190 countries are participating.

“It’s unconscionable,” Zain Rizvi, an expert on access to medicine at Public Citizen, told Rauhala in a follow-up story. “Many countries will be lucky if by the end of the year they are close to where the US is now.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Millionaire New Yorkers are now set to pay the highest taxes in the country

wealthy new yorkers
The wealthiest New Yorkers might see their tax rates increase to the highest in the country.

New York City millionaires will soon be subject to the highest tax rate in the country.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders finalized a $212 billion budget proposal for 2022 on Tuesday that’s set to raise an extra $4.3 billion a year by raising income and corporate taxes, The New York Times’ Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley reported. The proposal calls for two new personal income-tax brackets, set to expire by the end of 2027, per exclusive details given to the Times earlier this week.

Those earning between $5 million and $25 million will be taxed on 10.3% of their income. That increases to 10.9% for those earning more than $25 million. And individuals raking in over $1 million and couples bringing in over $2 million will see tax rates climb from 8.82% to 9.65%.

These tax rates hit especially hard for New York City’s highest earners. The city already has a top income-tax rate of 3.88%, which means they’ll now be shelling out between 13.5% and 14.8% in both state and city taxes. That exceeds the highest top marginal income tax rate in the country: 13.3% for top earners in California.

However, they may not be the highest taxed for long if Hawaii’s legislature passes a bill imposing a 16% tax on residents earning over $200,000.

New York is dealing with economic pain

Cuomo said in January he planned on raising taxes if the White House didn’t help the state recover from its $15 billion deficit, Insider’s Grace Dean reported. It’s the highest deficit in New York’s history, exceeding the previous high of $10 billion, which Cuomo said was “very, very hard” to manage.

In an address, Cuomo attributed New York’s deficit to the state being “assaulted by the federal government” in recent years as well as to the cost of COVID-19, which caused the state’s revenues to fall by $5.1 billion.

As the epicenter of the US’ first wave of COVID-19, New York City was slammed with small-business closures and saw many of its top-earning residents move to take advantage of lower taxes in other states. Urbanism expert Richard Florida told Insider the flight of the wealthy caused a lot of financial pain for superstar cities like New York.

Cuomo called for the federal government to provide New York with emergency pandemic relief. He said that if Washington gave the state only $6 billion in a “worst-case scenario,” he would hike taxes to cover the difference.

“We have a plan in place, a strength that we have not had before and I believe our future is bright, but Washington must act fairly if we are to emerge on the other side of this crisis,” he said.

While Democrats considered raising more than $7 billion in new revenue for the state, The Times reported, such discussions fell to the side when President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package was approved, which included $12.9 billion in direct aid for New York state. It also included $5.6 billion for New York City, which Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported might have saved catastrophic cuts to the city budget.

Cuomo has resisted raising taxes for years out of fear it would drive businesses and the wealthy to other states. If all of the wealthiest New Yorkers fled the city, they could take more than $133 billion with them. That’s how much the top 1% of New Yorkers earned in income in 2018, a report from Bloomberg found.

The Times attributed Cuomo’s change of mind to the economic fallout of the pandemic, a growing progressive influence in the legislature, and the governor’s own “waning influence.”

The budget proposal is finalized as Biden reportedly gets even more serious about taxing the wealthy. He’s said that Americans making over $400,000 will see a “small to significant” tax increase and high-earning Americans could see their top income-tax rate increase to 39%.

If Biden’s tax proposal is enacted now that Cuomo’s has been, that means some of the richest New York City dwellers could be paying out more than half of their earnings in taxes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Millionaire New Yorkers could soon be paying the highest taxes in the country

wealthy new yorkers
The wealthiest New Yorkers might see their tax rates increase to the highest in the country.

New York City millionaires are about to fall under the highest tax rate in the country.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders are coming close to agreeing on a 2022 budget proposal that would create an extra $4.3 billion a year by raising income and corporate taxes, The New York Times’ Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley reported. The proposal calls for two new personal income tax brackets set to expire by the end of 2027, per exclusive details given to the Times.

Those earning between $5 million and $25 million would be taxed on 10.3% of their income. That increases to 10.9% for those earning over $25 million. And individuals raking in over $1 million and couples bringing in over $2 million would see tax rates climb from 8.82% to 9.65%.

These tax rates hit especially hard for New York City’s highest earners. The city already has a top income tax rate of 3.88%. If the budget proposal is approved, they would be shelling out between 13.5% and 14.8% in both state and city taxes, per the Times. That exceeds the country’s current marginal income tax rate high: 13.3% for top earners in California.

New York is dealing with economic pain

Cuomo said in January he planned on raising taxes if the White House didn’t help the state recover from its $15 billion deficit, Insider’s Grace Dean reported. It’s the highest deficit in New York’s history, she wrote. The state’s biggest deficit prior to this was $10 billion, which Cuomo said was “very very hard” to manage.

In an address, Cuomo attributed New York’s deficit to the state being “assaulted by the federal government” over recent years as well as to the cost of COVID-19, which caused the state’s revenues to fall by $5.1 billion.

As the epicenter of the US’ first wave of COVID-19, New York City was slammed with small business closures and saw many of its top-earning residents move to take advantage of taxes in other states. Urbanism expert Richard Florida told Insider the flight of the wealthy caused a lot of financial pain for superstar cities like New York.

Cuomo called for the federal government to provide New York with emergency pandemic relief. He said that if Washington only gave the state $6 billion in a “worst-case scenario,” he would hike taxes to cover the difference.

“We have a plan in place, a strength that we have not had before and I believe our future is bright, but Washington must act fairly if we are to emerge on the other side of this crisis,” he said.

While Democrats considered raising more than $7 billion in new revenue for the state, the Times reported, such discussions fell to the side when President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package was approved, which included $12.9 billion in direct aid for New York state. It also included $5.6 billion for New York City, which Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported may have saved catastrophic cuts to the city budget.

Cuomo has resisted raising taxes for years out of fear it would drive businesses and the wealthy to other states. If all of the wealthiest New Yorkers fled the city, they could take more than $133 billion with them. That’s how much the top 1% of New Yorkers earned in income in 2018, a report from Bloomberg found.

