Published On: Fri, Jan 23rd, 2015

Chutzpah Man: Billionaire Jeff Greene Says Average Americans Want Too Much Stuff

Billionaire Jeff Greene with yacht

Jeff Greene, who profited from widespread misfortune when he bet against sub-prime mortgage securities prior to the financial crisis (well at least he wasn’t profiting from them) said Americans should tighten their belts, live the simple life and expect less. Jeff Greene made these comments at the World Economic Forum at Davos, after flying in on a private jet with his 19 year old wife, children and two nannies. Jeff Greene, 60, is one of the most prominent names in real estate in Florida, and he recently put his Beverly Hills compound, which he calls, charmingly, the “Palazzo di Amore”  on the market for $195 million. The grand home probably got its name because it was the site of the wedding between Mr. Greene and Mei Sze, with Mike Tyson as the best man and Oliver Stone and Donald Sterling in attendance, according to the Daily Mail.

Greene, who is worth around $3 billion, told Bloomberg that he thinks Americans are expecting too much from life, and in particular, are too focused on material things. Echoing the sentiments of Henry David Thoreau in Walden, Greene said, according to Bloomberg, ” America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better, existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

Greene hasn’t had things handed to him on a silver platter. He has worked hard to see a 20% return in his biggest fund with Apple, Google, bank stocks and yes…mortgage-backed securities in the portfolio. Greene isn’t using the money for fun and games, but to make sure he has the fastest commute possible to increase work efficiency, because time is money. That is why it was necessary for him to purchase a Cessna Caravan seaplane for $2 million so he could save time commuting from his homes in Palm Beach and the Hamptons where he does his business. The wonderplane cut his commute time from three hours to 35 minutes with two pilots on hand. A Cessna Caravan seaplane is a necessity for Greene, not an expendable luxury, like the average American’s trip to Disneyland or the next gadget from Apple.

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