News & Politics

A Private Jet for Pets and a $50,000 Safari: Local Financial Advisers Dish on The Most Lavish Purchases They’ve Seen

Here's what Washingtonians spend extravagant amounts on.

Photograph by Sergii Gulenok via Unsplash.

Washingtonians, as a rule, don’t flaunt their wealth. Sure, some live in 11-bathroom manors in Potomac or zip around town in a $100,000 Tesla Model S. More often than not these days, though, the moneyed seem to prefer spending it on experiences rather than things.

So we asked financial advisers: What’s the most unusual or outlandishly priced experience you know of that someone local splurged on?

These were some of our favorite responses.

The most common answer, by far, involved exotic vacations:

“Two $250,000 one-week boating trips—one with family, one with friends—in the Caribbean.”

“Chartered jet around the world. Three-week tour: $540,000.”

“A client sold a business, netting $12 million. The husband was 60, the wife late fifties. They went once or twice a year on safari for a week or two: $50,000 a trip.”

“Renting a private jet to fly their dogs to Maine.”

“I helped a client plan to purchase a sailboat and sail the Caribbean with the entire family—husband, wife, and two young boys—for three years.”

“Flying to London to watch a soccer game and then flying home.”

Trips weren’t the only indulgences:

“A client spent more than $500,000 on a wedding reception at an exclusive DC hotel, where a top rock band was flown in from overseas at a cost of $250,000.”

“A client found the car they drove in high school in the ’60s, and bought it. They’ve spent about $50,000 over two years to restore it to its former glory.”

“$10,000 for a suit.”

Here is our favorite—because it recognizes the fact, literally, that you can’t take it with you:

“Putting a fund aside for friends and family to go to an exotic island after he died, to party for ten days and tell stories about him. He wanted to make sure he would be remembered in a happy and memorable way.”

This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.