The Times attributed Cuomo’s change of mind to the economic fallout of the pandemic, a growing progressive influence in the legislature, and the governor’s own “waning influence.”

The budget proposal is due to be finalized as Biden reportedly gets even more serious about taxing the wealthy. He’s said that Americans making over $400,000 will see a “small to significant” tax increase and high-earning Americans could see their top income-tax rate increase to 39%.

If both Biden and Cuomo’s tax proposals are enacted, that means the richest New York City dwellers could be paying out more than half of their earnings in taxes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

7 signs you’re rich, even if it doesn’t feel like it

business woman
  • “Rich” doesn’t necessarily mean owning a huge mansion or taking luxury vacations.
  • You’re wealthy if you can afford to save money every month and are on track to retire when you want to.
  • Another sign you’re wealthy is being able to make choices based on what you want, not just your financial needs.
  • Visit Personal Finance Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“Rich” is relative.

Maybe you think it means being in the top 1% of earners in some of the wealthiest cities in the US. Maybe it means being able to buy a flashy mansion or spend your life flitting from luxury vacation to luxury vacation.

But former investment banker Kristin Addis told Insider she feels richer earning about 40% of her previous six-figure salary while she travels the world. Nick and Dariece Swift, who also left their jobs to make a fraction of their former income, said they’re happier earning less. The self-made millionaire stars of “West Texas Investor’s Club” say their relationships are more valuable than the money they earn.

Ultimately, “rich” can be just as subjective as “happy” – it’s different for everyone. However, there are a few universal indications of wealth, no matter how you view it.

1. You can save money

“Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much money you make. It’s how much money you keep,” writes Robert Kiyosaki in “Rich Dad Poor Dad.”

At the end of the day, money does not solve financial problems – in fact, it often exacerbates them. Consider the lottery winners who lost it all within a few years, or the professional athletes who made millions in their 20s and wound up broke.

“Money often makes obvious our tragic human flaws, putting a spotlight on what we don’t know,” says Kiyosaki. “That is why, all too often, a person who comes into a sudden windfall of cash – let’s say an inheritance, a pay raise, or lottery winnings – soon returns to the same financial mess, if not worse, than the mess they were in before.” 

If you can hold on to a portion of the money you earn, you’re in good shape.

2. You can live comfortably below your means

Living below your means is one of the major tenets of responsible money management: spending less than you earn, however much that may be.

Self-made billionaire Anthony Hsieh told Insider that learning to live within his means was a lesson he learned from his parents, who immigrated to the US from Taiwan.

The habit “has helped me quite a bit and that’s one of the reasons I’ve survived and flourished in consumer lending for 30 years,” he said. “My career spans four different economic and housing cycles and I’m still sitting at the table as a key executive in consumer lending. I think part of that is my discipline of making certain that the company and myself don’t overspend.”

Living within your means might not sound like a big deal if you’re already doing it, but not everyone can manage. A 2019 report released by GOBankingRates found that a third of Americans surveyed are living paycheck to paycheck.

3. You will eventually be able to pay for the things you really want 

If you can go out and buy a yacht in cash today, most people would agree that you’re rich. However, if you can go out and buy that same yacht five years from now after setting a savings goal and socking away money on a monthly or annual basis, guess what? You’re probably still rich.

Survey after survey turns up the same dispiriting result: Americans aren’t saving all that much. The same GOBankingRates survey reported that 45% of respondents had no household savings, and an estimated 40 million households have no retirement savings whatsoever.

Which brings us to our next point …

4. You’re going to be able to afford to retire as planned

Retirement is expensive. Experts say that to live lavishly in retirement, you need to replace about 70%-80% of your current income (although that number is disputed). Even if you’ve downsized, and maybe even relocated to an area with a low cost of living, retirement is still a prolonged period of supporting yourself on little or no income. 

Traditionally, “retirement age” is 65, but that’s changing as more Americans find they’re unable to float 20-plus years of living without a paycheck. Data from a 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that nearly 20% of Americans age 65 and older are still working.

If you can afford to retire when you want to, it’s a luxury.

5. You aren’t motivated purely by money

One common thread you’ll find among self-made millionaires and those who study them is that “rich people” tend to focus on something other than the dollar signs: They’re solving a problem, or following a passion, or striving to build their business as much as possible.

That, right there, is a luxury. If you can’t make ends meet, you can bet you’ll be focusing on the dollar signs over the intellectual fulfillment of your job.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be happy to earn a sizable paycheck or you can’t be excited to watch your investments grow, but money isn’t your chief motivator or source of joy. If you have the luxury to focus on something other than the money, you’re in a good place.

6. You view money as an ally

“Most people have a dysfunctional, adversarial relationship with money,” writes self-made millionaire Steve Siebold. “After all, we are taught that money is scarce – hard to earn and harder to keep. If you want to start attracting money, stop seeing it as your enemy and think of it as one of your greatest allies.”

The reason wealthy people earn more wealth is because they’re not afraid to admit that money can solve most problems, Siebold says: “[The middle class] sees money as a never-ending necessary evil that must be endured as part of life. The world class sees money as the great liberator, and with enough of it, they are able to purchase financial peace of mind.”

If you aren’t scared of money – if you view it as an ally, and a tool that can help you achieve what you want in life – you’re ahead of the game.

7. You aren’t stuck

“What I have realized over time is that in many ways, money spells freedom,” self-made millionaire and NastyGal founder Sophia Amoruso wrote in her book, “#GIRLBOSS.” She continued:

“If you learn to control your finances, you won’t find yourself stuck in jobs, places, or relationships that you hate just because you can’t afford to go elsewhere. … Being in a good spot financially can open up so many doors. Being in a bad spot can slam them in your face.”

Kathleen Elkins contributed reporting.

Related Content Module: More Personal Finance Coverage

Read the original article on Business Insider

Waldorf Astoria has unveiled a private island in the Maldives for the ‘privileged few’ at $75,000 a night – take a look around

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

  • Waldorf Astoria has unveiled its Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.
  • The island can be booked for $75,000 a night for up to 24 guests.
  • The hotel chain has another resort nearby, but wanted to unveil a private island for the “privileged few.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you’re looking for a lush and expensive getaway distanced from other people, Waldorf Astoria’s latest private island offering may be the perfect place for you.

