How many millions do you need to live like a millionaire?

How many millions do you need to live like a millionaire?

According to private bank Coutts, in 1980 being a “millionaire” would have bought you what many consider to be a millionaire’s lifestyle. Today, it probably won’t.

Increased property prices and rises in the cost of living mean reaching the much-revered £1 million mark probably won’t buy the life Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses dreamed of.

So, what is a millionaire’s lifestyle, and what might it cost you today? Read on to find out.

In 1980, a £1 million bank balance bought a life of luxury

According to the Guardian, private bank Coutts & Co showed that, in 1980, having a seven-figure balance would have provided a life most would have envied. Moreover, the income it could have generated would have meant you wouldn’t have had to work.

The bank revealed that a millionaire’s lifestyle would have bought you all the trappings of a comfortable life, including:

  • A five-bedroom house
  • Two members of staff
  • Two luxury cars
  • An apartment in the South of France
  • A yacht

So, let’s look at how much these could cost you today.

A 5-bedroom luxury home is likely to cost £2 million

According to SunLife, the average price of a house in 1980 was £20,268. Today, it’s around £250,000, a 12-fold increase. With that in mind, you won’t be surprised to learn that a five-bedroom home with prestigious postcode won’t come cheap nowadays.

According to Rightmove, in July 2021, a five bedroom home in London typically starts at £1.5 million and you could get little change from £12.5 million in some postcodes. Staying south, you could move to the highly desirable Sandbanks area in Poole, Dorset, where you may be paying between £1.5 and £6 million.

In the north of England, you might expect to pay between £950,000 and £3.9 million to live in Wilmslow, Cheshire, where you can call famous footballers neighbours. Further afield, you could buy in the Wirral, Merseyside, where you could pay between £750,000 and £2.5 million for the property of your dreams.

Depending on where you want to live in Yorkshire, you might pay up to £2.8 million.

Your staff will probably cost a minimum of £40,000 a year

According to Totaljobs, the average wage for a chauffeur in 2021 is £32,500 a year, the same amount you’ll pay a butler. A maid averages around £20,000 a year, a cook will typically cost £23,000, and if you want to hand the hedge trimmer to someone else, a gardener earns around £21,000.

So, depending on the help you want, your two members of staff will cost between £41,000 and £63,500 a year.

Your cars could cost you between £300,000 and £700,000

While nothing is more “millionaire lifestyle” than a Rolls Royce, its entry level Ghost model costs £237,000. If you really want majestic splendour, you’ll be looking at £432,000 for its top of the range Phantom.

Assuming your second car is less extravagant, you may opt for a Range Rover. Prices start at £83,000 but if you want more legroom, the long wheelbase version starts at £115,000.

If you’re after performance, many would argue the ultimate millionaire’s toy is a Ferrari supercar. If you agree, prepare to spend between £162,000 and £450,000.

An apartment in the South of France could cost £3 million

A bolt hole in the South of France has always been the reserve of the rich and famous. Small surprise then that whether it’s in Saint Tropez or Cannes, a two-bedroom apartment isn’t cheap.

According to Knight Frank, in July 2021 you could buy an apartment in the Cote d’Azur region for £760,000 . If you’re looking for something a bit more “James Bond”, you’ll easily spend more than £1.1 million, and may need up to £3 million.

Your yacht could cost you all of the above added together – and more!

Make no mistake, yachts are very expensive. A brand new custom made 84ft Galeon 800 Fly, for example, is likely to cost £3.8 million.

Alternatively, you could spend  £1.8 million on a three-year-old Princess S65 which provides more than 60ft of luxury, including four cabins and three bathrooms. That said, you could also go for a new 95ft Princess X97, which costs around £8 million.

To live like a millionaire, you may need close to £5 million

Sadly, today £1 million doesn’t go as far as it used to – and that’s partly due to the effects of inflation.

This is the rate at which goods and services increase over time, and it affects the price of our food, the services we use and the energy we consume.

The Bank of England’s inflation calculator shows that you’d need £483.53 today to have the same spending power of £100 in 1980. Put another way, you probably need around £5 million to have the same level of spending power of £1 million in 1980.

Investing your money could help protect its value in real terms

One way to protect your money from the impact of inflation might be to invest.

This is because investing can provide greater potential long-term growth that could inflation-proof your money.

According to Financial Calculator website, if you had invested your £1 million into the S&P 500 in 1980, it could have been worth up to £27 million in 2020 ­– more than enough to support your millionaire lifestyle today.

That said, this figure does not take into account the impact of fund charges, and while it may look attractive, it is a very high-risk strategy. Always speak with a financial planner before investing, to ensure you understand the risks involved and ensure investing is right for you.

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss the risk of inflation on your wealth and how you may be able to mitigate it, please contact us on 0800 434 6337.

Please note:

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and your financial circumstances.