Finish this sentence: “If I had a billion dollars, I’d drive a ______.” Did you say Lamborghini, Rolls Royce or Ferrari? Why not? With that kind of money, you could certainly afford to buy expensive, luxury vehicles. That said, it may surprise you to hear that some people who can afford any car they want are driving around in average, affordable vehicles.
A recent survey among the world’s millionaires and billionaires uncovered the remarkable truth about the type of cars they drive. In spite of their enormous bank balances, a number of very wealthy folks still drive cheap cars. Next time you are in Silicon Valley, for example, you could be sitting in traffic behind a zippy, little Acura TSX with Mark Zuckerberg at the wheel.
Although the Acura is considered a luxury brand for many of us, it’s a very modest car for one of the world’s richest people, with an estimated net worth of over $86 billion. So, is Zuckerberg the exception to the rule?
Big Names, Average Cars
As it turns out, he is in good company when you consider that the majority of the 10 richest people in the world drive inexpensive cars. Forbes has named Alice Walton, heiress to the Walmart dynasty built by her father and uncle, the wealthiest woman in the world. In keeping with her reputation of being as down-to-earth as the folks who patronize the store behind her fortune, she drives a 2006 Ford F-150.
You might argue that someone raised with money could be less likely to purchase a flashy car than say, CEO’s, who earned their fortunes through working tirelessly for decades. That would not explain why Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, who is purportedly worth over $70 billion, drives a Hybrid Ford Fusion.
Or why Larry Page, who co-created Google in a suburban garage and is the 7th richest person in the world, drives a Toyota Prius. Finally, the ultimate self-made man and richest person in the world, Jeff Bezos, who could buy any car ever made without putting a small dent in his $188 billion net worth, can be seen cruising around town in his Honda Accord.
What Type of Car Do You Drive?
Why are there so many wealthy people who drive average cars? Perhaps because driving expensive cars would attract unwanted attention. Many wealthy individuals become wary of showing their worth with a high-end car after becoming the focus of fraud, theft, or frivolous lawsuits. Unfortunately, there are folks out there looking to defraud others out of their money when they suspect deep pockets.
If you have already run into this problem or suspect you could be a potential target, consider taking our lawsuit exposure test. At JMV Law, we believe that knowing your risk level and taking preventative steps is the best way to protect your wealth in the long run.