The luxury hotel chain already has a nearby $1,700-a-night resort in the Maldives that was launched in 2019, but if you’re looking for more exclusivity and luxury, head to its latest Ithaafushi private island instead

Here, social distancing should be no problem, especially since you and whoever you travel with will be the only guests on the island (accompanied by a personal concierge team, of course).

Read more: Wealthy parents are investing in high-end, ‘backyard’ camp experiences and private excursions to give their kids a taste of summer in light of COVID-19

“We have launched the private island for discerning travelers during this time when we know that safety and security are a top priority amongst the evolving needs of travellers,” Etienne Dalancon, general manager at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, told Insider in an email interview. “The Ithaafushi private island offers a high level of exclusivity and natural social distancing. “

“The main focus of Ithaafushi private island was to offer an escape where guests can have their own private haven that connects with nature, offering more outdoor spaces so they can enjoy holistic activities in distanced spaces,” Dalancon told Insider.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Waldorf Astoria has done just that with this new island.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The Ithaafushi private island is the hotel chain’s “crown jewel of their luxury portfolio in Asia Pacific,” Nils-Arne Schroeder, vice president of luxury and lifestyle at Hilton’s Asia Pacific segment, said in a statement.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Source: Hilton

According to the hotel chain, Ithaafushi is Dhivehi for “pearl island.”

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The island is a 40-minute yacht ride away from Malé, Maldives.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Don’t worry about providing your own boat: guests can take one of the resort’s six yachts.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

If you’re prone to seasickness, the island can also be accessed via a 15-minute seaplane flight.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The private property spans 344,445 square-feet, providing space for up to 24 guests.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Upon stepping foot on the island, visitors will be greeted by a concierge team.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Despite its isolation, the private island houses plenty of activities, including watersports and diving.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The beach swing at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Not much of a water person? Yoga enthusiasts can head to the yoga pavilion or gym, where guests can also request a personal trainer or classes.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The fitness center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

There’s also a wellness concierge and a spa for those who need some more relaxation time on the private getaway.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The yoga pavilion at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The island may be surrounded by an ocean, but its occupants can instead choose to swim in one of the island’s five pools, which includes an almost 115-foot infinity pool.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

No need to travel by foot around the Ithaafushi private island: guests can take a bicycle or one of the buggies.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Accommodations on the Ithaafushi private island include two villas and a four-bedroom home.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The first two-bedroom villa come with two primary bedrooms, dressing rooms, and a living room

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The villa also has an infinity pool and jacuzzi.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The two-bedroom villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

When it’s time to clean off, the villa’s occupants can either use the indoor or outdoor rain showers.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The other villa, which has three bedrooms, has direct beach access and two swimming pools.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

The final four-bedroom unit is made up of two king and two queen bedrooms.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Like its smaller counterparts, the four-bed home has a living area, jacuzzis, and easy beach access.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The four-bedroom residence at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

When it’s time to eat, the on-island culinary team can prepare your meals. But if that’s not enough, guests can take a speed boat to the main resort and dine at one of its 10 eateries.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

This getaway is perfect for a variety of people, from a wedding party to a group of loved ones to a work trip for clients, according to the hotel chain.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

And if you’re planning on bringing children, they can spend time on the island’s children’s pool or gaming section.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The entertainment center at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Despite its high nightly price, all of these amenities have caught the eyes of several potential visitors.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The three-bedroom beach villa at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

According to Dalancon, the hotel chain has already seen a “significant number of requests” for the private getaway.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

“We are committed to making the Ithaafushi private island a highly sought after, world-class destination for the privileged few,” Dalancon said in a statement.

Waldorf Astoria's Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives
The yoga pavilion at Waldorf Astoria’s Ithaafushi private island in the Maldives.

Source: Hilton

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet ‘Bling Empire’s’ haute couture collector, who’s bringing wealthy Asian American Angelenos to Netflix

Christine Chiu
Christine Chiu.

  • Christine Chiu is a producer, philanthropist, collector of haute couture, and cofounder of Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, with her husband, Dr. Gabriel Chiu.
  • Chiu typically attends at least 30 fashion shows a year, and tries to buy something from each (haute couture can cost over $100,000).
  • Her lifestyle will be on display in her Netflix show, “Bling Empire,” which chronicles the lives of wealthy Asian Americans in LA.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

One day, Christine Chiu was speaking to a friend, telling her how much she loved an outfit she’d seen during a fashion show. It was a piece of haute couture, of course. Each one of those is unique, one-of-a-kind, and therefore can only be sold once. It’s also usually quite expensive. Chiu had to get her hands on it.

“I discovered later that [my friend] had changed her appointment time with the fashion house ahead of mine so that she could purchase it first,” Chiu told Insider. “I learned quickly that all is fair in love and couture.”

Not every company can say it makes haute couture. In France, it’s regulated by the Ministry of Industry, which chooses which brands are true emblems of the craft. 

Read more: Inside wealthy kids’ weird, pricey pandemic purchases, from $1,000 Patagonia fleeces to a $31.8 million T. rex

Chiu attended her first haute couture show at the age of 26 and remembers it clearly. She was bright-eyed and filled with excitement. “I was immediately transported to an era of ultimate luxury and refinement,” she said, “and fell in love with these museum-worthy pieces of wearable art.”

During the pandemic, Chiu said her methods for shopping haven’t changed, but her perception of what it means to responsibly consume luxury has. She said she found herself with a great incentive to spend money on brands that took a moral stance. 

For example, Chiu paid close attention when Burberry used its trench coat factories to make hospital gowns, and when Valentino and Balmain donated millions to the COVID-19 relief effort. She also watched to see how companies responded to the Black Lives Matter protests. 

There are rules to this haute couture game

A typical, non-pandemic year sees Chiu attending about 30 shows a year – or about 15 shows per fashion season. She usually buys something from each show and has amassed a collection that includes gowns, capes, accessories, and even shoes. 

Christine Chiu
Christine Chiu attends the ‘Stephane Rolland’ Paris Shows-Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week.

