I just love people who pursue frugality for frugality’s sake … like it’s an end, rather than a means to an end.
Some of the world’s wealthiest people … also happen to be some of the most frugal.
- Despite having a net worth of $62 billion and being the world’s richest man, famously frugal investor Warren Buffett still lives in the same home he bought for nearly $31,500 some 50 years ago.
- John Caudwell used to ride his bike 14 miles to work everyday and cut his own hair because he didn’t want to be bothered going to the barber despite having amassed a fortune of over $2.2 billion. Caudwell also purchased all of his clothing off the rack at British retailer Marks & Spencer.
- Jim Walton, member of America’s richest family and Wal-Mart scion, reportedly drives a 14-year-old Dodge Dakota despite having a net worth of $16.4 billion.
- Retail Tycoon Frederik Meijer, worth $2 billion is known to drive cars with very high MPG and prefers to only stay in budget motels.
- Gene Burd, a 76-year-old journalism professor at the University of Texas has donated over a million dollars to financial foundations but walks 6 miles to work everyday, lives in a very tiny apartment, picks up pennies on the ground, and wears shoes that he found in the trash.
- Ingvar Kamprad built a $33 billion fortune after founding Ikea but the Swedish tycoon drives a 15-year-old Volvo, tries to avoid wearing suits, and flies coach. It’s also said (surprise, surprise) that Kamprad furnishes his home entirely with affordable Ikea furniture.
- Indian billionaire Azim Premji worth upwards of $17.1 billion drives a Toyota Corolla and stays in the company guesthouse rather than 5-star hotels when he’s traveling on business. At a lunch honoring his son’s wedding he even served the food on paper plates.
- We would be amiss to not mention some of the highest earning dead celebrities who are perhaps the most frugal of this list due to their inability to spend 🙂 For example, top earning dead musician, Kurt Cobain made about $50 million last year. Elvis Presley made $42 million despite having died in 1977 and, in third place, Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz earnings were about $35 million.
*About the author: This list was compiled by Lewis Bennett, writer for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) site.
I have a word to describe this kind of behavior: sick.
You need to ask yourself two questions:
1. Did these people become rich solely because they were frugal?
2. Is their current level of frugality sensible, given their net worth?
There’s no doubt in my mind that you will NOT become rich unless you learn how to delay gratification, but that is not the same as NO gratification. If you can afford to spend on a reasonable lifestyle and you choose not to, you MAY be just as ‘sick’ as the person who lives beyond their means and spends uncontrollably.
On the other hand, if you simply have no interest in the ‘trappings’ of life, that’s entirely a different matter … but, one then wonders why you bother with the whole “let’s get rich” thing, anyway?
But, here’s what I suspect really happens:
1. Some rich people are so driven by the process of making money that they never know when to stop … some take one step, one chance, one risk too many and lose their money, while others just keep going on and on and on, driving themselves – and, their families – to an early grave. There are exceptions of course: those like Warren Buffett who so enjoy what they are doing that they would be doing it even if they were not paid.
The ‘antidote’ is to work out your Life’s Purpose and if it’s to make money … then go until you drop! If not, pursue the financial path until you have acquired enough money to live your Life’s TRUE Purpose, then stop … and, live!
2. Some learn the lesson early that you need to delay gratification and live frugally if you want to avoid spending all the fruits of your labor (rather than reinvesting in your future) but become so driven by the process of saving money that they never know when to stop …
… in my opinion, there’s NO lesson to be learned from a multi-millionaire or billionaire who lives like a miser … other than they are great counterpoint to those billionaires who live overly and ridiculously flamboyantly.
To me the ‘right’ path is simple: live comfortably within your means … whether that is a $50k a year lifestyle or a $50 million a year sustainable one.