Every once in a while when I’m sitting in my apartment and feeling particularly good about myself I decide that I need to get hit by a reality check: I fire up the old computer and take a look at just how crazily the well-off actually live; mansions, jets, boats, and fancy cars, are just a few of the things you’ll find when looking at the lifestyle of our wealthy neighbors. Their accomplishments in the business world have afforded them the luxury of going where they please, and driving whatever vehicle catches their fancy: and there are some pretty fancy vehicles out there, just look at the $4.8 million Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita.
If you want to feel insignificant then all you have to do is look at the wealthiest people alive, and you’ll be treated with a brand new idea of what it means to truly travel in style. Not every multi billionaire takes a sports car to work, however, and it might surprise you to find that a few of the wealthiest people around actually drive quite humble. But what exactly are the largest financial forces in the world driving to work? Here are the top 10 wealthiest people on the planet, and the chariots that they call their own.
Bernard Arnault, BMW 7-Series
Bernard Arnault finished a degree in engineering and then joined his father’s company in 1971, where after five years he made a bold case for liquidating the division of the company responsible for construction and focusing the company instead on Real-Estate; in only eight years he surpassed his father as the president of the company, and immediately started to acquire other companies. In 1987 “LVMH” was created and would serve as the conglomerate company that all of the businesses that Bernard acquired would run under.
LVMH is now a multi-billion dollar company that deals with the production of hundreds of luxury brands, and it has allowed 66 year old Bernard Arnault to spend his acquired 38 billion dollars on his greatest passion: art. Barnard has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in acquiring art and creating foundations that both reward accomplished artists and assist aspiring artists in continuing school to hone their craft. Arnault may not love cars as much as art but he still travels in relative style: his 85,000 dollar BMW certainly gets him from place to place in style.
Liliane Bettencourt, Mercedes C-Class Coupe
Liliane Bettencourt is the second wealthiest woman in the entire world, and has a current net worth of 40.1 billion dollars; she is the principal shareholder of “L’Oréal,” the leading producer of quality hair and skin products in the world. Liliane is originally from Paris, France, and entered her father’s shampoo business at only 15 years of age. When Bettencourt’s father tragically passed away in 1957 she inherited the company fortune, and became the primary shareholder for the L’Oréal name, serving on the board of directors until 2012.
Bettencourt avoids the media as much as possible because of scrutiny regarding possible funding to French politicians, so she is living out the remainder of her life on private islands and heavily secured mansion getaways. If you want to travel like Liliane does it’s actually not that difficult; despite being one of the wealthiest people in the world, Liliane travels around quite modestly: she rides in a C-Class Coupe which goes for about 40,000 dollars: I suppose at her age the sight of a luxury vehicle makes her bones start to ache.
Jim Walton, 53’ Nash Healey
Jim Walton (also known by James Carr) is a man of the “Classics,” and his ride certainly reflects it! With his net worth of 40.6 billion dollars Mr. Walton certainly doesn’t have to drive anywhere, but when he does drive for pleasure, he and his wife elect to do so in a car that he remembers fondly from his youth. Jim Walton is the son of Sam Walton, the co-founder of Wal-Mart, and with his still-protected shares his fortune isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Jim has been on Wal-Mart’s board of directors since 2005, and he actively serves on the company’s strategic planning and finance committees which delegates both how and when Wal-Mart expands, budgeting, and in what ways Wal-Mart will adapt to the changing markets. Jim’s Nash Healey is not only a beautiful car but even after years of use it’s still practically brand new: he has only placed around 10,000 miles on the car, since most of the time he prefers to fly. If I had 40 billion dollars I would fly too, although my vehicle of choice would be some kind of space shuttle that runs on money.
Christy Walton, 2011 Ford F150
Christy Ruth Walton is the widow of John Walton, who was one of the leading shareholders in the Wal-Mart company. Her fortune was divided up into her family so that they wouldn’t have to worry about financial burdens. Christy is the largest female philanthropist in the world, donating several million towards charitable causes she supports, but I suppose it’s much easier to part with your money when you weren’t involved in having to acquire it. Christy is currently 60 years old, so for the most part she figures the best thing she can do with her fortune is help as many people as she can.
Christy is still making money from Wal-Mart, but she also has another income source from “First Solar” which is a solar panel company that her husband had heavily invested into, so her family will be set for life for the next several generations. When Christy became one of the richest women in the world, she decided to keep the truck she had always driven in an effort to not let money change her, so this female billionaire is driving a truck that only costs around 25,000 dollars. I guess if you piss her off on the road she won’t have to hesitate before running you over!
David Koch, G.T. 500 Mustang
David H. Koch is the co-owner of “Koch Industries” alongside his brother, Charles Koch. Koch Industries is a conglomerate with several subsidiaries, and mainly deals with the refinement and distribution of base materials like minerals, fertilizers, paper, pulp, chemicals, some metals, and petroleum. Koch Industries makes about 115 billion dollars in revenue each year, making it the second largest privately owned company in the United States; it was originally formed by the brother’s father in 1940 who pioneered an oil refining process that would change the foundation of the industry.
