BUY: Adventures to brag about
“They’re hyper. They’re young. They’re successful. And they’re looking for really cool experiences,” says Josh Friedman, owner of Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco, noting a one-day $1,500 gastronomic tour he arranged outside Bologna. And a sailboat ride with a private captain. And a Ferrari ride on a test track.
SKIP: Renoirs and Picassos
“The auction houses are courting them, but this is a generation raised on one-click buying and instant gratification,” says George McNeely, senior vice president of business development at Christie’s. “Instead of fine art, they might be buying wine to stock their cellars, and they’re also showing interest in Rolexes and Patek Philippes, watches that announce their arrival.”
BUY: Chevy Volts and Teslas
“The new context of wealth is conservatism,” says Ron Gong, managing director at the Bay Area–based Harris myCFO, a wealth management firm. “But these folks are not averse to blowing a few bucks on something cool. Our clientele have a lot of these cars on order.”
SKIP: Megamansions in Pac Heights
This generation is turning it down a notch on real estate, says Greg Shove, an entrepreneur who struck it rich with AOL in the 1990s and is now CEO of San Francisco software firm SocialChorus. “Steve Jobs lived in downtown Palo Alto, and Mark Zuckerberg lives there now. They’re heroes to this crowd, which cares more about design and eco-construction than about raw size.”
BUY: High-tech toys
“Younger people assume they’ll be able to use technology (e.g., their iPads) to control their world—their security, surveillance, lights, electric, door locks, you name it—so that’s what they’ll spend their money on,” says Randy Stearns, owner of Engineered Environments, a high-end residential systems contractor in Alameda, with a showroom in San Francisco.
Yes, it feels like 1999 all over again. But will the newly minted millionaires from Zynga, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Facebook burn through their cash the way many did in the bubblicious days of the dot-com boom? We talked to financial advisers, luxury sales folks, and people who survived the first bust to see what the tech titans will—and won’t—be buying this time around.