Half of all millionaires have lost 30% or more of their fortunes during the financial crisis, according to a recent survey from Chicago-based Spectrem Group. Whether unable to pay their bills or loath to appear lavish at a time of national thrift, many millionaires and billionaires are unloading their baubles. In a twist on the estate sales of deceased celebrities, “living estate sales” have become increasingly popular. …One-day-only “lifestyle-liquidation” auctions are on the increase, as wealthy people put their worldly possessions on sale, including their mansions, art, cars and furniture. For some people, it’s a way to downsize, while others are looking to find cash to pay down debt.
By Robert Frank, May 18, 2009, WSJ

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