Just because someone has great wealth and a high net worth does not mean they all will walk around flaunting it. With many of today’s celebrities gravitating towards spiritual traditions from the far east, there has been an upsurge in minimalists who, quietly or loudly, live with very few material possessions to their name. It is not out of a dislike for the good things in life but out of a love for the simplicity of having little that many of them adopt this lifestyle.
Some of them have always lived this way, having experienced times of poverty that etched in them the value of living light. Others have come to adopt this kind of lifestyle as a result of realising that all the things in the world did not make them happy. At least one of the people who made the list discovered how much fun they had in giving their stuff away to friends, families and charities.
In a world where we are constantly encouraged to consume and buy things as status symbols there are a few who like to buck the trends. They like to show us that happiness can be found in alternate ways of living. Perhaps you can relate to this, perhaps you think they are crazy. Either way there is an intriguing psychology behind the attitude of minimalism that may rub off on more people as the years go by.
Jose Mujica – Net Worth $1.8 Million
You may not know his name but there are many in Uruguay who do know of Jose Mujica, he is their president. Known as the world’s poorest president this 79 year old refuses to buy into the trappings of power that so many politicians fall prey to. Rather than taking residence in the palace set aside for a man of his stature, he has chosen to live on his farm on the outskirts of Montevideo. He gives away 90% of his salary and lives on the rest of it, a meagre $814 per month. The only thing that even hints at his position is the placement of a couple of police officers at the end of his driveway. If you ask him though, he does not feel poor, refusing to believe that money buys happiness. He says he has everything he needs. He currently remains the incumbent president of this nation but he will be unable to run for office again this year.
Vincent Kartheiser – Net Worth $4 Million
Mad Men actor Vincent Kartheiser may be seen as mad by some people. He does not have a car, which is not too odd. What is odd is that he does not even own a toilet in his home and nobody has questioned as to what he uses instead. It would appear that in his time as a celebrity he has received many gifts from people in the industry, things he apparently had no use for. Rather than put them away in storage he started giving them to friends, charities or selling them for a few extra bucks here and there. He continues to unload unnecessary and frivolous possessions because he has come to love the act of giving to others.
Shailene Woodley – Net Worth $10 Million
Shailene Woodley is not only divergent onscreen, but offscreen too. Now that she has begun to acquire wealth, she has learned what being a homeowner entails and has decided to give her home to her grandmother. Because of how much she travels around she has chosen a life of minimalism, living with very few belongings, namely a cellphone, computer and suitcase. As she has become more in demand she has ended up traveling on the road more and enjoys spending time staying at the homes of friends and family. A few more years with blockbuster movies may change this, but currently she seems quite content with a life of less.
Zooey Deschanel – Net Worth $17 Million
Maybe Zooey Deschanel is the New Girl, or at least a role model for other girls. She is very good at managing her money it would seem, and by celebrity standards lives on a lot less money than some of her contemporaries. She makes $95,000 per month and has some nice investments, but her monthly expenses only come to $22,500. 40% of her assets are in bank accounts, 6.6% is given to charities each month and the rest is held up in stocks and investments. In her words, “I do try really hard to be normal.” She does have a nice size budget of $2,000 per month for clothes, but other than that she keeps things simple and easy to manage. Not bad for someone with a net worth in the millions.
Jamie Lee Curtis – Net Worth $35 Million
The actress Jamie Lee Curtis is quite transparent about the size of her wardrobe and experiments with what she calls clean living and placing “function over frivolity”. According to her there is not a day when something does not leave her Spanish-themed house in Santa Monica. She admits that she is a consumer but she consciously makes an effort to make sure there is not an overabundance of anything. Every year she will invest in four black dresses which she will wear in rotation, and she owns only one pair of blue jeans. In the past she wore jewellery, now she gives it away because she no longer wears it. As with many other consumer conscious celebrities, this is not something she has been practicing all her life, but she does consider it to be part of her evolution. After her struggles with addiction, which she is quite open about, she has wanted to make sure that she is as organized around the home as possible to allow for greater intimacy with her family.
Stewart Copeland – Net Worth $80 Million
Another musician to jump on the minimalism train is Stewart Copeland, drummer of the band Police. In his youth he pursued wealth with vigor, but he has learned that his acquisitions did not always provide him with the happiness that he desired. He has now chosen to live a more simple existence, enjoying one house and one car, a Jeep Cherokee. When it comes to watches, Swiss is out and Casio is in. His reason for this approach to life is that it provides him with just as much joy and less hassle and he can find happiness through his relationships with his wife and children.
Sarah Jessica Parker – Net Worth $90 Million
Sarah Jessica Parker grew up in a family that lived on welfare and she continued to live frugally in her adult years, despite her $90 million net worth. Whilst raising her children, she insisted that they wear hand-me-downs rather than the latest and greatest of clothing. In her words she wants to show him “what it means to owe your community something and that he is not entitled to the benefits of our hard work.” For someone who owns a fashion line this might seem odd, but her reasons for choosing to be frugal could help prevent entitlement in her son. She says that to this day she has a strange relationship with money and the fear of going broke and returning to the poor days of her childhood linger forever in the back of her mind. It hasn’t stopped her purchasing three rather nice holiday homes in the Hamptons. So when we say she is living with less it is in certain areas of life, but not all.
Robert Pattinson- Net Worth $100 Million
In Twilight, Robert Pattinson‘s character lived through many generations of humanity, enough time to gather up many material possessions. It would seem that the actor himself has chosen to live light. “I am not into comforts and stuff. I can kind of do without most things.” he declared in an interview with the press. According to him, the one way that he has splashed out in recent years was in purchasing a guitar. For someone who is the face of products, gizmos and gadgets it is quite a choice. He recently declared on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he is homeless, as his parents have taken over his small LA home.
David Karp – Net Worth $200 Million
David Karp is the 26 year old multi-millionaire founder of Tumblr who lives in a 1700 square foot loft space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Though it is a decent size space, it is what fills the space that makes it interesting, not a heck of a lot. His living room contains nothing but a sofa and a TV, he has no books and few clothes. He doesn’t understand why people want to fill their houses with stuff and is always looking to get rid of stuff himself. His reason for this simple living, freedom. In his words, it allows him to live like Jason Bourne or James Bond, he is free to be as mobile as he needs and wants to be. The only place he has broken his rule is in the acquisition of three motorbikes, but he believes they are much easier to maintain than cars and only allow for one back seat driver.
Warren Buffett – Net Worth $63 Billion
Though he may be an incredibly rich individual, Buffett has chosen to live a very simple existence. He does not spend excessively, he does not buy the latest and greatest technology and does not even have a cell phone of his own. In his words “Most toys are a pain in the neck.” A good deal of the money that he acquires through his business ventures is given to charities. He feels no need to compare himself to others of wealth. In his words: “I just naturally want to do things that make sense. In my personal life too, I don’t care what other rich people are doing. I don’t want a 405 foot boat just because someone else has a 400 foot boat.” He has lived in the same home since 1958 and at its last assessment it was valued at $700,000. In July of this year he upgraded his car, turning his old one in for a brand new Subaru. Not bad for someone who has billions at his disposal.