Worth Magazine relaunches, and no, you can't afford it. Do you care?

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The rich think differently than you and I. Or maybe it's the people who cater to the rich who do.

Who else would relaunch a magazine aimed at the elite at a time when the financial system they've grown fat on for the last 30 years burns out around them? Or at a time when all dead-tree media is going down for the final count, as well?

Well, that would be Worth Magazine, thank you. The magazine will relaunch in May, and will still cater to the "ultra-rich" (Who's that now? Investment bankers? Bernie Madoff types? Celebs?). The new twist, however, is how it will be distributed.
If you're in a carefully-selected group of 110,000 high-worth individuals, you'll receive the magazine on your doorstep for free. For the rest of us, we can buy a copy of Worth at the newstand for only $20.

Cough.

To qualify as a "high-worth" individual, you'll need a minimum household worth of $2 million and live in one of 11 major markets, including New York or San Francisco. Would it be terribly gauche of me to mention that $2 million isn't very much at all, especially in these markets? You could almost buy a two-bedroom tear-down in Pacific Palisades for $2 million, but it wouldn't be very nice. Maybe you could get a cute little two-bedroom in Manhattan for that.

The magazine seems to be hoping to cash in on its delicious exclusivity. But its timing seems terribly off. Sort of like someone hoping to get rich flipping houses in 2007.

That's some hubris coming from a magazine with an average paid-subscription circulation of only 31,024 in the last six months of 2008. That's down 57.1% from the same period in 2007, according to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulations Fas-Fax report. By contrast, Barron's had an average paid-subscription circulation of 263,092, up 4.7% from 2007 (probably because readers of Barron's, those same rich people Worth so covets, want to know what's happened to their bottom line more than they want to read yet another story about cigars or private jets.)

And at any rate, I don't know that this sort of thing can fly anymore in the age of the internets, where anything, no matter how proprietary, can end up on somebody's blog the day it's released. Of course, that's presuming there's anything in the new and fancier Worth that anybody really cares enough to blog about. How to find the best wealth adviser? Yawn. Darling, that's sooo 2008.
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