Oh, dear. I remember marveling, back in 2001, when I heard that Oprah Winfrey bought a $50 million home. I also marveled when reading about the expensive home that Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bill Gates built. I looked it up just now, and it appears to be worth more than $125 million today. Per Wikipedia, it encompasses more than 50,000 square feet. It's hard to imagine any homes bigger or more expensive than that, isn't it?

Well, tell that to Mr. and Mrs. Mukesh Ambani, who are building a $2 billion, 27-story home in Mumbai, India. (Mr. Ambani is the world's fifth-richest person, according to Forbes.) The place will include a six-level parking garage, nine elevators in the lobby, and a small room that features manmade snow flurries. This strikes me as some sort of cry for help. It's as if they can't think of anything better to do than spend gobs of money on 400,000 square feet of space in which to live. Here are a few ideas for them:

  • First off, they're rich, and they want a posh home. Fine. Let's let them spend a whopping $300 million on a fancy home. Surely that should suffice, no? It would still be among the world's most expensive homes.
  • They might invest some or all of what's left: $1.7 billion invested in the U.S. stock market would become more than $11 billion in just 20 years, if it grows at the market's historical average annual rate of 10%.
  • If they focus their assets, they could buy big stakes in U.S. companies like these:


Stake With $1.7 Billion Investment

Coventry Health Care (NYSE:CVH)


The St. Joe Company (NYSE:JOE)






Forest Oil (NYSE:FST)


Finally, they might make the world a better place by lifting others out of poverty. Many microcredit organizations, for example, can start a powerful upward spiral for a family by loaning just $100 to a woman in poverty. A $1.7 billion gift to microcredit could lift 17 million families out of poverty! Imagine that. They might even cure financial illiteracy single-handedly.