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By   Sophia Ava    YEET MAGAZINE | Updated 0339 GMT (1239 HKT) May 16, 2022

Gérard Mulliez, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett or even Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA)... These billionaires are among the greatest fortunes on the planet, but they have a surprisingly simple lifestyle. Is this the secret of their success?

"I am a stingy by nature". Gérard Mulliez, the founder of Auchan, may well be with his family the greatest fortune in France, he does not really give the impression of being at the head of a heritage estimated at more than 20 billion euros. No security service, a grandfather's look and above all a very simple lifestyle. A far cry from the jet set, yachts, private jets and stately homes all over the world. If it weren't for his bank account, Gérard Mulliez would pass for Monsieur Tout-le-monde.

A frugality that is proverbial in the retail sector. Sam Walton, the founder of the American giant Wal-Mart, thus boasted of having flown only once in his life in first class and scolded the way of life of his overpaid big bosses according to him. "The habits of these people really bother me," he wrote in his biography , "and it's one of the things that's most wrong with corporate America today.

But it's not just these big names in distribution who have opted for this way of life. From Ortega (Zara) to Buffett via Kamprad (IKEA) and Zuckerberg (Facebook), many billionaires do not give in to the outward sign of wealth. These big capitalists - who cultivate the art of secrecy for the most part - did not want to change their habits despite their fortune.

No way to make them saints. Some are so reluctant to spend that they prefer to go into exile in countries with more lenient taxation... Nevertheless, their speech contrasts in these times. "In my family, we have always recommended that the maximum salary be 20 minimum wage [350,000 dollars gross per year] and we stick to this rule at Auchan, Mulliez explained in September . No leader should have more than that. It is already a lot."

Review of 7 billionaires who have kept their feet on the ground:

Gérard Mulliez (Auchan), 23 billion euros, always travels in second

The man who is arguing with Bernard Arnault for the title of greatest fortune in France certainly does not have the same lifestyle as the boss of LVMH. No yacht, private jet or villa in Saint-Tropez for the founder of this retail empire (Auchan, Decathlon, Leroy-Merlin, Boulanger, Kiabi...).

Gérard Mulliez who described himself last September in YEET  as a "stingy by nature" does not have luxury tastes, far from it. "I travel second class, and until the birth of my third child, before buying land and building a house there, I was camping every summer in the south of France", explains the man whose fortune is estimated by Challenges to 23 billion dollars.

On a daily basis too, Gérard Mulliez is sober. He assures that he goes around his house to turn off the lights, does the dishes himself (especially when there are guests) and insisted back in 2012 that he only has "an 11-year-old Mercedes, a house in Croix and a second home in the South". Same sobriety with passing guests. Journalists, for example, who travel to meet the patriarch are generally not invited to lunch and if so, it is at the Flunch opposite the headquarters.

$60 billion Warren Buffett has lived in the same house since 1958

The current third richest man in the world is known to be the American billionaire with the simplest lifestyle. Originally from Omaha in Nebraska, Warren Buffett still lives in the same house bought for 31,500 dollars in 1958. A comfortable residence (5 bedrooms) but light years away from the golden palaces of the oil kings of the Gulf, for example.

The founder of the Berkshire Hathaway fund claims not to have a mobile phone and does not have a computer in his office. Nor is he a regular at starred restaurants. The man swears by Coke (he drinks 5 a day) and Cheetos chips. In short, a very "average American" way of life of which he is proud. On his license plate, he even had the word "THRIFTY" (thrifty) written on it,from him.

Amancio Ortega (Inditex- Zara), 67 billion dollars, eats every lunch in the cafeteria with his employees

The Spaniard who opened a small workshop making pajamas in 1963 in La Coruña created Zara in 1975. He is today at the head of a textile empire valued at 83 billion euros. But the man does not play the stars so far.

Very discreet, he never grants an interview to the press and barely a handful of photos of him are known. He still lives in an apartment in La Coruna, frequents the café downstairs and eats lunch with his Zara employees in the company cafeteria. At work, he always wears the same uniform: a blue blazer over a white shirt with gray pants. Ready-to-wear of course, no big designer label. His only luxury all the same: a private jet that he offered himself for 45 million dollars. But the Spanish billionaire assures that

Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA), 35 billion dollars, rides an old Volvo and takes the bus

Born in 1926 in the south of Sweden, the founder of IKEA comes from a very modest background (he sold matches and Christmas decorations in his youth). In 1943, he created IKEA (acronym for Ingvar Kamprad - Elmtaryd (his native farm) and Agunnaryd (his village)) which has since become a giant in the distribution of furniture.

Also very discreet, Ingvar Kamprad is often described as a "stingy" in the Swedish press (he was a Swiss citizen from 1976 to 2013 in order to avoid paying taxes in his native country...). If Kamprad may have had some luxury habits at the start of his career (he drove a Porsche in the 1960s), this is no longer the case today. He drives an ageless Volvo, takes the bus regularly and is now 89,and shop at the local supermarket.

Carlos Slim Helu (Mexican telecom magnate), $48 billion, has lived in the same apartment in Mexico City for 40 years

No private jet, no yacht for Mexico's greatest fortune. The man who created a telecom empire (Telmex, Grupo Carso) and whose companies would represent between 2 and 3% of the Mexican GDP prefers to reinvest his money rather than to spend it, he explained to Reuters in 2006. Carlos Slim Helu drives his old Mercedes to the office himself and has lived in Mexico City in the same 6-bedroom apartment for 40 years. A place in which he cooks himself for his grandchildren who visit him, can we read in the Telegraph.

At work too, he favors sobriety and has had this sentence included in a manual for his employees: "We must maintain austerity in times of prosperity (in these times when the cow is full of milk)". Slim Helu concedes two costly passions: art and Cuban cigars. He bought a mansion on 5th Avenue in New York but never goes there and put it up for sale in 2015.

Azim Premji (computer services), 16.5 billion dollars, flies in eco and drives in Skoda

Aziz Premji is a bit like the Indian Jean-Marie Messier. Like J2M with Générale des eaux transformed into a media group, Premji made Western Indian Vegetable Products (a company that made soap and oil) an IT services giant (Wipro). The 70-year-old Indian, who today weighs more than 16 billion dollars, is far from having the lifestyle that goes with his fortune.

By plane, he sits in economy class (for international flights, he would allow himself business from time to time) and his cars are very commonplace (long a Ford Escort and now a Skoda Laura). At the office, he is compared to Uncle Scrooge since he monitors the use of toilet paper and lectures his employees who do not turn off the light.

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), 44 billion dollars, wears only T-shirts and rides a Golf

It is sure, the creator of Facebook is not very jet-set. Mark Zuckerberg, who entered the top 10 richest people in the world in 2015, does not make headlines for his escapades in luxury hotels. Like Steve Jobs, he wears the same outfit every day: a t-shirt, jeans and a sweatshirt when it's cold.

Not really the golden-boy style master of the world like his comrade Elon Musk. The latter had thus offered a McLaren F1 (the most expensive car in the world) after having made a fortune at Paypal. Zuckerberg, he rides a Golf and lives in a comfortable (but not luxurious) house in Palo Alto   bought in 2012. The 37-year-old who has  a daughter with his wife Priscilla Chan is indulging in a few luxuries: he stayed in 5-star hotels during his honeymoon in Rome, but he went to McDo lunch after his visit to the Vatican.