August 2012

Gilded Age: Pride in Excess

The flaunting of wealth that marked the Gilded Age is difficult to grasp. Forbes reports there are currently 425 U.S. billionaires, the most in any country. They tend to live in cocoons, flinching when the media write about their vast homes or other trappings of wealth.

But Newport Rhode Island’s Gilded Age mansions were built for the express purpose of showcasing the unprecedented fortunes accumulated during the new industrial age. Summer residents paraded in their finery during afternoon carriage rides and held lavish parties for hundreds – sometimes thousands – on the grounds of their seaside homes, which replicated the castles that wealthy Americans saw during their European vacations. [On Aug. 16-19, The Preservation Society of Newport will host a weekend of carriage rides.]

Enjoy this photo tour of The Breakers and Marble House! Newport’s most spectacular homes were built by two grandsons of the steamship and railroad magnate “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt.


Arial View of The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island:
Cornelius Vanderbilt II introduced his “summer cottage” to high society with a 1895 debutante party for daughter Gertrude, officially putting his $75 million fortune on grand display. …Learn More

thought bubble

In Session: Retirement Conference

Squared Away is not on vacation: I’m attending the annual Retirement Research Consortium’s conference in Washington D.C.

Follow my tweets @SquaredAwayBC to learn about some of the research findings being presented at the conference. I’ll also be writing blog posts about individual research papers in coming weeks.

Topics being discussed today at the conference include the impact of a decline in smoking on U.S. life expectancy, the personality traits that are associated with being prepared for retirement, and how Social Security policies affect your decisions about when to retire.

To receive email alerts about the week’s blog posts, click here.

There’s also Twitter @SquaredAwayBC, or “Like” us on Facebook!Learn More