A homeless billionaire has explained how he prefers to live a simple life without possessions rather than converting his huge wealth into items to make his life easier and more comfortable.
Nicolas Berggruen has an equity firm that has an annual revenue of about $5 billion. However, despite his bucket loads of wealth, Berggruen has decided to forego what others would consider essentials, such as a home or a car. Other hugely wealthy billionaires own various extravagant properties - or in the case of Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson, an island - however, Berggruen has shunned owning lavish possessions.
However, Berggruen is not quite homeless in the traditional sense of living on the streets, he simply decides to live out of hotels. He lives moving about from hotel to hotel, with no permanent residence of his own - effectively making him homeless.
Berggruen used to own two properties - an apartment in downtown New York City, and another property on a private island near Miami. However, he sold them both 12 years ago.
He packed up all his worldly possessions and put them into storage and allegedly chooses to live with just his iPhone, and a basic wardrobe consisting of a few pairs of jeans, a few suits and shirts.
Berggruen has said, "Everybody is different and I think that we live in a material world. But for me, possessing things is not that interesting. Living in a grand environment to show myself and others that I have wealth has zero appeal. Whatever I own is temporary, since we're only here for a short period of time. It's what we do and produce, it's our actions, that will last forever. That's real value."
Berggruen has testified that as he accumulated possessions and tasted the wealthy lifestyle he became less and less satisfied with piling things up. He took a concerted effort to rid himself of being tied down by possessions. According to the Wall Street Journal he said, "First, I don't need it. Secondly, maybe in a bizarre kind of way, I don't want to be dependent on it or have the responsibility. I don't get that much enjoyment out of saying 'I own it.' "
The homeless billionaire has also dedicated a lot of his wealth to helping in the financial crisis, as well as donated generous amounts to charities.