How the world’s most modest billionaires live

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A T-shirt, an inexpensive car, an old house, work from morning till night and huge amounts of money for charity are such a bright image of our foreign billionaires. In terrible dreams. We have gathered some facts about the life of Western magnates, for whom the expensive attributes of superiority over others are not at all important.

How the world's most modest billionaires liveNot all billionaires are like Trump, who always behaved like a peacock boasting his own feathers. He exaggerated the size of his wealth and demonstrated to the world the “trophy” female models changing each other, the 90-meter yacht (which used to belong to the Sultan of Brunei) with gold taps, a personal plane with gold buckles of seat belts and other extravagant “evidence” that “Life is good.”

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Unfortunately, in the former USSR, the rich most often resemble Trump: the state is made up of dubious methods, there are no moral brakes, and wealth certainly must be shown off, otherwise there is no buzz from it. “Razderbaniv” in the “dashing” 90th total-state economy, these unwarranted inids were enriched beyond measure at the expense of the rest of the population, sharing “by concepts” with state managers of cuts and kickbacks. As a result, the latter were also included in the number of those 3% of Russians who, according to the Higher School of Economics and the Institute for Research and Expertise of Vnesheconombank, control 89% of all financial assets, 92% of term deposits and 89% of cash savings of the Russian Federation. Three percent who own almost everything love their villas,

Of course, the greed of Russian nouveau riche is not a unique phenomenon. Throughout the world, the gap between the rich and the poor is rapidly growing, the middle class is declining, and this is a matter of concern for economists and political scientists. So, in the USA, sociological studies show that since the 70s, 90% of the population has not grown incomes, but they have increased fourfold with heads of corporations.

At the same time, if 50 to 60 years ago, “fat cats”, as Americans call them, lived simply richly, then now they have clearly diminished their simplicity and modesty – they returned to the 19th century, when supercapitalists of the “first generation” made monstrous sizes state, not being held down either by anti-monopoly, nor by environmental protection, or by social legislation: there was nothing of this then. In Newport (Rhode Island), in New York and other places you can see the palaces of Astor, Vanderbilt, Rockefellers, Carnegie and other super-rich entrepreneurs of that time. But the current rich sometimes build for themselves breathtaking buildings in the exclusive suburbs of New York, Los Angeles, Miami.

However, we will talk about those rich people who live modestly, since they understand that “there are no pockets in the shroud”, as the Jewish saying goes, and that “social justice” is not empty words: it provides both high productivity and social stability. without which America can quickly become Haiti, Venezuela or Zimbabwe. Do you want to live in Zimbabwe instead of the USA? Not? Then you have to share with others, and not try to bite off the public pie more than you can swallow.

There are – or rather, sometimes there are – super-rich people who treat their wealth as the public domain that they have under their control (and not completely), which they must reasonably use in their personal interests and in the interests of other people. They are ready to contribute to reducing property inequality by voluntarily increasing their tax burden. They donate large sums to help the poor and the sick, to the needs of culture and education. They avoid the nouveau riche window dressing and lead a modest lifestyle.

States, measured by billions of dollars, can not be spent on themselves, so the owners of such wealth is pointless to be greedy, and smart people understand it. The 2153 billionaires that Forbes magazine has counted this year around the globe own a cumulative fortune of $ 8.7 trillion – more than two times more than the GDP of Germany, one of the richest countries in the world, where due to a GDP of $ 4 trillion live decently 83 million people.

Generous and modest – who are they?

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Internet giant Amazon, is the richest person in the world: his fortune is estimated at $ 131 billion. Bezos is the first multi-billionaire in history to cross the $ 100 billion mark. How does he spend his gigantic fortune?

He has real estate – in Washington state, where the silver medalist of the richest Bill Gates rating ($ 96.5 billion) lives in the city of Washington, on the other side of the country, where his neighbors include Barack and Michelle Obama. and Ivanka Trump (daughter of the current president). He also has a real estate estate in Manhattan and in fashionable Beverly Hills (Los Angeles).

Bezos donates a billion dollars a year to the “space tourism” project, which is implemented by Blue Origin. Every year, he also donates millions to charity, including to the benefit of educational institutions: his alma mater – Princeton University ($ 15 million), University of Washington ($ 2.7 million), etc.

But Bezos is not the most modest and not the most generous among the richest. According to these indicators, it is unequivocally overshadowed by Warren Buffett – the “bronze medalist” of the Forbes list and the “main investor of the planet” with a personal fortune of $ 82.5 billion.

In 1958, Buffett bought for $ 31,500 a five-bedroom house in the city of Omaha, Nebraska, where he lives to this day. This house, as Buffett once told investors of his company Berkshire Hathaway, gave him and his family a lot of wonderful memories, “and to be continued.” Buffett does not drive luxury cars with lively chauffeurs – he sits behind the wheel of a rather modest car – the Cadillac XTS, which costs $ 45,295. At leisure, he enjoys playing bridge and avoids chic tricks and glamorous gatherings of the rich and famous in every way.

In 2006, Buffett made a commitment to annually give all his shares in favor of charitable organizations – until the end of his life and another 10 years after his death. In 2010, he joined the initiative of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, setting an example to the rich people of the world, to sacrifice most of his fortune to solving the pressing problems facing humanity. Initially, 40 wealthy Americans followed their example, and today it’s already 170 billionaires and multimillionaires from 21 countries. In 2017 alone, Buffett sent $ 2.8 billion to charity, topping the list of the world’s most generous billionaires.

