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What is ‘Living Large’ and How Can I Make it My Lifestyle?
If one subject attracts slang like no other, it’s money. From ‘bucks’ to ‘bling,’ there are thousands of colloquialisms for cold, hard cash. Some are steeped in investment terminology, inspiring visions of capital, savings, and sunk costs, while others a decidedly more street, painting a slick rags-to-riches picture of big dollas’, ballin’ lifestyles, and for serious Sopranos fans, ‘rocks.’

But alongside all the slang is a distinct misunderstanding of what it’s like to be rich. The fantasy of massive riches that most of us have been exposed to only shows the good side – buying fancy cars, travelling extensively, and enjoying a lifestyle that many may never be able to afford. But there are disadvantages to being wealthy, many of which cause huge problems for the world’s big spenders.

We’re not going to focus on them. Instead, let’s highlight the best part about riches: the lifestyle that they make possible. These four short stories catalogue the entirety of instant riches. From overnight millionaires to ultra-rich fugitive criminals, these four interesting characters tasted wealth and truly lived large, if only for a short period.

1. MC Hammer

After growing up in one of North California’s roughest cities, MC Hammer hit the big time when his song ‘U Can’t Touch This’ became an international hit. His album topped charts for almost six months, selling tens-of-millions of records and making Hammer an international sensation.

But as the public’s tastes changed, Hammer continued to relentlessly spend his fortune. He bought mansions, planes, and close to $3 million worth of luxury cars in less than five years, squandering his fortune and ending up $13 million in debt. Livin’ large? Most certainly, but not very sensibly.

2. Stefan Eriksson

Take one part criminal fraudster, one part technology investors, and one part smooth talker, and you have Stefan Eriksson. The Swedish renaissance man was one of several ‘investors’ behind the famed ‘Gizmondo’ – a potentially revolutionary gaming device that ended up selling less than 20,000 units.

Of course, the device’s poor sales didn’t stop Eriksson from living like a king. While the device was little more than hot air, investors spent close to $1 billion designing and developing the machine. A large portion of that went to Eriksson’s lifestyle – those close to the criminal entrepreneur say that he spend most of time buying luxury cars, betting on horses, and purchasing estates in the USA.

3. Mike Tyson

Few athletes have lived as large as Mike Tyson. The infamous boxing champion spent millions of dollars on luxury estates and flashy items over the years, with an equally vast sum going to corrupt managers and exploitative fight promoters. The mega-famous boxer declared bankruptcy earlier in the decade, but has since regained control of his finances and limited his personal spending.

4. Stephen Paternot

After breezing through an undergrad degree at Cornell University, Stephen Paternot founded one of the most notorious tech companies of the dot-com era: A simplistic social network, his online creation quickly found backing from investors and made the young entrepreneur a multi-millionaire overnight.

After being filmed dancing in a Manhattan nightclub wearing plastic pants, spending thousands of dollars on champagne, and purchasing a slew of luxury cars, Paternot’s stock value dropped to the point where investors pulled the plug on the company entirely. It may only have been temporary, but Stephen Paternot lived large on a scale that few people have ever matched.

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