Pieces of couture can easily cost over $100,000 and Chiu said, without naming a price, that her most expensive pieces cost “more than the median cost of a home in the US.” That was more than $300,000 as of the summer of 2020. They cost “less than a Jeff Koons piece of work,” she clarified – the most recent of those just publicly sold for $91 million

A glimpse of her jet-set lifestyle can be seen on her new Netflix show “Bling Empire” which premiered on January 15. The show chronicles the lives of successful Asians and Asian Americans, from various cultural and professional backgrounds, living in Los Angeles. It will feature DJ Kim Lee, investor Kane Lim, and Jaime Xie, daughter of billionaire Fortinet founder Ken Xie.

Chiu is a producer on the show and told Insider that she wanted to show the journey of herself and her husband – with whom she founded Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery in 2006 – in balancing western expectations with eastern values and traditions. 

Chiu’s journey began in Taiwan, where she was born. (She moved to the United States when she was 5 years old.) Her husband, on the other hand, is from Hong Kong, and he came to the US at the age of 2.

“Bling Empire” will show the Chiu family as philanthropists, raising awareness for their favorite charities and organizations; as world voyagers living a jet-set life, and of course, in lots of couture. “It was an incredible experience full of laughter and tears for me,” Lee told Insider about her experience working on the show, adding that Chiu “definitely knows how to throw the best parties.”

Knowing how to throw a good party is a staple skill on the jet-set circuit. In fact, Chiu said one of the main reasons she buys haute couture is for events – weddings, red carpets, film festivals. That’s all changed with the pandemic, however. But let’s pretend, just for a moment, that it’s the year 2019. 

This would see Chiu in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. Those are just the big named fashion cities, not including the trips that come in between. Each city has its own fashion houses, and each house – whether it’s Chanel, Givenchy, Armani, or Christian Dior – has its respective traditions, and desired protocols.

Christine Chiu
Christine Chiu attends the Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2019 2020 show as part of Paris Fashion Week.

Generally, Chiu said, the experience of buying haute couture starts like this: each house gives a presentation, commonly known as a fashion show. From there, the game begins.

Clients of haute couture have to be invited, as reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Binkley, and they are usually introduced by someone who knows someone super well-connected to an haute couture house.

During fashion weeks, these invite-only individuals are allowed to book private appointments to get a second look at what was shown at the presentations. 

“Some houses would hire a model [to] ‘re-model’ the client’s selected pieces,” Chiu said. “While in other circumstances, the designer walk meets with clients to discuss [their] inspiration and make personal recommendations.”  

Once the potential buyer selects their favorite look, they can suggest further customizations to the outfit.

After a deposit is put down, the person waits six to 12 months for the piece to be produced.

During this time, there are at least two to three fittings to make sure the look is all coming together as desired, Chiu said. 

Read more: MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, gave away more than $4 billion over the last 4 months to help those affected economically by the pandemic

There are a few rules to the game, however. For one, it’s a faux pas to ask about price – or discounts, for that matter. And sometimes fashion houses will only sell one look per country. Chiu told Harper’s Bazaar that when she can’t get an outfit as an American, then she’ll try to buy a Taiwanese citizen, promising to only wear the outfit in that country.

Trying to buy haute couture with morals 

Before the pandemic, Chiu said she always tried to find a way to use fashion to highlight social justice causes. Even before the pandemic, she said she would request fashion houses to donate a percentage of her purchase to an organization they both support, which, she said, has led to contributions to further AIDS research, education, and increased access to medicine for impoverished communities.

Her Netflix show is also being used as a vehicle to highlight some of her favorite charities and organizations, she said. The show went into development in early 2018 and upon its premiere, became one of the few shows to have an all-Asian ensemble. Participants hail from various cultural backgrounds, including Vietnamese, Singaporean, and Korean.

Christine Chiu
Christine Chiu alongside her husband and her son.

Chiu said the original premise of the show had nothing to do with showcasing wealth; rather, it was primarily about revealing the cultural pressures, morals, values, and expectations Asians living in the United States are often confronted with. That doesn’t mean wealth won’t be on display, however, even if the scenes on-screen are much different than the reality Chiu finds herself living. 

Snuggled up in Los Angeles, there isn’t sweatpant couture, yet. Chiu said she’s buying sunglasses, bathing suits, sneakers, and exercise attire. She’ll be, probably on the couch, watching her show like the rest of us, sporting high-quality, sustainably sourced, comfort clothing.

“After all,” she said. “The thought of running through Erewhon [Market] in platform Louboutins, lugging a Himalayan Birkin is very much a thing of 2019.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

I’m a butler for wealthy NYC families who earns a six-figure salary and has lots of time to see my kids. From checking for dust with a flashlight to taking wine cellar inventory, this is what my job is like.

Stanley (not his real name) has been a professional butler and house manager for 12 years.
Stanley (not his real name) has been a professional butler and house manager for 12 years.

  • Stanley (not his real name) is a house manager and butler for wealthy families in New York City.
  • His job involves everything from organizing bills and tracking charitable donations to taking wine cellar inventory and making sure everything inch of his employer’s home is spotless and dust-free.
  • Over the years, he’s had both good and bad employers, including one who would constantly fire and rehire him and another who would yell across the house and snap his fingers to get Stanley’s attention.
  • Despite the long hours and repetitive tasks, Stanley says he enjoys his work and has learned to set healthy boundaries with his employers.
  • Here’s what his job is like, as told to freelance writer Rose Maura Lorre.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Like many people who work in hospitality or the private services industry, I started out as an actor. And like many actors, I made a choice to stop acting because it was driving me nuts.

My wife was reading Tina Fey’s “Bossypants at the time and in the book, Tina Fey talks about “fake it ’til you make it.” That’s what I did: I acted the part of a house manager until I figured out how to be one. It just takes a little bit of observational skills and people skills and a good memory.

After I left acting, I first went into events and catering and worked my way up. While managing a big charity event in 2009, I met a project manager who introduced me to an ultra-high net worth (UHNW) family. The husband was in finance, the wife was an ex-bartender, and they had twin 4-year-olds, a dog, a pot belly pig, and a 20,000-square-foot townhouse. They hired me as a house manager and personal assistant, my first job in the industry. Those clients were a wild ride, real tabloid-gossip stuff. 

