Modest Millionaires


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A picture of Bill Gates recently went viral. It showed him standing in line at a local fast food restaurant patiently waiting for his burger and fries. The picture drew a lot of favorable comments on social media.

What made the picture go viral was the modesty it projected of one of the world’s wealthiest individuals. It defied the perception so many have of wealthy people.

Most would write off Bill Gates’ humility as an exception to the rule.

But is it?

Well, according to my Rich Habits Study, the only study of its kind, the answer depends on the type of millionaire you happen to be.

The self-made millionaires in my study who struck gold before the age of 40 (about 1%), were more likely to embrace the millionaire lifestyle by supersizing their lives with expensive homes, luxury cars, Rolex watches and exotic travel. Humility, unfortunately, is not a word I would use to describe them.

Conversely, the other 99% of my self-made millionaires took twenty years or more to accumulate their millions and these millionaires retained their humble ways throughout their millionaire years.

Most eschewed country clubs, golf course memberships, exotic vacations and expensive toys. They kept their homes, their old cars and their modest mindset. Old friends and neighbors didn’t change.

The only common “luxury” these millionaires seemed to indulge in was a vacation home.

Otherwise, their lives, to outside observers, is very ordinary. What some might call, a humble life.

My humble Rich Habits millionaires and Bill Gates are not an aberration, however. As you’ll see, there are many humble millionaires out there.

Warren Buffet lives a very ordinary, humble life for a billionaire. Besides the fact he’s lived in the same home for over 55 years and drives himself to work, he’s more than a littl frugal with his money. Every morning his significant other, Astrid, lays out the exact amount of money he needs to buy his morning breakfast – a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich (CNBC: Warren Buffett eats the same thing for breakfast every day and it never costs more than $3.17).

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, lives in a 2,400 square foot modest condo in Palo Alto, California. A self-professed “workaholic”, when Cook isn’t working, he spends the rest of his time working out (Inc: Tim Cook buys his department-store underwear on sale).

Buffy the Vampire actress, Sarah Michelle Gellar, is a self-professed, discount shopper. And, when she is not spending time with her family or acting, she’s volunteering at local, community-based charitable organizations.

Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots, invests 100% of his salary and spends his non-salary money very frugally. He claims the only luxury item he owns is diamond necklace he bought himself after the 2017 football season ended (CNBC: Rob Gronkowski, who hasn’t touched his NFL money in 8 years, finally splurged on his first ‘luxury’).

Billionaire, David Cheriton, was one of the early investors in Google. Despite his enormous wealth, he continues to teach at Stanford University, drives a modest car and cuts his own hair, to save money.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, lives in a $1,200 a month trailer park. He considers himself a minimalist and finds serenity in his simple, humble life.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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