The Luxe Life

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So you’ve won the lottery, or perhaps you inherited a fortune from great-Aunt Pearl. Maybe you’ve earned a healthy chunk of change through good, old-fashioned hard work. But now you must decide how to spend it. Despite perception, spending money – spending it wisely, that is – is not an easy task. There’s a lengthy list of things that must be done once money is obtained, including hiring an accountant or tax attorney, setting up a trust, weeding out those greedy ones who may want a piece of your new-found fortune and figuring out what the mission of your money will be. We talked to authorities in everything from wealth management to fashion to find out how to best put that fortune to good use.

Manage That Money

Now that you have money, how do you make sure the details of managing it keep you out of financial dilemmas? You hire someone like William C. Chevaillier Jr., of course. Chevaillier, a partner at Tulsa’s prestigious Mysock, Chevaillier & Bolden LLP, is an expert in business and corporate law, litigation, estate planning and probate, taxation and trust and estate litigation. For more than 25 years, he has helped both individuals and businesses navigate the choppy waters of financial success.

Throughout his years of practice, Chevaillier has picked up a few tricks, and recommends the following to the recently flush:

If offered a choice, take periodic payments rather than a large lump sum.

Direct your money to a trust, with a corporate trustee. “This will keep any newfound friends from persuading the beneficiary to loan them money,” Chevaillier says. “He or she can tell them, ‘You need to ask my trustee; I do not have any control over the money.’”

Chevaillier also advises any recipient of riches to set up a donor-advised fund with an organization such as the Tulsa Community Foundation and contribute at least one half of any money to future charitable donations. – TM

Securing The Wealth

After adequately protecting a new windfall – through the help of trust attorneys, CPAs and private banking – private investigator and security consultant Gary Glanz says that those with wealth should insulate themselves as much as possible. He recommends changing telephone numbers and moving into a high-security area.

Glanz says that once friends and family find out that someone has come into a considerable fortune, they will often come knocking. He recommends not loaning money to family and friends.

“I had a client that came into money and bought a bank,” says Glanz. “He had friends and family go through the loan process at the bank” if they requested money.

“It takes no degree of intelligence to spend money,” says Glanz, who provides security advice to many well-heeled clients.

He also recommends executing due diligence on any hires or business associates to make sure that he or she does not have a history of lawsuits or previous problems. He says that obtaining a fidelity bond or insurance policy on any employee handling cash or financial accounts helps insulate against theft.

If possible, Glanz recommends claiming any winnings or obtaining funds anonymously. “Anybody they’ve ever known will come out of the woodwork, so it’s best to [be] as anonymous as possible,” he says. – JM

The Gift Of Giving

Let’s face it: As great as having a huge amount of money may be, sometimes giving is as rewarding as riches. But how does one decide where or to whom a donation should be made? And how does one go about making it?

“Anyone interested in making a charitable gift should be guided by what’s in his or her own heart,” says Kayla Acebo, vice president of institutional advancement at the University of Tulsa. “My advice would be to take some time to examine what you care about and what you want your family legacy to represent. By doing this, a donor will be naturally guided to finding the ‘right fit’ for their charitable giving, whether that be a university, a church or a nonprofit organization that aligns with their philanthropic interests.”

 Acebo says the first step to donating to any nonprofit organization is to contact their development officer. If anonymity is a concern, a donor may want to engage an intermediary (such as an attorney or trust officer) to handle contact.

“Once that connection is made, the relationship – and the fun – can really begin,” Acebo says. “The donor can discuss his or her desire to help, and the charitable organization can share where their greatest needs lie. Is their interest in the area of helping students? Consider an endowed scholarship. Do the donors consider themselves builders? There may be construction projects that would be a perfect fit. Perhaps the donor wants the leaders of the organization to direct their gift to the area of greatest need. In that case, a gift to the agency’s operating fund would be ideal. The possibilities are endless.”

It doesn’t hurt that, in addition to the emotional rewards of donation, there are financial benefits as well in the way of tax deductions. Acebo recommends always consulting with an accountant or tax advisor before making any large donation. – TM

Rich Real Estate

An integral piece of a luxurious lifestyle is a palatial home in the perfect location. Real estate broker Konrad Keesee, founder and president of Keesee and Company, Inc., has been catering to ritzy clients in the Oklahoma City area for nearly 60 years. According to Keesee, Oklahoma City has been home to gemstone neighborhoods since the early 1900s.

