Who wouldn't want a life filled with fast cars, fancy wine and the latest toys and gadgets? Problem is, it costs so damn much. Sure, you could max out the credit cards, or mortgage your house, but we all know the pitfalls of doing that.
There is an answer, and as with most things in life it all comes down to cheating. Not the kind that lands you in divorce court, or gets you nabbed by store detectives, but the kind of wholesome, honest cheating that fools your friends into thinking you're more successful than you are, and allows you to approximate the lifestyle of the rich and famous on a more modest budget. Pretentious? Undoubtedly, but a lot more enjoyable than wiping out your bank balance.
As an aspiring high-powered executive, you're going to need to prove your eco-sensitive credentials by pedalling a fancy bicycle to work sometimes. One of the top Euro brands is Bianchi with a heritage dating back 127 years.
The trademark of Bianchi is the celeste green colour scheme, instantly recognised by any bike fanatic. Sure, you could pay up to A$18,000 for the top-of-the-range Oltre that will be ridden in this year's Tour de France. Or you could cheat a little and opt for a celeste coloured Infinito Veloce, which you'll pick up for A$4400. It's still a Bianchi with a Campagnolo group set and it'll still get you to the office at a fast clip. Best of all, you'll look enviro-fabulous.
* Bargain Basement: The Bianchi Via Nirone for around A$1500.
There's nothing worse than pretending to be an upwardly mobile executive with a bottom of the range Beemer, or Merc. Sure, it gets you the badge, but you just look like a suburban real estate agent. Far cooler is a late 1980s Porsche 964 Targa. You will look like the consummate Gordon Gekko type, from the era when greed was good and not merely something for middle-class hippies to protest about. A good second hand model will set you back around A$55,000 (that's less than a Holden Caprice).
* Bargain Basement: 2000 model Lexus LS 400 for about A$8000.
Successful types seem to like the Breitling Navitimer on their wrist (Gordon Ramsay and John Travolta are big fans) but at around A$6500 it's an expensive way to tell the time, especially when you can just peek at your iphone instead. Thankfully, Swiss watchmaker Revue Thommen make an Airspeed XLarge model which is just as ruggedly sexy and costs a lot less at around A$2500 to A$3000.
* Bargain Basement: Citizen Promaster Air Collection: A$699.00
Everybody knows that movers and shakers like to drink the very best champagne. It represents a certain elevated lifestyle and - if you have a drinking problem - it even tastes great on your cornflakes.
Obviously, the very best champagne comes from French houses such as Bollinger, Louis Roederer, Veuve Clicquot, etc. It takes a lot of skill and years to make beautiful champers, and you will pay for it. Like A$275,000 for a bottle of Piper Heidsiek 1907 (recovered from a salvaged war ship).
Even a Krug Clos d'Ambonnay will set you back a cool A$3999 from Dan Murphy's. The solution is to buy Australian instead. Australia makes some amazing sparkling wines that are rivalling the French. Wine buff James Halliday rates the 2000 Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir a whopping 98 points. From Tasmania, it's a tremendously complex drop and it's yours for about A$190.
* Bargain Basement: NV Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco (Victoria): A$18.50
It's a fact that tycoons own motor cruisers. They are the most expensive toys on the planet. How expensive? Russian Oligarch, Roman Abramovich owns a 558-foot goliath with cinema, library and private garden that cost A$485 million.
While one of these might be a stretch too far, how about chartering a luxury motor cruiser instead? That way you avoid the price-tag, maintenance, and fuel bills.
Sydney Harbour Yacht Charters has a 92-foot Warren Superyacht for charter that has hosted the likes of Tom Cruise, Rihanna and three US Presidents. It comes with a captain, engineer, and deckhand. And you can have a chef arrive on board and cook a gourmet meal in the galley.
With a sticker price of more than five million, it's cheap at A$1750 an hour, especially when you invite up to 65 of your friends along to impress.
Executives love collecting things: Whether it's Faberge eggs, race horses, or rare stamps. But the thing they like to collect most is art. A collection of great art tells the world you are not only successful, but you are cultured as well.
But great art can be frighteningly expensive. Only last month, Sotheby's New York sold Edvard Munch's The Scream for a record A$119.9 million.
Those of us with a more modest budget can still put great art on their walls for a fraction of the price - by renting it. Artbank has more than 10,000 contemporary Australian artworks available, including paintings, photography, craft, sculpture and indigenous art. Rental fees start from A$110 per artwork, with the minimum contract total of A$550 per year.
- Sydney Morning Herald