Those new millionaires and billionaires are spending big.
Prices for highly prized art, wine, vintage cars, jewels watches and other collectibles are soaring past their 2007 highs. Last year, Sotheby's sold more than $4 billion worth of collectibles, including the $11.9 million "Scream" painting by Edvard Munch, which set a new record for a work of art sold at auction.
This year's collectible-car sale at Scottsdale blew past its pre-crisis sales record, racking up $223 million in sales, compared to $163 million in 2008.
"It's almost a little shocking," said Craig Jackson, CEO of Jackson-Barrett, the auto auctioneer.
Prices for homes in the richest enclaves of the country are also touching bubble levels. The average home price in Aspen is now more than $4 million, and last year saw the sale of the highest-priced co-op ever sold in Manhattan, at $52 million. There are now several homes on the market priced at $100 million or more – including a mansion just listed in Dallas priced at $135 million – echoing the nine-figure deals of 2005 to 2009.
The waiting lists for new, six-figure Ferraris and Lamborghinis are stretching to more than a year, also a return to pre-crisis levels.
Yet spending on other forms of conspicuous luxury – like private jets, yachts, handbags and big bling – is still at a fraction of its former pace. And investment advisers say that while the wealthy have their wealth back, their mindset is different.
(Read more: Ultra-rich Spend More on 'Experience', Less on Bling)
"The fear is still there," said Stephen Martiros, a Boston-based, independent consultant to individual investors and family offices. "It's like they've been in a car crash. And it was far worse than they imagined. They may be driving again, in a new car on the same roads, but they're taking the corners a lot slower."
That means investing for stability and income rather than growth and risk. Martiros said that wealthy investors have more money in cash, alternative investments, real-estate and other assets that won't swing as much as stocks.
"The big change is reducing volatility," he said. "The big allocation is toward things that don't move a lot."
That means that many of today's richest investors may be missing out on the market rally. But for today's wealthy, it's worth the peace of mind.