Luxury items get that name for being frivolous, but some luxury goods are far less defensible than others.
Though a luxury item typically involves some level of comfort or appointment that a standard version does not, there are corners of the luxury industry that exist solely because they can. The median household income in the U.S. is still $55,775, which means just about anything above that price is is still a hardship for the average consumer, but someone who spends seven figures on a bejeweled knick-knack lives in a somewhat different universe.
The U.S. is also home to 565 billionaires -- more than 11 per state (although California has 124 and Idaho, New Mexico, the Dakotas, Mississippi and Alabama have none). That's also little more than a quarter of the 2,043 billionaires Forbes counted this year, up from 1,810 last year.
Credit Suisse, meanwhile put the number of global millionaires at 35 million last year, but says that group will expand to 53 million by 2019. Among those 35 million millionaires, there are 140,900 with $50 million or more, 50,800 with more than $100 million and 5,200 with more than $500 million.
There are ways to turn that into a lasting legacy of wealth. However, when someone comes into that kind of money after generations of living without it, there are often more lavish uses for it. Diamonds, gold leaf and helicopter rides can be thrown in as perks to make any simple item or service far more appealing to those with newly deep pockets and powerless accountants.
We clicked through the higher end of the luxury listings and found 15 items that exist largely to absorb money. Bemoan the redistribution of wealth all you'd like, but if you're paying this much for any of these luxury items, you'd best have plenty of wealth to redistribute:
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.