Friday, April 30, 2004

29 Millionaire

The economy hasn't been this hot since 1984, so maybe it is time to do a conspicuous consumption journal from the 1980s. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal in October 2000 the term millionaire was suffering from brand dilution, so the owners of the Millionaire magazine changed the name to Opulence. Forbes Magazine also commented in 1999 about the inflation in the number of millionaires:
in the old days (around 1980), maybe you were rich if your net worth exceeded $1 million. Even if you had a modest bank account, you were really well off if you made more than $75,000 a year. After all, a $75,000 salary put you at four times the median annual income of the time, and assured that you could afford the accoutrements of success, such as a four-bedroom house, a new $18,000 car and a maid to come and clean once a week. "Looking back from the vantage point of the 1990s," remarks Robert Frank, "it is surprising how modest our aspirations were in the 1980s."
In 1987 the publisher Douglas Lambert wrote (and still says essentially the same thing on the web site):
"You've had an exhilarating climb to the top. But for you, the climb is never quite over--not as long as there is one more challenge, one more opportunity, one more adventure. You deserve all the good things in life." Then he goes on to tell you what that is--exclusive fashions, elegant hotels and restaurants, art collections, financial trends, and successful people for friends.
The web site says the most recent issue is Vol. 7 no.5, so something isn't right--the journal I have in my hand is over 14 years old. No one is home at the Opulence website, so perhaps the magazine has returned to its former, undervalued title.

October 1987, Vol. 1 No. 1
Status: unclear
ISSN: na
Subject: Lifestyle, consumerism
Publication schedule: 10 times a year
Millionaire Magazine, Inc.
105 S. Narcissus Ave.
West Palm Beach, Fla. 33401
$4.00; 12 issues $30.00
Publisher/Editor in Chief: Douglas Lambert
Editor: Pat Broderick

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