As the famed Notorious B.I.G. once brilliantly said, “Mo money mo problems.” Those words are as true today as they’ve ever been. Simply put: the more you have, the more you have to lose. These problems range from theft and burglary—to the more extreme problems such as kidnapping and murder. Billionaires around the globe recognize this and most of them do everything they can to keep both themselves and their assets safe from those who wish to steal or harm. From bulletproof Maybachs and Bentleys to panic rooms, whether it be bodyguards or high-tech security systems, no price tag is too high when it comes to security for the hyper-wealthy.
In this article, you’ll see the lengths of which billionaires will go to ensure the protection of their extravagant livelihood.
Let’s start with physical protection.
The 6’5″, 310-pound suit-and-earpiece that stands near with crossed arms, surveying the area around their employer. Oftentimes these bodyguards can’t be missed. It’s a bit discouraging when you see two men the size of defensive linemen standing in between you and the wallet you’re trying to steal. Billionaires might have two or three of these individuals with them at all times, or perhaps an entire team of bodyguards with their own convoy of vehicles. If this physical security is considered needed 24/7, 365 days a year, these guards would likely be paid a salary in the six figures. If these services are only needed on special occasions, then they would likely be paid by the day; $1000 a day is a realistic daily payment for this line of work. Either way, by the day or via salary, you can imagine the hefty price it takes to keep this protection around.
However, not all of the megarich want to be seen with such a brute entourage of steel-faced, soulless sunglass wearers. Recently there has been a surge of female bodyguards, highly trained women that will always be close by but are not so obvious. In fact, male or female undercover guards can pose as nannies or personal assistants while keeping their true value under the radar. With thousands of dollars spent on bodyguards, this small but important area of security can be a pricey one.
But as usual, the buck does not stop there. Putting so much trust in these individuals is not something most of the megarich would consider wise. After all, these billionaires didn’t become the most prominent members of society by blindly trusting everyone around them. As paranoid as it may seem, surveillance companies are often hired to make sure these bodyguards are doing their jobs and have the right intentions. If one guard tends to fall asleep on the job or if another guard has been caught in contact with some shady individuals, this surveillance will weed them out.
Surveillance is another key component of security of the megarich. So much information can be attained about an individual with just a few days of surveillance. And it isn’t just the bodyguards that can get spied on. A billionaire might pay for surveillance of a nanny or a girlfriend or boyfriend, maybe even a husband or wife. There doesn’t seem to be any relationship that’s immune to suspicion when concerned the rich. Some billionaires even hire surveillance agencies to watch their own children—to see if there are any friends that are trying to take advantage of their well-off peer. If any relationship of someone of this higher end of society is close to being free of suspicion, it would be the childhood friend that was there before the money came in. But even these bonds can be severed.
For reference to the cost of surveillance, an average private investigator gets paid about $80 an hour. When considering the quality of these agencies providing these services, it’s more likely in the hundreds of dollars an hour. Also, the surveillance is often an indefinite service rather than a one-time deal. Billionaires spend millions on the most sophisticated technology security systems for their homes—and their second homes and their beach house.
Biometric Access Control Systems
Some of the most pricey and popular security systems are in the category of biometric access control systems. These systems utilize the biological features that can’t be copied or impersonated. We’ve all seen the eye reader that scans your pupil before unlocking the safe in hundreds of movies. But the truth is, this technology exists and the rich spend thousands to utilize these devices. Other devices can scan the entire face or just a finger.
The fingerprint scanner is one biometric control system that is going out of style. The thing about your fingerprint is that it’s still there in the event that your finger is severed. To address this loophole, devices that detect the veins in the fingers rather than the fingerprint were created. So if anyone were to cut off the hand or finger and try and access the security system, they couldn’t. This may sound rather extreme, but it’s a realistic consideration that many of the hyper-rich have to pay attention to.
It gets even more extreme—bullet- and bomb-proof safety bunkers cost millions and exist below homes where no one can see or even know of their existence. These bunkers could be either a fortified core to the house hidden behind two-way mirrors or an NCB bunker, which stands for nuclear, chemical, biological. The NCB simply protects you from everything short of an asteroid hitting the earth. They can be fitted with biological wash showers that can cleanse chemical attacks. The bunkers are decked within imperishable foods and any facilities you can imagine that will be needed in the event of an NCB-related disaster.
The construction of these bunkers can come after the houses are already built, but the more elaborate and costly bunkers are considered in the plans prior to the construction of the home. These bunkers, which cost millions, are designed by specialized construction companies that are as discreet as they are expensive.
Secret passageways within the mansion are also common. They either lead to the bunkers or simply provide an escape from any threats that might have broken into the house. These passages cost thousands and require a lot of involvement in the creation process. Nothing can look out of place or it defeats the purpose of having one. These hidden passages are yet another feature that you might assume is just something seen in movies, but they are real and prevalent.
Onboard Yacht and Private Jet Security
Security systems on yachts cost upwards of a half a million but are a necessity to fend off modern pirates. Obviously pirates have evolved a lot since the days of parrots and eye-patches and a megayacht is about as close as you can get to a treasure chest. Isolated in the open sea, a floating vessel of wealth like a yacht is an easy target. That’s why so much money is thrown into keeping this floating asset safe.
The world’s richest people are spending millions arming their superyachts with military-style technology and trained personnel to fight off potential attackers. The threat of these pirates has led many owners to equip their vessels with the latest James Bond-like technology—hidden chambers, escape pods, tracking devices, and ex-Marines employed as security guards.
If millions are spent in security by water, then how much more is spent in the air. That’s right. Millions are spent on the protection of private jets. The theme of military-grade fortifications continues as anti-missile defense systems are becoming standard for billionaires with personal aircraft. To put it plainly, the more assets a billionaire has, the more money it takes to keep all of it safe.
The cost of security for a billionaire is directly proportional to how much stuff they have. That sum of money is often multiplied by how paranoid the billionaire is.
If you have the money to come up with your own millionaire defense system, what would you choose?