“The first luxury neighborhood in Oklahoma City was what is now known as the Heritage Hills area,” Keesee says. “A beautiful neighborhood with mature shade trees and sidewalks, its diverse architecture draws people with nostalgic longings. Many of the homes were custom built.”

While exclusive neighborhoods dot the landscape of central Oklahoma – such as Stonemill and Saratoga Farms in Edmond and Brookhaven in Norman – far and above, the most desirable area remains Nichols Hills. Keesee, author of a book about the posh community, says, “Buyers wanting newer homes will find West Nichols Hills a gem. Smaller homes on one-acre lots are being taken down in order to build larger homes priced $1 million and up. Lot values in Nichols Hills are selling for $300,000 to $1 million.”  In addition, he says that some 148 homes have sold for between $1 and $2 million, with others selling for almost $3 million.

Peter Walter, a realtor in Tulsa, says that if money were no object, he would direct a client to purchase a home in Midtown Tulsa. Maple Ridge, Forest Hills, Southern Hills, Bryn Rose and Woody Crest” are Midtown neighborhoods that Walter cites. “There are spectacular homes in this area,” says Walter. – TM

Necessary Upgrades

After purchasing a house (in the most expensive zip code, of course), it’s time to transform it into a home. Tulsa-based builder and remodeler, Bill Powers, says that the two most popular rooms for renovation when it comes to upgrading a home is the kitchen and the master suite.

“What we’re seeing is more elaborate cabinetry layouts, upscale surfacing, exotic tile and glass and stone backsplashes and combinations, as well as more professional-grade appliances designed around entertaining,” he says.

As for the master bath, Powers says that luxurious amenities, such as heated floors, steam showers, towel warmers and extensive storage planning, are the most popular upgrades.

“We’re also seeing people look more at upscale light fixtures,” he notes. “Light fixtures are coming into a position of prominence in the home.”

Fireplaces are also a very popular upgrade, he says, providing a “wow” statement in living areas. Powers says that a recent project completed out-of-state provided a stunning fireplace feature that gave homeowners a desired impact.

“A marble-clad fireplace is stunning and makes a bold statement,” he says. “It’s something that people that have the means can do to upgrade the appearance of their home with that feature, and it’s not something that you’re going to see in other homes.”

And, oh yes, there’s also the diamond encrusted fireplace surround that complements the marble. – JM

Dress The Part

A cursory viewing of The Real Housewives – any edition – quickly proves that wealth and the ability to look fabulous don’t always go hand in hand. However, there are two recurring themes among the rich and well dressed: fit and quality.

“One of the hallmarks of a well-dressed, wealthy person is that they buy things that fit incredibly well,” says Rachel Kern of Miss Jackson’s in Tulsa.

Spencer Stone, owner of the eponymous men’s store in Nichols Hills, has dressed Oklahoma City’s well-heeled gentlemen for more than a decade. He agrees about fit. “Very wealthy men are fastidious about the fit, opting for impeccably tailored clothes in a trim fit. Everything should be custom made and made to measure,” he says.

While the uber-rich may trend toward dark colors and classic silhouettes in an effort to stay off the worst dressed list, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. “One of the things that people associate with wealth is the ability to choose one-of-a kind-pieces, things designed especially for you,” says Kern. That may be something with a little bit of personality or eccentricity. “I especially notice older women that add incredibly interesting, eccentric pieces to an otherwise classic wardrobe – it’s an incredibly luxe look,” says Kern. 

Fashion Secrets of the Wealthy
Invest in quality. Wealthy people often buy expensive items that will last for years. In the end this can actually save you money. Don’t buy into trends. Stone advises his clients to dress like Fred Astaire or Frank Sinatra – you’ll never go out of style.
 
Black-tie Glamour
For her: Kern suggests starting with stunning jewelry, such as an incredible necklace or knockout earrings and pairing it with a simple, well-made gown – black is a great choice that looks good on most everyone – and expensive shoes. For him: Stone is specific. The well-dressed man must have a one-button, peak lapel tuxedo; white, formal, straight-collar shirt; a white linen pocket square; a black self-tie bowtie that matches the trim on the tux; black silk socks and black formal pumps. Cufflinks and accessories should be black or sterling silver. – TG

Bring on the Bling

When one has a little extra pocket change, the appropriate jewelry is necessary. Michelle Holdgrafer, manager at Bruce G. Weber Precious Jewels, says that the first thing to purchase is a luxury watch.

“Obviously, the first thing for him or her is a Rolex. That’s the last watch you ever have to buy,” she says.

