Question: Have you ever pondered why the rich spend their money on overly lavish homes, etc..? Well, maybe that is not the most provocative question I could ask, but I watched the documentary The Queen of Versailles recently and was inspired by that particular point of the film.
The documentary started out witnessing and discussing the building of America’s largest home by billionaire couple, Jacqueline and David Siegel. They commissioned a 90,000 square foot home near Orlando, Florida a few years back. Documentarian and filmmaker, Lauren Greenfield, started filming the couple’s elaborate home building of the French inspired monstrosity with its ice-skating rink/roller-rink, bowling alley, 30 bathrooms, 2 tennis courts, 10 kitchens, etc… Okay, that just sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. The Siegel’s are the owners ofWestgate Resorts, the largest time-share company and had billions to burn, or so they thought. Plus, they were busting at the seams in their 30,000+ square foot current home. No, really.
The Queen of Versailles may have started out showcasing the construction of the….house, but it quickly turned into more of a family drama when the 2008 economic crisis wiped out many people’s fortunes, including the Siegel’s. The family, with their 7 children and 1 niece they look after, have to drastically have to cut back their spending and lavish lifestyle. You go from not caring for the people in the film to feeling sorry for them, at least I felt sorry for the wife, Jacqueline. Her husband, a typical wealthy man assumes he is king of everything including manners, becomes ornery and rude under the stress of loosing most of his fortune.
This was a very good documentary because not only did it start out as one story and ended up being a completely different one (what timing!), it was a cautionary tale as well. When you watch the film you will understand what I mean exactly. Go back to my opening question and this particular family learned a tough lesson – one we all can take from. It won’t matter if you are rich or poor; this particular issue afflicts people of all economic backgrounds.