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5 things that are hard to get even if you're pretty rich

Jordan Hart   

5 things that are hard to get even if you're pretty rich
Retail4 min read
  • Wealth can't buy everything — even some things that have a price tag.
  • Some brands require luck, loyalty, and resolve before you can secure one of their status symbols.

Wealth grants access to a lot, but even the wealthy can't just buy anything.

Certain privileges require more than money. Sometimes, that means being in the right place at the right time — and there are instances when your family connections matter more than your bank account.

Exclusivity isn't only reserved for the wealthy, of course, but the entries on this list can cost up to seven figures if you're lucky — or connected — enough to purchase them.

Limited memberships, strict voting panels, and scarcity make them extremely difficult to get for anyone who isn't a billionaire.

Here are five things that are hard to do even if you're considered rich.

Getting a membership at Augusta National Golf Club

The Augusta National Golf Club is home to the sport's most anticipated tournament — the Masters. The tournament is a favorite of the rich, and wealthy golf fanatics flock to Georgia during the first full week of April to attend.

The club has a secret membership list of about 300 members. You can't just apply and pay for a membership. It's by invitation only, and you can only join when an existing member leaves or dies.

Bloomberg reported in 2015 that the billionaires Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Stanley Druckenmiller were members.

Securing an apartment in this New York City co-op building

In a cul-de-sac facing New York's East River, there's a nearly 100-year-old building where residents' privacy is a top priority, and a strict board presides over applications.

The 26-floor art-deco River House is considered one of the most exclusive places to live in New York City.

"The River House, with its old world charm, is one of the most famously discreet buildings in the city," its description on StreetEasy reads. "It is a tradition among staff and apartment owners to be protective of the building's privacy."

As it's a cooperative building, or a co-op, residents collectively own the building and share responsibilities. One of those tasks is approving or denying those hoping to score an apartment.

Getting into the building isn't as simple as being able to afford it. The Real Deal reported that Richard Nixon, Joan Crawford, and Diane Keaton had all been rejected.

Some of its famous residents have included Uma Thurman and Henry Kissinger.

Buying a new Hermès Birkin bag

The Hermès Birkin bag is a status symbol among the wealthy and fashionable. Depending on the bag's size, color, and material, a brand-new one can cost five to six figures.

But don't expect to walk into a department store and leave with one. Hermès experts say a prospective buyer must shop the rest of the brand's catalog for a while before they're offered a Birkin for sale.

The experts say there's no set amount you have to spend before you get the call that a Birkin bag is available for you to purchase. It's mostly a waiting game that depends on when a bag that matches your preferences becomes available and how in demand that bag is. (The brand didn't respond to a request for comment from Business Insider earlier this year.)

Reserving a table at Rao's in New York City

The name Rao's is probably most recognizable for its jars of pasta sauce on grocery-store shelves.

The family-run business also has a handful of restaurants scattered through major cities in the US. Its original location in New York City is one of the toughest reservations to secure.

A phone call to the restaurant prompts a message explaining that Rao's is completely booked for the rest of 2024. It's not because it's some star-studded hot spot.

There are only 10 tables, and they belong to people who Rao's coowner Frank Pellegrino Jr. considers family. Delish reported that these guests were assigned "table rights" on specific nights and that their standing reservations were passed from generation to generation.

"There's weeklies, biweeklies, monthlies, and quarterlies, so in every three-month period, I see all my clients. And now I'm dealing with their children and grandchildren," Pellegrino told Town and Country in 2020.

Those with table rights are allowed to lend their tables to friends for a night or donate them to charity auctions. The New York Times reported last year that some wannabe diners were willing to bid hundreds of dollars on third-party reservation apps to secure them.

Buying this Cartier watch

Cartier created only four unique models of the Cheich watch, and one that sold at auction for $1.1 million in 2022 set a record for the jewelry maker, Forbes reported.

It was first created in the 1980s as a prize for whoever completed the Cartier challenge by winning two back-to-back 6,200-mile Paris-Dakar races. In 1984 and 1985, the motorcycle racer Gaston Rahier became the first and only person to complete the task.

The Sotheby's listing from 2022 said that since then, the timepiece had been "shrouded in mystery." One of the four models made is considered lost, and the other two remain in Cartier's collection. Production of the watch ended in 1986.




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