Financial confidence has enabled many wealthy individuals to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic with a degree of freedom. Even with travel restrictions in place, self-determined people have been able to adapt their lifestyles to stay safe and enjoy time away from home. This trend is only set to continue as restrictions ease and the appetite for travel increases, reviving a new form of global lives for wealthy families.
When the Covid-19 outbreak first took hold, the future of global lives was brought into question. As countries and communities across the world went into various versions of lockdown, physical barriers made it more difficult for people to lead international lives.
Only a matter of months ago, there were reports that Covid-19 had reversed the effects of globalisation entirely. Thousands of cancelled flights, a winding down of manufacturing and dramatic falls in international trade were touted as signs of a faltering global economic system1.
Fast forward a few months and a new global picture is taking shape. Borders are reopening as governments find methods for grappling the virus and reviving economies. There are undoubted signs that global lives are resuming, as those with self-determination and financial security adapt to public health measures to navigate various stages of lockdown.
Even as economies across the world begin to recover, individuals are reassessing their goals for the future. A UBS Investor Watch survey2 found that 75% of wealthy investors believe they will permanently alter their future lifestyles following the pandemic.
Indeed, people have traditionally made decisions about how and where they live based on tax considerations, education opportunities for their family and proximity to key markets and wealth hubs. However, following the pandemic, survey respondents highlighted themes such as wanting to prioritise their health, to be closer to family, and live in less densely populated locations.
Many individuals are also now more aware of the need for financial security. 83% of the survey respondents admitted to wanting more guidance than usual from their financial advisor. For many, Covid-19 has damaged financial confidence and they will retain a degree of caution as they rebuild their lifestyles.
Favouring travel for safety
Travel has played an interesting role for many wealthy individuals prioritising their health during the pandemic. For example, Wyoming in the US experienced a surge in visitors when those with holiday homes in Teton County flocked to the area for a remote escape in the mountains3. In addition, states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut put early travel restrictions in place in response to a surge in residents looking to leave in favour of places with few reported cases.
We have also seen high net worth individuals respond to restrictions by finding their own means to travel and stay safe. In spring, there was a spike in demand for private jets as people looked to travel with lower risk of exposure to the virus4.
Self-determination and financial confidence have enabled wealthy individuals to endure the pandemic in a way that best suited their needs and goals. For lots of people, this included traveling to destinations they deemed safer, and this is a trend we continue to witness as the travel industry reopens.
A growing appetite for travel
Now that restrictions are easing, financial security is enabling to wealthy individuals to even more freedom, but in a style that aligns with their priority for safety. People are now investigating border closures and service restrictions to find locations that enable them to travel with confidence. Services such as established online delivery services, food security and access to good medical care will all influence people’s choices about how and where to travel for their own peace of mind.
For many, the lure of faraway destinations after months in lockdown is appealing, and remote locations where they can enjoy isolation are expected to be popular.5 Those with the financial security to organise their own private jet without the fear of being stranded will be able to take new opportunities to travel with confidence.
In fact, high net worth individuals have been more willing to pay a premium to enjoy a holiday in quarantine-friendly properties, as a source for Wealth-X6explains: “Clients want to spend more money than usual for yachts, villas and private planes in order to be able to go on a trip that also safeguards their family.” These are clear signs that many wealthy individuals are keen to start rebuilding their international lives.
Now that the EU has issued its recommendations on gradually lifting entry restrictions7 , we are getting a clearer glimpse into the realities of non-essential travel over the coming months. As a result, we expect wealthy individuals to resume their global lifestyles as they use their financial security to travel safely.
Although the pandemic has presented challenges across the globe, it has reinforced the choices and flexibility afforded by long-term financial security and confidence. Rather than altering their lives completely, the ultra-wealthy will continue to adapt their global lives to manage new health risks while enjoying their own freedom.
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