When the wife had an issue with how I handled something, she would just fire me. 

Then as I was walking to the subway or during my cab ride home, she would call me, apologize, and say she’d see me tomorrow. That happened four times in less than six months. 

The last time she fired me, I made sure everything was in order, put her folder with her schedule for the following day on her desk as usual, quietly grabbed my coat, and left. Like she’d done in the past, I quickly got the apology call. When she said, “See you on Monday,” I said, “Why don’t we let this one stick?” That Monday, I still got a few calls and texts from her, but I didn’t pick up.

I’ve worked for six different families over 10 years. 

Two of them, including that first family I worked for, were roller coaster rides – and short contracts because of that. Two were trial periods, after which I passed on their employment offers, and two have been better, long-term experiences.

The other “roller coaster” employer I worked for was similarly demanding, with an extremely busy and packed schedule. He was also a yeller; he would always holler my name. When he’d snap his fingers or yell, it was like somebody had shot a gun off in the house, and everyone would jump to attention. 

Once, I walked into his coat closet after he’d pulled all of his coats off the racks. He’d made separate piles of coats, and I assumed he  wanted me to do a seasonal switch-out for him. I dashed into the room with a smile on my face and said, “How can I help, Mr. So-and-So?” He looked at me and said, “What the f–k are you smiling at?” 

But besides those particular clients, many of my employers have been great to work with. I’ve also kept in touch with former fellow staff members, and some of them have interviewed me for other jobs.

Read more: I’m a mom influencer who earns up to $12,000 a month through paid sponsorships. Here’s how I grew my income and following while caring for my son.

I currently work for an older couple, and it’s the best version of this job I’ve ever had.

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Checking for moisture and leaks in the basement.

I joined their household in January 2020. I work Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Before the pandemic, my hours were longer if my employers were entertaining guests. I wear business casual, and add a sport coat or blazer over my outfit for guests. 

Since March, my employers have been in the Hamptons while I continue to care for their Manhattan townhouse and ship over any packages they receive there. When they’re out of town, I usually just wear jeans and a sweater or collared shirt.

Currently, the staff at my employers’ Manhattan townhouse consists of me, three housekeepers, and a driver. I contract outside vendors for IT, audio, gardening, and a wide array of specific maintenance for furnishings and antiques in the house. We also have a maintenance contract with a company who takes care of the house, but I troubleshoot little things like loose door handles, dead lightbulbs, and updating iPads and printer firmware.

My position has been called everything from house manager to property manager to butler. 

When I described myself as a property manager, I’d hear, “Oh, you cut lawns?” If instead I say “butler,” people tend to romanticize what I do, like it’s “Downton Abbey” or “Remains of the Day.” I did once work in a household where I was their formal butler, and received guests in a black dinner jacket or a tuxedo. But I’ve also cleaned toilets, which is not romantic at all. 

For the most part in this industry, people refer to their employers as “principals.” Meaning, that person is your principal focus. There may be other people you cater to as well, like guests who stay at the house, but the principal is your main focus. 

One family I worked for had a house staff of 38 people. In my job as personal butler, I worked most closely with the head of house, the principal client, assisting with wardrobe, packing, communications, setting up and serving meals, and running in-house events. 

In my current job as a house manager, it’s my responsibility to manage my employers’ expectations about what goes on in their home. 

My job is to think proactively about what they’ll need and to avoid leaving anything open to complaints. If they’re talking to me – other than, for example, to tell me what they want for dinner – then I’m not doing my job. If their iPad isn’t connecting to the WiFi or the TV isn’t working in the gym, I haven’t done my job.

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Checking that the TV in the house gym is in working order.

I do a lot of walk-throughs to make sure everything is in working condition. I turn TVs on and off at least once and sometimes twice a day. I also check all the lights, music, technology, and appliances. I sit down on the couch and look around, and think: Does everything look the way it’s supposed to look? Does it feel the way it’s supposed to feel? Is this TV working the way it’s supposed to work? Are there fingerprints on the table? Has the housekeeping staff dusted and moved the remote too far from the couch? 

I’m not getting into my boss’ bed or trying out the sheets, but I do try to put myself in my employers’ experience. It’s the same thing I did in catering; I put myself in the guests’ shoes. 

The gentleman I currently work for loves wine and keeps a modest stash at the house (about 300 bottles) with more in a wine storage warehouse, so I track arrivals and consumption and inventory what goes between their Manhattan and Hamptons homes. 

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Taking inventory in the wine cellar.

I use spreadsheets to pay bills, file invoices and documents, and track everything from orders and shipments to various house inventories to gifts given and received, which can get quite complicated during the holidays with gifts and charitable donations.

I go over the house with a fine-toothed comb on an almost daily basis.   

I check all areas for wear and tear, potential repairs, and moisture and leaks to catch any issues before they grow serious. 

For cleanliness checks, I do walk-throughs in the dark with a flashlight to pick up on hidden moisture and dust. I also have an LED light that also picks up on dust you can’t see with the naked eye, like fingerprints or dog hair on the landing.

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Conducting a house walk through with a flashlight to check for dust.

I take pictures of what I find to send to the housekeeper. I’ve also given them LED flashlights, so I can write “hello” in the dust I find and text them, “Go look for my ‘hello’ on the table.” The housekeepers I work with are great. If I show them a picture of something, they know exactly where it is to clean it.

Rose Maura Lorre butler
Taking a photo to send to the housekeepers of smudges on the mirror in the backyard.

The woman I work for also has an entirely separate townhouse around the corner that serves as her office. I go there to pick up things for her, check on the building, and sometimes assist with art hanging or putting together furniture. I also pick up flowers for the house, run to stationery stores and to the bank for house petty cash, and trek to FedEx and UPS on the regular to ship and pick up packages.

This all may sound intense, but it’s not my employers; I’m the over-the-top one. I’ve relaxed over the years in my own home, especially after having two children of my own. Still, I would follow my kids around with a Dustbuster if I could – that’s just how I am.

I typically make six figures annually with a bonus and benefits.

Since my first position in 2009, my salary hasn’t increased that much over the years, but the hours have decreased. I started at 60 to 70 hours per week on average, I’m doing more like 45 to 50 now, which is a huge positive difference to my quality of life. 

