Forget sports cars, diamonds and yachts. Today's rich prefer to spend their money on vacations, entertainment and collectibles. Americans worth more than $25 million think of themselves as frugal but actually live large, according to a new study from Spectrem Group. More than half agreed with the statement that "saving and investing my money gives me greater satisfaction than spending it." And when asked about how they became wealthy, "frugality" ranked among the top five factors, below hard work, education, smart investing and taking risk. Yet their spending numbers show that they still enjoy the finer things in life—or at least, the finer experiences in life.
Fully 60 percent spend more than $10,000 a year on vacation or leisure travel, the highest of any category. More than a quarter of spend more than $25,000 on trips, and 14 percent spend more than $50,000. "They work hard, so they like nice vacations," said George Walper, president of Spectrem Group. By contrast, jewelry, cars and boats weren't as popular. More than three-quarters of the rich surveyed didn't spend any money on boats. Only 30 percent spend more than $10,000 on jewelry a year, and fewer than one in five of them spent more than $50,000 on a car.
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-- Robert Frank, CNBC