David and his brother both own 42% of Koch Industries each, and have about 41.2 billion dollars each, but Charles is very conservative about being seen, and is incredibly difficult to interview. The two brothers share a love for G.T. vehicles, and the two often travel together in David’s G.T. 500 Mustang which costs around 65,000 dollars: a paltry amount for two of the wealthiest men in the world. David has said that Koch Industries will never go public as long as he has a say, but judging by how much money it makes I doubt anyone involved is opposed to that decision: G.T. 500s for everybody!
Larry Ellison – Aluminum Cobra
Larry Ellison is the chief executive officer of the “Oracle Corporation,” a position which has helped him to amount an incredible 56.2 billion dollars. Oracle is one of the primary companies that assists most other companies in running: providing both hardware and software catered towards managing everything from databases and resource planning, to supply chain management; if you are a large company then chances are that in some part of your company you are utilizing an Oracle product. The only thing that Larry Ellison loves more than money is cars.
Ellison has a taste for the lavish and the unique, so it’s not unusual to see Ellison driving a new car every week; his current ride is a breath taking aluminum cobra that would run you nothing less than 300,000 dollars. The aluminum cobra also has the added effect of aggravating anyone who has to drive next to it on the road, since its incredibly polished body is perfect for reflecting light into you and your family’s face. When Ellison isn’t driving a “hate me-mobile” he can also be found flying in one of his two military jets that he is actually licensed to operate.
Amancio Ortega – Audi A8
Amancio Ortega Gaona has a whopping 68.1 billion dollars to his name and an additional 3 billion dollars in combined assets. Currently Gaona lives with his second wife in Spain, which means that somewhere in the world is an ex wife who is incredibly unhappy. Gaona likes to keep under the radar, which is why there were actually no pictures of him until 1999, which serves as testament to his modest and simple lifestyle. Amancio is the co-founder of the Inditex group which is responsible for many of the clothing and furnishing base materials sent around the world.
Amancio did what we all wish we could do in 2011: he retired, although he did so a few billion dollars after most of us would have already tapped out. Despite living a simple life Amancio is no stranger to spending his money on his own happiness, and he purchased an Audi A8 to help him navigate around the streets of Galicia; the A8 is a beautiful luxury car that will set you back around 90,000 dollars (don’t worry about the price, the fuel efficiency is great).
Warren Buffet, 2014 Cadillac XTS
Everyone knows Warren Buffets as one of the most successful investors to ever live. Buffet’s primary claim to fame (aside from having 67 billion dollars) is as the chairman, CEO, and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway, which Buffet Claims was the largest financial blunder of his life: a mistake he claims cost him around 200 billion dollars of compounded interest had he invested elsewhere. Buffet has the soundest investment record of all time, including IBM, Dairy Queen, Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo, DirectTV, John Deere, American Express, Coke, and more, which have all greatly contributed to his immense riches.
One of the most notable things about Buffet is his continued frugality despite his wealth, and a commitment to donate 99% of his assets to charitable causes, especially through the “Gates Foundation.” Because of Buffet’s continued commitment to live a modest lifestyle his car is selected with safety and smoothness in mind first and foremost, and he commonly will trade out his car after it has seen a moderate amount of use; currently Buffet is driving a 2014 Cadillac XTS, which will run you about 45,000 dollars in the current market. I hope that one day I can be half as modest as Buffet is, because if I cared about safety and had 67 billion dollars I’d be driving a street legal tank!
Carlos Slim Helu, Bentley Continental Flying Spur
Carlos Slim is a rather ironic name for a man with a big body and a fat bank account, but I think after you generate 66 billion dollars in wealth you stop caring what I think. Despite having less money than Warren Buffet at this exact second, Carlos was listed as the richest man in the world over the past three years, and he has a tendency to spend a little more than his American counterpart (so his assets more than make up for it.) Something that is insane to think about is that Carlos Slim’s net worth is equivalent to around six percent of Mexico’s entire gross domestic product, which means that Slim is nearly one tenth of an entire Country on his own.
Slim is in charge of an incredibly large empire, is responsible for more than 40% of all the listings on the stock exchange, and his wealth was built through “Grupo Carso,” his conglomerate company that deals with just about every industry out there: telecommunications, health, sports, retail, and anything else you can think of. Despite being able to have any vehicle of his choosing, Slim has decided that the vehicle which captures his heart the most is a 200,000 dollars Bentley Flying Spur, which may not be the flashiest car out there, but it more than makes up for it with its classy feel.
Bill Gates, Ford Escape
Alas, the listing we have all been waiting for: Bill Gates himself! Gates is like a living legend because the majority of the corporate world runs on the lifeblood of his company. Gates has a current net worth of over 80 billion dollars and is a member of “Berkshire Hathaway.” After Bill got married in 1994 he and his wife started a charitable organization in 2000 where (after stepping down from Microsoft) they began directing their immense earnings in an effort to do some good in the world.
Gates tries his absolute best to put his fortune to good use, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a little fun as well; he owns a 330 million dollar yacht and vacation homes that he visits annually! Bill likes to try different things, and cars are certainly no exception; he has an enormous 23 car garage packed onto his home, and has filled it with sports cars and exotic designs. But what beauty has Bill’s heart in a whirl now? A rather sleek ford escape which would run you around 25,000 dollars: he says he likes the space and simplicity of it. All right, Bill… if you like simplicity so much then why did you give me Windows Vista?