It’s common knowledge that billionaires lead lavish lives. Owning mansions, yachts, and jets is de rigueur. They earn so much money that they you would imagine that they don’t think twice before spending it. But there are several billionaires who, instead of incurring mindless expenditures, give generously to charities, start foundations, and live simple lives.
Here are 11 such billionaires whose inspire with their frugality:
1. Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway)
He is one of the wealthiest CEOs in the world who enjoys simple living. He still resides in $31,500 house that he purchased in 1958. He begins his day with a cheap meal from McDonald’s during his 5-minute drive to work. He rarely changes his cars and drives them for years. He also gives a large chunk of his earnings to charity and at one point, he even begged Washington DC to increase his taxes.
On owning a yacht, he once said, “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.”
2. Azim Premji (Wipro)
One of India’s richest men, Premji lives a frugal life. He has pledged half of his stake in Wipro to charity. He has ensured that minimum toilet paper rolls were used at Wipro offices and that employees always switched off the lights when leaving work. He is known to take auto-rickshaws from airports and doesn’t drive expensive cars.
He once said, “If you work hard and live simply, you will have little trouble with money.”
3. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
The founder of Zuckerberg lives a low-key life. For starters, he owns multiple versions of the same gray t-shirt that he wears to work rather than donning expensive suits. A strong believer in doing good for the world, the CEO also started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative with his wife, Priscilla Chan, with a focus on education and healthcare.
Ask him why he drives a modest car such as the Acura, and pat comes the reply – “Because it’s safe, comfortable, and not ostentatious.”
4. Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA)
Mr. IKEA is known to have always flown in economy class and driven a 15-year-old Volvo. His house in Switzerland is furnished with inexpensive IKEA items and heirlooms passed down over generations. People also claim that he and his wife often eat out at cheap restaurants and haggle over prices at the market.
Ingvar Kamprad once said, “I could regularly travel first class, but having money in abundance doesn’t seem like a good reason to waste it.”
5. Amancio Ortega (Zara)
The Zara tycoon lives with his wife in a discreet apartment building in La Coruña, Spain. His daily attire comprises of a blue blazer, white shirt and gray pants and none of it is from Zara. He always eats lunch with his employees in the Zara cafeteria. He frequents the same coffee shop and drives an Audi 8.
Ortega once said, “In the street, I only want to be recognised by my family, my friends, and the people I work with.”
6. Tim Cook (Apple)
An intensely guarded man, Cook loves spending time outdoors – he enjoys riding his bike and hiking in his free time. He begins work early and is generally one of the last ones to leave work as well. He also, like Ortega, often shares lunches with his employees in the cafeteria. He lives modestly in a 2,400-square-foot home in Palo Alto, which he purchased for $1.9 million in 2010.
He once said, “I like to be reminded of where I came from, and putting myself in modest surroundings helps me do that. Money is not a motivator for me.”
7. Carlos Slim Helu (América Móvil)
Helu is one of the world’s biggest self-made billionaires but he lives a simple life. His biggest goal in life is to help alleviate poverty and he has won numerous awards for his philanthropic work. He doesn’t own any yachts or planes. He has lived in the same six-bedroom house for 40 years. His only two big luxuries include owning Cuban cigars and collecting art.
He once said, “When you live for others’ opinions, you are dead. I don’t want to live thinking about how I’ll be remembered.”
8. Jim C. Walton (Arvest Bank)
Jim C. Walton walks in his father and Walmart founder, Sam Walton’s footsteps when it comes to leading a humble life. He reportedly used to drive a 15-year-old Dodge Dakota. He prefers pickup trucks to sports cars. He resides in a “a plain old brick building” where he runs his family’s personal wealth management company.
Walton’s father once said, “If we fail to live up to somebody’s hypothetical projection for what we should be doing, I don’t care.”
9. David Green (Hobby Lobby)
Green is big on philanthropy and spends most of his money on charitable causes. He was quoted as saying that he wanted to be remembered for his influence on people’s religion rather than his business. Green is one of the biggest individual donors toward evangelical causes in America. He works six days a week and believes that he has been blessed with success by God.
He once said, “If I die without food or without eternal salvation, I want to die without food.”
10. Chuck Feeney (The Atlantic Philanthropies)
Feeney is compassionate and modest in equal measure. He has always preferred to fly economy and carries his papers in a plastic bag. He believes that the best use of one’s money is to help people. He has also firmly shunned any public recognition for himself and his business.
He once said, “Give big now. Don’t wait until you’re old or, even worse, dead.”
11. Tony Hsieh (Zappos)
Hsieh sold his company to Microsoft and earned $265 million. But instead of living extravagantly, he decided to invest $350 million of his own money to build downtown Las Vegas into a technology hub. For him, money doesn’t matter. Erik Moore, an early Zappos investor, said that Hsieh would be happy with $1 in his bank if he is around people he cares about and who care about him.
Hsieh once said, “I made a list of the happiest periods in my life, and I realised that none of them involved money.”
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