Griffin already owned more than $500 million in luxury real estate in New York and Chicago before he made his most recent purchases.
Griffin is worth close to $10 billion. This is a fortune so large that it can absorb spending $360 million on luxury homes in one week. Griffin is not even close to being the richest person in America. The fact that his drug of choice is lavish, pricey real estate just makes it easier to visualize the grotesque proportions of his fortune. Billionaires are so wealthy that most of us have a hard time really grasping how enormous their resources are; thinking of it in terms of Central Park South penthouse apartments is a useful way to make it more tangible.
You might think about it like this: for the price of the two luxury homes that Ken Griffin purchased just this week, he could have built 4,000 Habitat for Humanity homes for needy people. He could have. Or, he could have saved more than 100,000 people from dying of malaria. He could have. But instead, he bought two mansions in separate countries, both of which will naturally be empty the majority of time, not just because they are in different countries, but because he already owns hundreds of millions of dollars worth of other mansions to live in.
The profligacy of Ken Griffin’s luxury purchases in a world of desperate human need is palpably disgusting. You can gaze at the inflated costs of his unthinkably expensive mansions—which he will scarcely use—and become angry considering all of the other things that he could have done with his pile of wealth. But while that sinks in, consider this as well: Ken Griffin’s incomprehensibly large fortune is less than one thirteenth as large as Jeff Bezos’s fortune. The rich are so very, very, very rich that our mortal minds may never be able to comprehend the unspendable wealth that they hoard.
The only good thing about luxury real estate is that, unlike stock portfolios, it can be vandalized.