Another modest billionaire is Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook social network ($ 62.3 billion worth). He drives in an Acura car, which costs $ 30,000. Almost always wears jeans and a t-shirt, shod with sneakers or sandals. Nothing status, pretentious, glamorous.

He spends about 60 hours a week at work – at Facebook headquarters in the city of Palo Alto (Silicon Valley, near San Francisco). He has real estate – houses in Palo Alto and San Francisco worth $ 40 million. That’s it!

One of the richest people in the world is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim ($ 64 billion), the richest man in Mexico, the owner of America Movil, the largest mobile communications company in Latin America, and more than 200 companies. Like Buffett, he lives in a modest, long-bought house, avoids expensive computer toys and does not like to attend pompous events. He spends almost all his free time at home with children and grandchildren. He has no “trophy” wives-beauties – he was a widow in 1999 and has not married since. He drives his own car. He dresses much better than Zuckerberg, but his clothes are bought in the most ordinary stores.

“Modesty itself” – these words were highly applicable to Ingvar Kamprad, the Swedish billionaire and the founder of the international chain of furniture stores IKEA. At the time of Kamprad’s death in January 2018, his condition, according to estimates by Bloomberg, was $ 58.7 billion. With a multibillion-dollar fortune, he drove behind a wheel of a 1993 Volvo car and bought economy class tickets. He urged the employees of his company to use writing paper on both sides. He was an opponent of “status symbols,” that is, parading his wealth and influence. He donated half of his inheritance to the development of the sparsely populated northern province of Sweden – Norrland.

Rich good and bad

A number of researchers of the life of the rich states that many of them are concerned about how their monetary expenditures look in the eyes of others, and therefore try to live modestly or, at least, to hide “indiscreet” expenses. This is evidenced, in particular, by Rachel Sherman, a professor of sociology from New York, in his book “The Restraint from Wealth.” She interviewed 50 rich people for the book and writes that they care about what kind of example they are showing to others – all the more so that most Americans have a way of living beyond their means.

In another book written by Kevin Kwan, an American writer from Singapore, “Crazy Rich Asians”, the whole plot is built on the juxtaposition of “good rich” and “bad rich”. The latter, as it is easy to guess, are those who boast of their wealth, show it off and treat the “losers” with contempt.

However, more and more often, talk about wealth shifts from the modesty or indiscretion of moneybags to the legitimacy of their possessing unimaginable money due to the impoverishment of millions of other people. Senator Bernie Sanders, the future participant in the US 2020 presidential election, recently shamed Jeff Bezos for his astronomical condition, which is combined with the meager wages of workers at Amazon warehouses (so poor that they receive state poverty benefits) …

The Russian edition of Forbes magazine states, speaking of domestic billionaires: “Everyone who was at the top of the Forbes rating got rich at the expense of natural resources”. But natural resources lie in the depths of the country where not only these lucky people live, but also unknown “Ivanovs, Petrovs and Sidorovs”. Therefore, it would be fair to follow the example of Norway to pay the heads of natural monopolies not $ 50-70 million a year, but much less, and have more than a trillion in the National Welfare Fund of Russia, but more than a Norwegian. Norway is a country of only five million people …

But in Russia, a large number – a large one against the background of the modest wealth of a country whose economy is eight times smaller than the American one – are super-rich individuals who shock the whole world with extravagant antics, designed to show “toughness”.

But nobody admires this “toughness”. Nothing but bewilderment did not cause Americans to buy the Trump estate in Florida by the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $ 95 million, more than twice the real value of this property (Trump bought it only four years earlier for $ 40 million). I was not impressed – only negatively – and the purchase by the same Russian billionaire of the most expensive apartment in New York for $ 88 million – for his student daughter …

It is clear that no one decree Russia. But to compare yourself with others is very useful.

BETWEEN THERE  Among rich people, it is not only businessmen who differ in modesty. One of the very wealthy Hollywood stars, Sarah Jessica Parker (repeatedly awarded for her role in the cult television series “Sex and the City”), grew up in a poor family, where she had eight children and parents received social benefits. Having grown rich, she spends money very rationally: for example, she dressed her son in what passed from his cousins.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama (self-sufficient, regardless of her husband-president) buys clothes at reasonable prices – for example, one of her dresses from a ready-to-wear store cost $ 35. Many of her more expensive, fashionable outfits were presented to her by designers.

The star Hollywood couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis (born in the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi) give Christmas gifts to their children with just one gift – so as not to be spoiled. And the rest live very modestly.

Queen of Great Britain Elizabeth II, reigning from time immemorial, is also known for her zealousness. She asks the maintenance staff to turn off unnecessary lighting in Buckingham Palace.

The wife of the royal grandson, Prince William – Kate Middleton – in this regard meets the standards of Buckingham Palace. The Duchess of Cambridge often appears in the same dress several times, which is very rare among celebrities of her level. But Megan Markle, she is the Duchess of Sussex, the wife of Prince Harry, recklessly spends money on clothes, which, according to rumors, angered Her Majesty. Megan is an American, almost all of their country is made up of shopaholics, and more than two-thirds of GDP is made up of private consumption …

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