Last week I cited a report in the National Post that Russian bazillionaire Roman Abramovich bought the world's most expensive house, a French Riviera villa for $500 million dollars.
Check that. The Russian is being big-footed by the Indian.
Reader Nic C. pointed me to a series of links which led to a Forbes article in Mayabout Mukesh Ambani, the fifth richest man in the world. Ambani heads Reliance Industries, a petrochemical company based in Mumbai, and he's reportedly worth about $43 billion. He and his wife are in the process of building a 27-story tall home worth $2 billion. The 22-story home they're currently living in apparently isn't big enough.
BUT BACK TO THE RUSSIAN
I figured Abramovich was paying cash for his now not-so-expensive-compared-to-the-Indian-guy French house. Reader Marcel VG says he's probably financing instead, based on the French tax laws. "He financed it for sure with a back-to-back mortgage in Monaco. No way he paid cash. If you have above 750,000 (Euros) of assets in France they are taxed at 1.8% per year (in this case). If you finance 100% of the value of the property then there is no tax as you have no assets. 1.8% of $500 million is $9 million."
Ah, what's $9 million when you're spending a half billion for a house?
WORST STORY PITCH OF THE WEEK
Note to the hard-working PR people of America: before you send a story pitch, think for a moment. What types of stories does that reporter usually cover? What would CNBC be interested in? In the midst of a frenzied market, people unable to afford gasoline, and the run on IndyMac, I get this story pitch:
"Jane, There's a new way for consumers to cast their vote in the presidential race. Bonus Gum has released - Election Gum. Consumers can choose between an Obama Gum version and a McCain Gum version in stores all over NY and nationwide! Polls announcing which gum is leading in sales will be released weekly! The man behind this product, Jay Klein, will be in New York July 23rd-30th if you'd like to do a story/interview."
1-I work in Los Angeles, not New York.
2-This is a business story?
3-Have you looked at the market lately? Now if they were selling Obama and McCain gasoline...
WHY I SHOULDN'T TRADE ON MY OWN
Finally, a personal story. As I've watched the market tank, I started thinking about putting some money in, since I like to think of myself as a long-term investor. As you may or may not know, CNBC on-air reporters and their immediate family members can only own/trade mutual funds and ETFs, not individual stocks or bonds. And we have to hold the ETFs for at least four months.
Here's where I made a mistake. Instead of calling up my financial advisor, Larry Winter at Thrivent, and saying, "I'd like to transfer some money from my credit union account so you can find a nice little S&P 500 ETF to put it in," I decided to do it myself on E*Trade . I put in a transfer for the money on July 11th.
E*Trade tells me that money won't be available until July 24th. TWO WEEKS? I said, "You've got to be kidding me. Send the money back to my credit union account then." And I was told, "Well, the funds are not yet available to do that." So that money is just...out there...
Larry, sorry, next time I promise I'll call you instead.
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