You might think that a billionaire and you have absolutely nothing in common; that their lives are completely different to yours and that there can’t possibly be anything you can incorporate from their lifestyles into yours. However, the reality is that almost all the top billionaires of today are mostly self-made; which means that at one point in their lives they were just like us. While not everyone strives to become immensely wealthy, all of us wish for some kind of financial independence to allow us to live freely without worrying about how to manage our bills and treat ourselves once in a while. The lives of billionaires, while on a completely different level to ours, definitely hold some practices and philosophies that we all could take a leaf out of for the betterment of our own lives.
Jeff Bezos was the world’s richest man for nearly a decade until very recently. Despite his unfathomable wealth, he started Amazon which is the world’s leading e-commerce platform from his garage back in 1994. He is still actively involved in Amazon but has his sights set on outer space, trying to make commercial space travel a reality. In his day-to-day life, however, Bezos likes to keep things simply. He wakes up early and goes to bed early, enjoying menial household tasks such as making breakfast or brewing coffee as well as doing the dishes afterwards. He prioritises his most important work between 10am and midday, leaving the afternoon for basic meetings and fraternising with his employees. His dinners are mostly centred around business but he makes sure to be in bed by 10.30pm.
Takeaways: a simple and straightforward routine, both at home and at work, will help manage the seemingly endless amount of work we have.
Elon Musk currently holds the title of the world’s richest man. As the founder of Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and many more, Musk deviates entirely from Bezos’s lifestyle of routines, compartmentalising and careful planning. Once Musk has decided he wants to achieve something, he will work day and night to reach his goal. He is forced to split his day between all his companies and manages this splitting his workday into 5 minute segments. Unlike Bezos, Musk frequently skips most meals and even sleeps on the production floor of his factories when his workload is high, averaging 80-100 hour workweeks. He is ruthlessly efficient and detests wasting time in unnecessary meetings, often walking out if he deems the meeting unimportant.
Takeaways: be brutally committed to achieving your goals; go full steam ahead and don’t let anything stand in the way - even something as simple as a meal.
Bernard Arnault is an icon in the fashion industry as the father of Louis Vuitton. He is also a business-savvy investor and art collector. At 71 years of age, he remains committed to his empire, making sure to visit at least 25 outlets every morning including those of his competitors, even going as far as personally arranging the products in the stores’ displays. At heart, he is an artist and keeps his creative senses unfettered by ensuring that he gets at least 7 hours of sleep every night and indulging in good books, music and art. Arnault cites Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett as sources of inspiration when it comes to work ethic.
Takeaway: once you start making money off of something you are good at, ensure that you don’t let your passion and drive dull; actively work to keep them alive.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is known as one of the most philanthropic people in the world, preferring to use his money for the betterment of the world. He has withdrawn from most of his commitments to Microsoft, focusing full-time on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which donates money to research and charitable organisations. In his daily life, he enjoys reading books, exercise and tennis, while keeping up with the news, especially those regarding public health policy. He prefers to work in 5 minute blocks (like Elon Musk) and carefully plans and records things through diligent note-taking.
Takeaways: give as much as you get - being charitable and helping others will never go wrong for you.
Mark Zuckerbeg is one of the newest entries to the world’s billionaire list, having made his fortune with the boom of social networking sites Facebook and Instagram. When having multiple companies and ventures to look into, Zuckerberg sets goals and eliminates any non-essential choices (he only wears gray t-shirts to reduce the time it takes to select an outfit) in his daily life to keep balance between home and work. He works a modest 50-60 hours a week, and prioritises his wife and two daughters, while enjoying exercising and traveling.
Takeaways: eliminate having to waste time on trivial decision-making to make your day more efficient
Often considered one of the greatest value investors of all time, Warren Buffett is definitely among the most frugal and low-key billionaires on this list. He is often cited as an inspiration and role model by many other billionaires, due to his approach to risk management and money-making. Buffett remains extremely down to earth, still living in the same house he did in 1958. His life is the epitome of simple. He enjoys eating McDonalds and drinking Coca Cola (he supposedly drinks 5 cans per day), while spending his free time reading and sleeping. He has said his secret to success is reading 500 pages per day.
Takeaways: you don’t need to show off your wealth to the world as long as you take time to enjoy the simple things
Larry Ellison is the founder of Oracle, a giant in the software industry. His is a true rags to riches story, having grown up extremely poor until he founded Oracle in 1977. Known for his aggressive and hyper-competitive spirit, this 77 year old is still committed to his business. Unlike other billionaires, Ellison does not rely on careful planning and schedules to keep himself motivated; his innate desire to win at all costs (he calls it an addiction to winning) keeps him going at all times. He prioritises learning constantly and keeps a tight rein over his company activities, having earned himself the title of a control freak. He is also a bit of a night owl, frequently ending his work days well past midnight when he was still at the helm of Oracle.
Takeaways: focus aggressively on building your future while you can; you can reap the benefits later
Larry Page is one of the co-founders of Google. He is a great example of “ doing what you love”. One of his philosophies in life is that “If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.” While he made his first billions through a Search Engine, his company, Alphabet, is now focused on using advanced technology in various applications, such as curing cancer. He adores revolutionary change while making sure to enjoy life. He knows that once you have decided what your goal is, it’s simply a matter of quickly making the right decisions to get there.
Takeaways: taking quick and smart decisions in life is crucial to keep moving forwards
Along with Larry Page, Sergey Brin is also a co-founder of Google. Being Jews, his family fled the USSR when he was just six years old. His parents instilled independence and creativity in him from a young age. Brin is a bona fide adrenaline junkie, having been obsessed with fitness from a young age. He is known to have a great sense of humour, having once dressed up as cow during a job interview.
Takeaways: make sure to keep some excitement in your daily life.
Mukesh Ambani is the richest man in all of Asia, being a business tycoon who made his wealth through his company, Reliance Industries. He is famed for his ostentatious tastes, such as his USD 111.9 million purchase of the IPL team Mumbai Indians, his gift of a USD 60 million Airbus to his wife and their legendary family home Antilia which is considered the largest and most expensive private residence in the world. However, Ambani remains traditionally South Asian at heart, being a strict vegetarian and teetotaler, still preferring to eat meals at small roadside shops. He is fiercely a family man, reserving Sundays for spending time with his wife and children. He is also extremely charitable and has also kept his income from his company capped at a certain amount.
Takeaways: don’t lose sight of your roots after you reach your goals
It must be said that billionaires, just like us, probably have bad habits of their own as well as a penchant for risk-taking and inherent cunning which has allowed them to become as successful as they are. Something that all the names on this list have had in common is that they never shied away from reaching their goals at all costs. So next time you have a business idea that you feel in your gut is the next big thing, take the risk and go for it! You can fund it using a bank loan; if a commercial bank does not share your same vision, don’t get discouraged - you can get an easy cash advance from a cash lending company like OnCredit.lk. This cash advance will allow you to dive into your new business venture without wasting any time.
While we should not try to emulate their daily behaviour or imitate all of their values, morals and principles, there is no denying that they are certainly doing something right when it comes to money and we could all do with a little bit more of that in our lives.