In tough economic times, even the odd billionaire must sell assets to make ends meet.

The financial crisis across Europe is affecting pretty much everybody these days: families with mortgages, Governments with deficits and even the odd billionaire.

Thomas Straumann, a Swiss billionaire who inherited his wealth from the family dental implant business that holds his name has been squeezed by the ongoing economic downturn.

It is reported that Mr. Straumann was forced to put an Aston Martin, used to promote the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball on the market as well as sell stakes in both the luxury watchmaker H. Moser & Cie. and a hotel in the Alpine resort of Gstaad.

In addition to selling off some of the prized possessions, the Swiss billionaire was also forced to reduce his stake in the family dental-implant maker founded by his grandfather and father.

The move serves as a clear example how rich and poor are all affected by the forces of economics.

Mr. Straumann has seen his net worth decline to $708 million from about $1.18 billion two years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The stock has declined 69 percent from its 2007 peak as people hamstrung by the economic downturn delayed dental work like crowns and bridges, which are largely paid out-of-pocket.

Describing his financial situation, which could have been taken from the pages of any Irish mortgage holder, Mr. Straumann said “…until now I could juggle everything, but the economic environment has changed and demands that I am much more focused,”

Budgeting and budget planning are the primary keys to long-term financial well-being. Good preparation, long-term planning, forensic examination of detail and ongoing adjustments can provide the right foundation to weathering financial storms. This is true at every level, from families with mortgages to billionaires.

Into the future, access to credit will remain extremely difficult. Internal and external risk management requirements are forcing traditional credit institutions to remain extremely cautious. For those hoping to access credit, demonstrating a sound approach to money management will be as important as other traditionally important criteria such as employment and income.


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