For women, diamond studs are also a must. Holdgrafer says that prices vary with the color, clarity, cut, style and mounting of the studs. “Studs are something every woman loves in various styles,” she says.

For formal occasions, diamond bracelets and necklaces are great accessories.

“We have beautiful pieces for a night out,” says Holdgrafer. “Something that would be unusual would be a graduated diamond, opera-length necklace.” She adds that simple pearls are appropriate for any occasion.

Above all, Holdgrafer says that when investing in staple pieces of jewelry, remember that classic pieces will always be just that.

“Go with something that is classic and will still have meaning 10 to 20 years from now,” she says. “A lot of styles come and go and are wonderful, but whatever you do get, make it a very classic purchase so that it’s always going so it will stand the test of time.” – JM

High Art

What’s a palace without astonishing décor? Nouveau riche art fans can afford to deck their halls like the Louvre. But where does one start? How can you assure that you’re buying the quality of art you deserve?

“The most important thing to keep in mind is to simply buy what you love,” says Rand Suffolk, director of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa. Suffolk believes that education and passion are the keys to starting a high quality art collection.

“If you’re uncertain about what style, period or type of work makes you happy, then take time to educate yourself by visiting museums and galleries,” he says. “Look at as many things as possible to develop your eye and to determine what engages you the most deeply. Ask lots of questions. Use the internet. Buy the best quality you can, and then enjoy it.” – TM

Ritzy Rides

One of the many perks of a luxurious life is getting to ride in style. Why drive yourself when someone else can do it for you, any time, any day? Companies like Oklahoma City’s Premium Car LLC chauffeured transportation services specialize in transporting the rich and famous throughout the metro area.

“If you would like classy transportation anywhere, we are the best choice for your transportation needs and are available 24 hours every day,” says Candice Smith, transportation coordinator for the company. “Our chauffeurs can take you anywhere.”

Rates vary, but a ride will run you $65 per hour, and a ride to the airport will cost anything from $30 to $75 – chump change for most high rollers. Serious riders can spring for a corporate transportation account, with monthly billing and transportation services available at a moment’s whim.

“We offer clean, top-of-the-line L series sedan cars; experienced, well-mannered chauffeurs and the best rates around,” Smith says. Features include roomy seating for up to four passengers, climate control and leather upholstery.  

Premium Car is mindful not only of the comfort of their discerning clients, but of their security as well. Chauffeurs all undergo background checks and specialize in professionalism, discretion and class. – TM

Better With Age

Growing a wine collection is not something accomplished overnight. Lots of time, energy and tasting goes into stocking a cellar with wines that will only grow better over time.

Damon Daniel, assistant manager at Ranch Acres Wine & Spirits, says the most important thing to do when beginning a wine collection is to pay attention to vintages.

“Certain regions and certain countries do wines that are meant to be cellared better,” he says. “They may not be at their full potential for a while. Collecting means holding them back for a while. With that in mind, you’d have to start with a classic Bordeaux.”

Some vintages see more of an increase in value than others, and some vintages hold their value extremely well.

“Right now, 2010 is a huge vintage for Bordeaux,” says Daniel. “They’re getting off-the-chart ratings from various sources. They’re also getting and off-the-chart prices.”

Of course, if money is no object, one can head to the nearest wine auction and bid on a Bordeaux, where a bottle can fetch a price well into the six figures.  – JM

The Jet Set

Photo by John Amatucci/Amatucci Photography courtesy of Omni Air Transport.

With wealth comes a completely new way to travel. Chartering private jets for business, family vacation or a girls’ weekend becomes attainable. Omni Air Transport caters to both the business and leisure traveler, and CEO Dan Burnstein says that the process of chartering a jet is pretty easy.

“Typically, someone will call or email to get a quote, then if they agree to the pricing and the quote, it’s just a matter of booking the trip. The client will sign some paperwork confirming their desire to fly and also the payment terms. It’s as simple as that,” he says.

Burnstein says most leisure travelers request to travel throughout the Caribbean, to Bermuda, Mexico, Canada and Europe.

Each jet in Omni’s fleet will hold anywhere from eight to 13 passengers, and Burnstein says the typical charter carries three to four people to a destination.

And if the desire is to buy a jet, Omni can help with that, too. The company will walk clients through the steps of purchasing a private jet, from the paperwork to inspection. Burnstein says that once a client purchases a jet, Omni takes over maintenance for the vehicle and will add it to its fleet of charter jets, earning the owner a little extra money. – JM

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