When I first started at $100,000 in 2009, my hourly rate was sometimes $9, especially during the holidays. Back then, I only saw my wife at night. Now, I spend more time with my kids than ever before.

I learned early on that in this line of work, you have to be good at setting boundaries.

My current employers are very friendly and very considerate of the staff, but still, I maintain a professional boundary. I don’t want to be too involved in my employers’ lives. There are some situations where I have to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t get that involved.” 

Certain things I’m very willing to do and other things I’m not. For example, I’ve never stayed the night at an employer’s house. I was asked to do it once, a couple of households ago. Their live-in housekeeper was going away on vacation and I think just for security and peace of mind, my employers wanted me there in her place. I said, “I don’t think my wife would really appreciate that.”

Read more: I’m 23 and launched a luxury picnic service in the middle of the pandemic – and while working full-time. Here’s how we make up to $12,000 a month throwing personalized events.

At my job, sometimes the most satisfying day can also be the most aggravating. 

This job presents daily challenges, such as one time when a bird swooped into my employer’s glass atrium as we were setting it up for a business lunch, and it took us five attempts with ladders to catch down and release it. Those experiences are all in a day’s work.

The way I think about my job is, it’s like any other job, only I’m standing in my boss’ private living room while I’m doing it. Or I’m literally standing in their kitchen watching them eat. Most of these people are used to having someone stand there, though, so it’s not weird for them, and by now, it’s also not weird for me. 

Managing wealthy homes is a great job, but it isn’t for everyone.

My advice for anyone thinking about getting into this line of work is to hop on LinkedIn and see if you can talk to house managers. Ask questions about the schedule they keep, pros and cons about the job, and find out if this lifestyle is for you.

There hotel and butler schools for training and certification programs, and estatejobs.com is also a good place to start. Still, be careful of programs that only feed into a pool for a domestic agency that charges steep commissions for job placement fees; some can be 40% of your annual salary. 

For this line of work, you need the ability to manage expectations and communicate well and sometimes delicately with your employers, staff, and anyone else working inside the house. It’s a great career, just know that once you’re hired, you’re somewhat tethered to your employer like no other industry, since you become part of their private life. Know the stakes, and be empowered to create the boundaries that you need. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Private aviation thrived in 2020 despite it being the worst time to travel in the modern era – here’s a look at its wild year

santa private jet
Santa Claus boarding a private jet.

  • The private aviation industry went from virtually no flights at the peak of the pandemic to thriving by year’s end.
  • A surge in leisure travelers helped keep the industry afloat and spurred expansion for many aircraft operators. 
  • Aircraft manufacturers kept producing new models and even teamed up with the auto industry to offer some expensive package deals for unique pairings. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for the aviation industry, but private aviation has become one of the 2020’s greatest success stories.

A promising start to 2020 quickly turned sour as fears of the novel coronavirus inflicted commercial flight cancellations across Asia, with the industry as a whole going off a cliff in March. Private aviation’s continued growth since the 2008 economic recession was halted overnight as there was simply no place to go during the pandemic’s peak.

A rush of wealthy flyers chartering emergency evacuation flights quickly turned into stagnation for many operators, with some firms temporarily closing up shop and furloughing workers. But its recovery began in earnest come May with more wealthy flyers taking to the skies as lockdowns ended across the US. 

Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Colorado were among the most popular destinations early on as the wealthy wanted to social distance in peace and luxury. And aircraft manufacturers continued producing the latest and greatest private aircraft in preparation for when the world’s borders will once again be open for travel. 

Here are some of private aviation’s highlights from 2020. 

Vista Jet took delivery of its first Bombardier Global 7500

VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500
A VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500.

VistaJet became the first charter operator to acquire the Bombardier Global 7500 in 2020, offering travelers a new option for ultra-long-range travel. With a range of 7,700 nautical miles, the Global 7500 is the longest-ranged aircraft in its class, beating out any competitor from Gulfstream or Dassault Aviation. 

Cities pairs like New York-Hong Kong, Moscow-Buenos Aires, and Los Angeles-Dubai are easily achievable under the right conditions.  The jet even features a private bedroom complete with a full-size bed and owners can opt for a shower. 

The Global 7500 is still one of the rarest private jets currently flying having debuted in December 2018. A sales firm was tasked with selling a brand-new model for $70 million from an owner who had purchased but no longer wanted the aircraft.  

Airbus turns its controversial A220 into a private jet

Airbus ACJ220-100
The new Airbus “TwoTwenty” private jet.

Airbus unveiled the VIP version of its new A220 airliner, known as the Airbus Corporate Jet “TwoTwenty,” in October. European private aviation specialist Comlux was given the task of designing the interior.

Six orders have already been placed for the aircraft including two from Comlux, with operators looking to take advantage of the jet’s economics. Airbus says the plane can fly up to 5,650 nautical miles, enough to fly between Europe and the US West Coast. Comlux’s design includes an 18-seat cabin and a private bedroom with a king-size bed 

A group of aircraft management and design firms including Kestrel Aviation Management, Camber Aviation Management, and Pierrejean Vision also unveiled an alternative design for the aircraft that includes a private office and cinema suite.

XO embarks on a massive fleet refurbishment and expansion program

XOJET Aviation Bombardier Challenger 300
A newly-refurbished XOJET Aviation Bombardier Challenger 300.

VistaGlobal-owned XO is upgrading its fleet of Cessna Citation X and Bombardier Challenger 300 aircraft with interior updates and new paint jobs. The larger Challenger 300s were painted in Vista’s red and silver, better aligning the look of the two companies’ aircraft. 

We toured one of the newly-refurbished Bombardier Challenger 300s during a stop in Westhampton Beach, New York

XO also made a major acquisition of Wisconsin’s Red Wing Aviation that saw the addition of 15 light jet aircraft. The firm’s fleet now includes a mix of light jet and super-midsize aircraft to give customers more flexibility when booking, complemented by a new booking app.

Bringing on more planes also means hiring more pilots. Kevin Thomas, president and chief operating officer of XOJET Aviation, told Business Insider that 4,000 pilots have applied for his company as furloughs have crushed the airline industry.

