The more money the upper echelon has, the more money they can afford to spend, which means prices of some essentials have gone way up. Things the general population once considered affordable are getting further and further away from that thanks to the amount of disposable income the upper class has.
GOBankingRates reached out to economics experts to figure out the top items that have had their prices driven up by the spending habits of the rich. Check out some of the line items that will now cost you a lot more thanks to the wealthy.
According to Zillow, the average price of a home in the United States right now is $346,653. That’s up 1.8% over the past year. The average home is only on the market for 15 days. Since individuals and businesses with a lot of cash tend to buy multiple homes as investment properties, this drives up the price for those who are just trying to get enough money together to buy one home.
“It is becoming increasingly more common for big corporations to own real estate, as well as for medium sized investors to build a real estate portfolio,” said Sebastian Jania, a director at Ontario Property Buyers. “For these companies, they understand that over time, there are many advantages to owning real estate, and so they want to leverage those opportunities — especially in today’s times, when there are challenges in the marketplace.”
If you think buying stocks is a rich person’s game, you’re not wrong. In fact, rich people are part of the reason why stocks are so inaccessible to the middle class and below.
Jania said that a lot of wealthy people bought stocks in 2020, when stimulus packages were released. In turn, that has driven up the stocks’ prices. “This excess capital was funneled in the stocks and ultimately pushed the prices up significantly over the next few years.”
Fancy yourself a collector? You might have noticed that it’s a lot more expensive to buy the treasures you’d like to add to your collection. Jania said you have rich people to thank for this price hike.
“Collectible goods — such as antiques, unique vehicles and anything else that is appreciating in value over time and is limited in quantity — [are] driven up in price by the rich,” Jania said. He attributes this to the upper class wanting to preserve their capital, so they pour their money into assets like rare collectibles to diversify their investment portfolios.
Art is something the rich have driven up the price of for years, but it’s become especially apparent recently. “There are many art pieces that are highly desired by the rich, and they trade these art pieces amongst each other. These have gone up in value considerably over the last couple years when inflation has been fairly high,” Jania said.
When you see the price of a Lamborghini starting in the $200,000 range, you know it’s reserved for a certain tax bracket. However, the rich drive up the prices even among the rich.
“One big thing rich people have driven up in price, especially over the last 3 years, is luxury goods!” said Scott Lieberman, the founder of Touchdown Money. “Many luxury goods makers create scarcity by only releasing a certain number of items from a collection.”
Lieberman said that in the past, those in the middle class could find some of these rare luxury items in thrift stores, but that’s no longer the case. “Thrift and vintage shopping was ‘discovered’ online, and what used to be an affordable place for many to find discounted but high quality items has now become a free for all, outbid and out-buy, for the rich again.”
So, when you’re looking on sites like Poshmark for hard-to-find fashion, you’re probably competing against the rich in the bidding process, and thus will never get your hands on even the secondhand luxury items.
Part of the reason why crypto might seem like such a murky world to you is because the rich are keeping it murky so they continue to profit off it.
However, one thing to know about cryptocurrency is that it’s in finite supply, which Jania explained is something that works to the wealthy’s advantage. “Because crypto, in many cases, has a finite supply, the rich are able to effectively play with supply and demand, because they own such a large amount of the supply. When they’re able to play with supply and demand, they know exactly when to buy and when to sell and leverage the fact that there is a finite amount.”
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