Super Rich: 'It's Not About Necessity'

You probably wouldn't recognize Paul Parmar, but he is one of the fresh new faces of the super rich, and he says he's "not really" affected by the current economic downturn.

Robert Frank, the personal wealth columnist for The Wall Street Journal and the author of "Richistan," said there's a new model for wealth in America.

"Since the 1930s, more than half of America's wealth came from inherited wealth, so we all know about the Rockefellers and the Astors and the DuPonts," he said. "But in the last 10 years, it's all new money."

Parmar, 37, is a prime example of a modern-day multimillionaire, living a life most people could only dream of. Home for Parmar is a 40,000 square foot mansion in Colts Neck, N.J., complete with four swimming pools (one indoor, three outdoor), a tennis court and a two-lane bowling alley.

Residing in 'Richistan'

"They truly live in their own world or their own country that I call Richistan," said Frank. "And even I underestimated the degree to which the wealthy are almost oblivious to the fact that we are in a recession. The super rich are unaffected."

Parmar founded Pegasus Consulting Group in 1995 and, according to his firm's Web site, guided the company's growth to a staff of more than 700. Parmar is also the founder and Chairman of Pegasus Blue Star Fund, and his fortune is spread across a portfolio of investments from finance to aviation to movies, both Bollywood and Hollywood.

Most recently, he produced the movie "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

And his new area of investment is health care.

"I say, what segment can I make the most impact in," Parmar said. "And if you look at health care, it's completely broken, it's inefficient. So we see us as someone who can make an impact on that inefficiency."

"Nightline" tagged along with Parmar and his girlfriend, Amanda, on a whirlwind weekend trip -- business mixed with pleasure (including Dom Perignon Champagne on his private jet, which took us to Orlando).

Parmar was picked up by a Rolls Royce and stopped at an exotic car club where you can rent a car so rare, you can't fill it up with regular gasoline.

"I have two aviation companies, so I have easy access to aviation fuel, which works," said Parmar. "You can put jet fuel in these cars and you'll be fine."

Then it was off to Anguilla for a two-hour business meeting before returning to New York.

The Growing Wealth Gap

As many Americans watch personal investments like their homes go belly up, many of the super rich have seen their fortunes grow.

"The median income in America is still around $48,000, and that's been flat for about the last 10 years," said Frank. "Meanwhile, the top 1 percent of Americans control 33 percent of the wealth. That top 1 percent owns $17 trillion in wealth, which for perspective, is greater than the GDPs of Japan, Germany, the U.K. and France combined."

Even the top 1 percent's dogs live well. Parmar's five purebreds are fed chicken and steak.

"I think it comes down to fundamentals of how I invest," Parmar said. "I didn't go rob a bank."

But even Warren Buffett -- the world's richest man whose estimated wealth hovers around $60 billion -- worries about the burgeoning wealth gap.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...