Sometimes it’s hard not to believe that life would be so much better if we had unlimited funds. Those student and credit card loans would be paid off in just an instant instead of over the course of months or years and a sun-soaked vacation would be available at the drop of a hat. We all dream of that “pie in the sky” goal of someday making millions and never having to work another day in our lives. While it may be fun to dream, it’s incredibly difficult to achieve financial stability to the point where one is taking home millions. It can only come from hard work, extraordinary luck, or – more likely – a combination of both. But once we make that large amount of money, what’s next? It seems that celebrities are sucked into a life of limitless luxury, which often leads to a bitter downfall.
Too often we hear of stories of stars making millions, only to lose it all from living well beyond their considerable means whether through gambling, poor investments, or simply spending too much money, sometimes these enviably rich people only get a taste of the high life before returning to a life of less-than-stellar standards. Just because one has a lot of money, does that mean an automatic and impossible-to-turn-down invitation to live the high life? Or can a life of responsibility and modest means still be possible when financial means are tempting you to live an extravagant lifestyle?
The people on the following list avoided the high life, despite their enviable status. Even though some of these people make millions or even billions of dollars, they still live like they’re making the average income. They don’t throw their money into expensive parties or trips: Instead, they seem to save their money and follow a more frugal lifestyle that would put any penny pincher to shame. These ten rich and successful people run no risk of losing it all, as they’re prudently preserving their considerable fortunes.
10. Sarah Michelle Gellar – $15 million
Can you picture Buffy the Vampire Slayer sitting at the kitchen table clipping coupons? That’s exactly what actress Sarah Michelle Gellar does. She’s always looking for the latest sales and anything else that can help her save some money. When she isn’t working, she’s volunteering and donating money to charities like Habitat for Humanity. It’s safe to say that Gellar has maintained a level head when it comes to her finances, and credits her mother for teaching her how to save and spend her money wisely.
9. Sarah Jessica Parker – $90 million
Sarah Jessica Parker came from a background of relative poverty, living on welfare with her family of eight. It seems that the past still haunts Parker, as she lives very modestly even though she reached the pinnacle of Hollywood success as Carrie Bradshaw in HBO’s “Sex and the City”. She rarely makes exotic purchases and dresses her children in hand-me-downs. It seems that Parker lives the opposite life of her famous character, even though she got to keep many of the designer clothes she wore on set.
8. Tyra Banks – $90 million
Tyra Banks is well known by her friends and family to be frugal. She even has an accountant who she consults with before she makes purchases. Banks has been known to use leftovers in dishes the next day, and collects soaps and shampoos from hotels so she can use them at home. She also doesn’t go out to expensive restaurants and, reportedly, places like The Cheesecake Factory are about as extravagant as it gets for her.
7. Jay Leno – $350 million
While Jay Leno was one of the most successful late night hosts in television history, he hasn’t forgotten what life was like when he was young and working two jobs just to get by. Believe it or not, Leno actually put away his money from “The Tonight Show” into savings, and only spends the money that he earns from doing his stand up comedy routine. He invests some of his savings into exotic and antique cars – the only extravagant purchase he habitually makes.
6. Tim Cook – $400 million
Tim Cook is the current CEO of Apple, Inc. and even though he’s making millions, he currently lives in a very modest condominium. You won’t see Cook traveling to exotic countries on the weekends or flying in a private jet for himself. In fact, he’s outspoken against the extravagant lifestyle and swears that it’s work ethic that makes you successful, not a paycheck. Cook is very proud of his work ethic and uses that as his motivation to continue working hard.
5. Alexander Lebedev – $1.1 billion
Alexander Lebedev’s net worth is estimated at about $1.1 billion. In 2012, he dropped off of the Forbes rich list, and was probably one of the first people to express relief over this fact. His income fell by around 57%, but he was not phased at all about the drop. In fact, when he’s not actively involved in improving the state of social justice in Russia, he is donating part of his wealth to help improve the lives of the Russian people.
4. David Cheriton – $3 billion
David Cheriton is known as “Professor Billionaire”, and despite attaining massive wealth from investing in Google, initially a project by two of his graduate students (Larry Page and Sergey Brin), he still lives in the same home he’s been in for 30 years in Palo Alto. He also still lectures in the computer science department at Stanford University. Cheriton cuts his own hair and drives a 2002 Honda Odyssey. Upon looking at Cheriton, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between him and any middle class university worker.
3. Ingvar Kamprad – $4.1 billion
Ingvar Kamprad is famous for being the founder of IKEA, which has been furnishing college dorms and young adults for years. While he may have created an empire with his store, Kamprad is known to live a frugal lifestyle that makes many heads turn. He flies in coach, and he drives a modest car, which is actually an old Volvo. He even furnishes his home with IKEA products. Even though he has reached extraordinary wealth, Kamprad continues to live a humble lifestyle.
2. Chuck Feeney – $7.5 billion
While Chuck Feeney’s fortune is at about $7.5 billion, he has been so generous with his money that he estimates that his net worth is at about $2 million. This billionaire who co-founded the Duty-Free Shoppers Group grew up during the Great Depression, which may be the reason he lives so modestly – as he remembers what it was like to not have money. He doesn’t live an extravagant lifestyle and has a markedly down-to-earth personality. You probably wouldn’t even notice him in a crowd, walking down the street or taking public transit – which he does quite often.
1. Warren Buffett – $63 billion
Warren Buffet is one of the richest people in the world, but if you took a look at the way he lives in his personal life, you would think he was just another member of the middle class. The frugal billionaire still lives in the house he bought for about $30,000. Not only that, but he gives away much of his wealth, and he has promised a huge part of his estate to charity upon his death.
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