We also reveal what private aviation executives are looking for when pilot hiring and how flying the wealthy is a different job description than flying airliners

JetLinx acquires Meridian Air Charter

Jet Linx Terminal Teterboro
Jet Linx’s private terminal at Teterboro Airport.

Jet Linx purchased Teterboro, New Jersey’s Meridian Air Charter in a deal that solidified the former as the second-largest aircraft management firm in the Northeastern US. CEO Jamie Walker told Business Insider in an exclusive interview that he decided to move forward with the deal during the pandemic, even when the industry’s recovery wasn’t assured, based on his experience during the 2008 economic recession

“We had made the determination that if there’s ever a better time to start a new location, it would be coming out of a recessionary period,” Walker told Business Insider about his firm’s 2009 expansion to Dallas, which shaped his thinking on expansion when the economy took another turn for the worse 11 years later. “So having done it once already, it was an easier decision to make this time around.”

The move gives the Omaha, Nebraska-based company a larger foothold in the New York area as Teterboro Airport is one of the busiest executive airports in the country thanks to its proximity to Manhattan. We also toured Jet Linx’s private terminal at Teterboro to see just how different the airport experience is for the wealthy. 

Private aviation firms focus more on health and safety 

XOJET Aviation Bombardier Challenger 300
A disinfectant used to clean private jets.

Aircraft operators are adopting new health and safety measures to reassure their customers that flying is safe and draw more new customers into the industry. Many now disinfect their aircraft and private terminals more frequently than before as it’s become a top concern for private flyers. 

One firm, Silver Air, created a “COVID cleared” program where every step of the journey from door to door would be verified clean to eliminate fears of contracting the virus. Flexjet also now flies its flight crews around on private aircraft to prevent them from flying on the airlines. 

Dassault Aviation unveils its Falcon 6X

Dassault Falcon 6X
The unveil of the Dassault Falcon 6X.

Dassault Aviation virtually unveiled its Falcon 6X private jet, the latest in a family of aircraft that dates back to the early days of the jet age, in December. The twin-engine jet is billed as an “ultra widebody” since it’s wider than most of the competitors in its class.

Its other cool features include oversized windows, a skylight, and a heads-up display in the cockpit that can see through the clouds. The $47 million jet can fly up to 5,500 nautical miles, enabling city pairs like Los Angeles-Moscow, New York-Tel Aviv, and London-Hong Kong. Deliveries are slated to being in 2022. 

Flexjet takes delivery of its first Embraer Praetor 600

Embraer Phenom 600 Flexjet
Flexjet’s first Embraer Phenom 600.

Flexjet took delivery of one of Embraer’s latest aircraft, the Praetor 600, in November to be used for its European division as part of a $1.4 billion order. Its nine-passenger cabin comes with a mix of club seats and a divan, as well as an enclosed lavatory. 

The jet’s impressive performance makes it a veritable jack of all trades, able to access Europe’s notoriously challenging airports like London’s City Airport and Switzerland’s Engadin Airport, as well as fly non-stop between Paris and New York. 

Aerion breaks ground on its Melbourne, Florida campus

Aerion Supersonic Aerion Park Groundbreaking
A rendering of Aerion Supersonic’s AS2 jet.

Supersonic jets will soon be built in Melbourne, Florida as Aerion is one of the frontrunners in the race to build a modern-age supersonic jet, opting first to create a business jet that can fly at speeds of Mach 1.4. The startup recently chose Melbourne International Airport in Florida to be the home of its new $300 million headquarters and production campus

Melbourne is located on Florida’s Space Coast – soon to be the Supersonic Coast –  just a few miles from NASA’s Cape Canaveral. Aerion CEO Tom Vice told Business Insider that the campus will be eco-friendly by reusing collected rainwater and providing electric vehicle charging stations for employees. 

The first aircraft will fly in five years, Vice said, and will sell for $120 million. 

Otto Aviation unveils a new private aircraft concept set to revolutionize the industry

Otto Aviation Celera 500L
Otto Aviation’s Celera 500L.

A startup shocked the industry when it unveiled the Celera 500L, a plane that can fly 4,500 nautical miles at speeds of 450 miles per hour with costs lower than even the smallest private jet. Otto Aviation is seeking to make private aviation more affordable and environmentally friendly, and its oval-shaped aircraft is set to do just that.

An hour of flight time only costs $328, a fraction of what it costs to fly the Cirrus Vision Jet, and it can easily cross oceans with its intercontinental range while only burning 18 to 25 gallons of fuel for every mile it flies. At least 31 flights have been successfully flown with the Celera 500L and it’s scheduled for certification in 2023.

Bombardier delivers the first Global 5500 and Learjet 75 Liberty to a customer

ExecuJet Bombardier Global 5500
Luxaviation Europe’s Bombardier Global 5500.

While also building new models like the Global 7500, Bombardier also looked back at its existing models to see where improvements could be made. One such result was the Global 5500, the updated version of the Global 5000, which Bombardier first delivered in June.

Luxaviation Europe was the first customer of the $46 million aircraft that boasts a range of 5,900 nautical miles. It seats 12 passengers and can fly over 10 hours at a top speed of Mach .90 thanks to Rolls-Royce Pearl engines. 

We also toured a brand-new Global 6500, the updated version of the Global 6000, in September being sold by Jetcraft.

Bombardier also delivered its first Learjet 75 Liberty, an improved version of the Learjet 75 that includes an executive office and near-cross country range, in October. The Learjet name has been a staple in private aviation for decades, flying the likes of Frank Sinatra and James Brown. 

An aircraft sales firm began accepting bitcoin for its planes

Gulfstream G650ER
A Gulfstream G650ER that could be purchased with bitcoin.

Sometimes cash isn’t always king. Sales firm Aviatrade began accepting cryptocurrency like bitcoin for its multi-million aircraft in 2020 to give buyers more options when making a purchase.  Accepting cryptocurrency allows international buyers to make major purchases without being subject to restrictions. 

A $40 million Gulfstream G650ER was the first aircraft to be offered under the new program, but any of Aviatrade’s aircraft can be bought using the currency.

A flying cruise ship joined the COVID-19 airlift by transporting personal protective equipment from China

Crystal Cruises Boeing 777
Crystal Cruises’ Boeing 777-200 named “CrystalSkye.”

