Habits of the World's Frugal BillionairesThere are valuable lessons to be learned from the spending habits of the ultra rich. The world's frugal billionaires did not get wealthy by driving modest cars. But some of their lifestyle choices may be able to tell us something about the attitudes that make and keep some people wealthy.
Next time you're sitting on the bus and dreaming of that hot new hot car (be it hammer!), take a look at the ordinary-looking older gentleman sitting next to you.
He could be Ingvar Kamprad pictured above, the founder of Ikea, who uses public transport frequently.
And when he's not catching the bus, Kamprad drives a 14-year-old Volvo 240 GL.
He's not the only billionaire with a modest taste in cars. Last year Warren Buffet, the world's most successful investor, auctioned his unpretentious 2001 Lincoln Town Car - with its famous ?THRIFTY? number plate - on eBay to benefit a charity. He replaced it with the middle-of-the-range Cadillac DTS.
More billionaires with modest cars: Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, drives a compact Toyota Prius, a green hybrid car, and Steve Ballmer, who succeeded Bill Gates as CEO of Microsoft, drives a 10-year-old Lincoln Continental.
These wealthy people did not get wealthy by driving modest cars. But their cars may tell us something about the attitudes that make and keep some people wealthy contrary to many people`s dream here who daydream of owning the hottest car in the market."Ikea people do not drive flashy cars or stay at luxury hotels."
In the first place, it's important to understand that it's not stinginess that dictates their choice of transport - even though any one of them could buy a Maserati or Rolls Royce without even looking at the price tag.
Buffet alone has given millions to charity, and encourages the shareholders of his Berkshire Hathaway Corporation to do the same,how much have you dished out as donations?or is it because you are not?NO! . Kamprad generously supports many philanthropic causes through IKEA, including UNICEF. Ballmer of Microsoft donated $10 million to Harvard University and when Brin and his partner listed Google, they gave 1% of the company's equity and profits to a new Google charitable foundation in perpetuity.
These men are not tightwads. But they certainly are careful about what they spend their money on. One thing all of our frugal billionaires do have in common is the fact that they know what's important to them, and a high status car is not one of those things forget about the ones who seem to entice us by driving the most sleek vehicles in town to the extend that municipals and city council are left wondering wether to tie the vehicle due failure by the owner to pay parking fee due to lack of loose money .
Most of the billionaires we've talked about had fairly modest backgrounds. Kamprad was a farmer's son from rural Sweden. Buffet's father was a middle class stock broker. The Brin family were penniless refugees from Russia and Ballmer's father worked for the Ford Motor Company for 30 years and was middle manager when he retired."From my (Russian) parents, I certainly learned to be frugal and to be happy without very many things. I still look at prices. I try to force myself to do this less, not to be so frugal. But I was raised being happy with not so much."
Buffet still lives in the home he purchased for $31,500 in 1958, which is not to say that all billionaires are so frugal. Mukesh Ambani, the world's 14th ranked billionaire, is currently building a 27-storey family home in Mumbai incorporating three levels of workshops and parking for his family's 128 imported cars. But it's the frugal rich who should interest us, since they, like ourselves, started with modest means - and to some degree, still choose to live the same way.
Frugal habits seem to be hard to shake off. Buffet, who would probably never go into debt except to borrow the capital to invest for even more profit, sent his daughter ?round to the Cadillac dealer to pay for his new mid-range car in cash. Brin tells how he still feels bad if he leaves food on his plate at meal times.