Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eccentric Thrifty Ways of The World’s Billionaires

 Mark Zuckerberg just bought his own home.  Nice.  $7 million dollars.  Too expensive… if you’re an ordinary Joe.  But the 26-year-old Facebook founder is valued at $13.5 billion. 

Even with the traditional, age-old, father of all budgeting strategies of partitioning 30% each of one’s income on food, clothing and shelter with the remaining 10% for savings one multi-billionaire’s own, very first  home at  $7 million seems a little off-calculatedly cheap.
Then again, Zuckerberg and many billionaires like him, though separated by age and nationalities, all hold the same humble principle.  Though many frugal living tips have been printed since time immemorial these accomplished and wealthy people all believe in the same principle:  if the people who made them rich, their customers who mostly belong to the middle class, cannot afford anything of what sorts they, the very rich of the rich, won’t buy it.
Here are some of the world’s richest and how frugally brow-raising eccentric they are.  They’re rich, successful yet simple.  Each one an inspiration and a definite wake up call to people who are always at wits end to make both ends meet.
 Warren Buffett – a most admired American investor worth $50 billion. 
Still lives in his modest Nebraska home which he bought in the 1950s for $31,500. 
Replaced his six-year-old Lincoln Town Car for a 2006 Cadillac DTS.
Prefers to eat hamburgers.
Chooses soft drink over wine.
Bought his second wife’s wedding ring from his own shop and asked for a staff discount.

 Ingvar Kamprad – a Swedish founder of Ikea, an international home products company that designs and sells read-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories and is the world’s largest furniture retailer.  He is worth $31 billion.
Flies economy.
Drives a 1993 Volvo.
Often dines at lower-tier restaurants.
Furnishes his home with his own Ikea’s affordable merchandise.
Known for dumping his barber when he found one that would cut his hair for $13.
Known also for buying his food in the afternoon because this is the time when prices of food drops.
Quoted on why he lives a cheap lifestyle, “If I start to acquire luxurious things, it will only incite customers to follow suit.  I look at the money I’m about to spend on myself and ask if Ikea’s customers could afford it.”

 Jim C. Walton – an American heir of Wal-Mart worth $23.4 billion.
Prefers pickups to sports cars.
Drives a 15-year-old Dodge Dakota.

 Azim Premji – an Indian scion of a cooking-oil business who is $12.7 billion in assets.
Drove a Ford Escort for eight years before buying a new Toyota Corolla.
Usually walks to work.
Stays at budget hotels.
Wears unbranded shirts.
Flies economy.

 Frederik Meijer – an American worth $2.5 billion.  Together with his father they launched the first “one-stop shopping” concept via their Meijer Grocery that was renamed Meijer Thrifty Acres.
Drives cars with high gas mileage.
Wears inexpensive suits bought from his stores.
Stays in cheap motels.

 John Caudwell – an Englishman worth $2.3 billion who just sold his 85% stake in the cellphone business Caudwell Group.
Used to go to work on a bike riding all 14 miles.
Cuts his own hair.
Buys his clothes at the British affordable retailer Marks and Spencer.
Drinks cheap wine.

 David Cheriton – a Canadian worth $1.6 billion.  He owns a large chunk of Google stock
Prefers riding his bike.
Drives a 1986 Volkswagen camper.
Flies commercial.
Cuts his hair.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kate MIddleton's Wedding Dress in Par with William's Royal Cousins'

 It’s disconcerting.  Bold ones out there wouldn’t care if reports are saying that Kate Middleton’s wedding dress didn’t disappoint.  What on earth are they saying?  It was the most disappointing clothing ensemble the former Miss Middleton ever showed us that left many open-jawed in a major historical, disappointing way.

It’s not that the Sarah Burton creation, of the Alexander McQueen label, was bad.  It wasn’t.  It’s just not that in the same level in the impact department that Kate’s Middleton’s engagement dress created.  That Issa blue engagement dress was a class with a smash that made the uneducated aware what a classic dress looks like.

Rumors of Kate wanting a blend of tradition and modernity on her wedding dress coupled with the trademark Alexander McQueen vision turned out bad.  Royals wanting something usually means they get everything.  Kate’s combination of wishes, visions and hopes for her wedding dress didn’t work.  Her dress was a class alright but it is without that smash the whole world was expecting.  It was boring.
 Her sister, who is her Honorary Bridesmaid, Pippa Middleton’s dress turned out nicer though Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen also created this.  Pippa’s dress was a heavy, ivory satin-based crepe with a cowl front with the same button detail and lace trims as that of Kate’s. 

Probably without the pressure to make a big bang on that day Pippa Middleton just left everything to Sarah Burton.  Nice, smashing decision.  Pippa’s dress was a class with a smash and a modern classic.  This is the Alexander McQueen vision serving Kate’s younger sister well.  Though absence of rumours of Pippa working closely with Sarah Burton hadn’t come up yet it is conclusive that Kate Middleton’s working close with the creative director of Alexander McQueen in the making of her wedding dress did it for her.  Royal followers know how many artistically related jobs Kate was rumoured to have applied in, during the 10 years she was a girlfriend-in-waiting and a live-in  girlfriend of Prince William, which she only managed to stay with only for a while for some unknown reasons.

 The only thing that could stand on its own in Kate’s wedding dress ensemble is her lace top.  Really, really disappointing.  Imagine that wedding dress without that lace top and you get the disappointment I mean.

The new Duchess of Cambridge’s veil is of soft, ivory silk tulle with a trim of hand-embroidered flowers made by the Royal School of Needlework (definitely keeping up with the royals’ duties of being walking advertisements of buying British).

This veil was held in place by a Cartier ‘halo’ tiara lent by the Queen.  Her train is over six feet and the outstanding piece of sleeves made of lace is long and cut in a low V in front.  Though the future queen’s dress is made with ivory white satin gazar with its skirt echoing an opening flower with white satin gazar arches and pleats and its satin bodice narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips drawing on the Victorian tradition of corsets it just didn’t have the impact it should.

This boring royal wedding dress naturally comes to mind William’s cousins.  In recent years the House of Windsor saw William’s contemporaries going down the aisle.  Some of them took on the name of humble commoners while some of them took also unlikely commoners and brought them into the royal fold.

Kate should’ve learned a lesson or two from these royal-born and royally married wives:  just be the undeniable well-bred self that their name naturally moulded them to become or what their royal husbands definitely found in them and everything – beautiful wedding dress with a smashing appeal and lasting beautiful look would fall into place.  There’s no need to work on mixing tradition and modernity with an artistic vision of a designer.

 Here are the gowns William’s royal cousins’ wives and cousins-in-law wore to the altar.  They definitely came from humbler designers compared to Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen but some of them surely had that punch that no wedding dress, even if someone marrying off to the conservative British royal family, should lack.  

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