The early days of the pandemic revealed a shortage of personal protective equipment in the US as healthcare workers struggled to keep up with the influx of new coronavirus patients in hospitals. A perfect storm of high demand and fewer passenger flights meant that getting more from China was more expensive and private aircraft operators saw an opportunity to get their planes back in the air.

One of the aircraft that participated was a Boeing 777-200 named CrystalSkye that acted as a flying cruise ship before the pandemic under the Crystal Cruises brand and later became a VIP aircraft available for charter. The massive cabin is ideal for heads of states and the wealthiest of travelers as it includes butler service, a bar, a full dining area, and 88 lie-flat seats. 

Kim Kardashian West later used the aircraft for her infamous island getaway and birthday bash

Aircraft manufacturers teamed up with the auto industry for some expensive collaborations

Embraer and Porsche's Duet
Embraer and Porsche’s “Duet” collaboration.

Embraer and Porsche teamed up in 2020 and unveiled their private jet and supercar pairing in November. Dubbed “Duet,” the pair includes a matching Embraer Phenom 300E and Porsche 911 Turbo S with a sticker price of $11 million that also includes a Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC watch and luggage set.

For the most rugged travelers, Kodiak Aircraft Company and Himalaya unveiled their plane and vehicle pairing, also in November. The $3 million package includes a Kodiak 100 Series II and a modernized Land Rover Defender, as well as a lifetime membership to Himalaya’s experience center in Wyoming. 

Both are geared towards travelers who are also pilots so they can conquer the land and sky with these machines. 

Jeffrey Epstein’s former Gulfstream appeared on the market

Jeffrey Epstein Gulfstream G550
A Gulfstream G550 formerly belonging to Jeffrey Epstein.

A Gulfstream G550 belonging to Jeffrey Epstein was put on the market by Equus Global Holdings in July as its former owner no longer needed the plane. Epstein frequently used the plane to fly between his residences in New York, Paris, US Virgin Islands, and New Mexico.

The jet would’ve cost $61.5 million if purchased new but Epstein acquired it secondhand, records show. Federal authorities arrested Epstein after he likely disembarked this plane after a flight from Paris to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey

Comlux unveiled its Boeing 767 private jet with air that it says kills coronavirus

Comlux Boeing BBJ767 SkyLady
Comlux’s Boeing BBJ767 “SkyLady.”

Comlux specializes in airliners-turned-private jets and one of its flagship aircraft is a VIP Boeing 767-200 named SkyLady. The aircraft recently underwent a cabin upgrade during the pandemic to include a private apartment within the plane, a first class cabin, and a premium economy cabin.

Just like CrystalSkye, which Comlux also operates for Crystal Cruises, this plane is meant for the upper echelons of society. One of the hidden upgrades that may be the aircraft’s new best selling point, however, is an ionization system that Comlux says kills the novel coronavirus.

Passengers onboard don’t need to wear a mask while on board as a result.

Leisure customers dominated in the industry and became the backbone for its recovery

private jet
Passengers boarding a private jet.

Business travelers have been largely grounded since March as companies are shifting to virtual meetings to avoid sending their employees out on the road where they could possibly be exposed to COVID-19. The loss of the segment hindered private aviation’s recovery until another stepped up and took the skies in massive numbers, leisure travelers. 

A surge of travelers over the summer continued into fall and has been propping up the industry while business travelers stay home. Firms began shifting their efforts towards leisure flying even more after a McKinsey and Company study found that only 90% of ultra-high-net-worth individuals don’t fly private, revealing an untapped market. 

Private planes were used in 2020 for everything from a vacation to escaping lockdowns in the UK and even flying home to vote in person on Election Day

Expansion was widespread in the industry with XO looking to bring on more planes and pilots, Directional Aviation speeding up the launch of FXAIR, Jet Linx acquiring Meridian Air Charter, and Jet Edge International growing its point-to-point fleet of Bombardier Challengers. 

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The world’s most expensive pigeons are on sale again. Weeks after a record $1.9 million sale, 800 deluxe racing pigeons are up for auction.

racing pigeons
In this Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 file photo, pigeons fly inside their coop at Pigeon Paradise in Knesselare, Belgium.

  • There’s a new group of 800 racing pigeons up for auction after a record-breaking sale in November.
  • They include descendants of previous record-breaker Golden Prince, and they all come from breeder Gino Clicque.
  • Racing pigeons have picked up interest among the ultrawealthy in the past couple of years, particularly those from China.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A flock of 800 racing pigeons are up for auction starting today, following a historic sale in November.

In 2017, Belgian racing pigeon “Golden Prince” broke records when he was sold for €360,000 (almost $430,000 at today’s exchange rate). Since then, prices have been flying up for prize pigeons. 

In November, “New Kim” sold for $1.9 million – shattering the prior record set by the same owner for “Armando,” who reportedly plans to mate the pair.

The new crop of pigeons include several of Golden Prince’s descendants. All 800 of the pigeons come from one breeder, Gino Clicque; they were either born before 2019 or are new, “unflown” descendants.

Golden Prince’s then-record-breaking sale “proved that the Golden Prince bloodline is very interesting to potential buyers,” according to Sjoerd Lei, who works in the sales department of Pipa, the Belgian auction house that specializes in pigeons and is hosting the sale. His granddaughters, First Lady and Golden Princess, are among the more acclaimed pigeons up for sale.

New Kim’s record-breaking sale in November is part of a larger trend surrounding the sport. Pigeon racing, which began as a working-class sport after World War One, has become something of a prestige symbol for the wealthy. China in particular has seen a huge surge of interest.

Pipa’s Niels Cuelenaere previously told Business Insider that China has around “1 million pigeon fanciers,” and their numbers were only growing.

Lei said it’s “common sense” that Chinese buyers will be interested in the new auction, although it’s unclear if it will yield another record-breaking sale.

During New Kim’s record-breaking sale, visitors to Pipa’s site surged, according to Lei, but that has since quieted a bit. He said he expects interest to pick up again with the new sale. 

At press time, the bidding for pigeon “Golden King” was already up to €202,000 – around $245,345. 

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