Sunday, February 7, 2010

Frugal Lesson from a billionaire

Chris drives a 16-year-old-car & I drives a 13-year-old-car. Both of them still run well and we are not planning to replace them anytime soon; well at least 'till they start to give us problem. Thanks to this article whenever we are tempted to think about getting a nicer/ more comfortable/ bigger car, all we need to say to each other is, "Remember what car the Ikea founder drives?" :P

IKEA founder proud to be frugal at 80
Taken from reuters.com article on 2006-03-27 09:16
IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, ranked 4th richest man in the world, drives a 15-year-old car and always flies economy class, in part to inspire his 90,000 employees worldwide to see the virtue of frugality.

The billionaire Swede, who turns 80 on March 30, explained his legendary habits during a rare television interview in Switzerland, his adoptive home for nearly 30 years.
His fortune was recently estimated at US$28 billion by Forbes magazine -- trailing only Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, U.S. investor Warren Buffett and Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim.
"People say I am cheap and I don't mind if they do. But I am very proud to follow the rules of our company," Kamprad told French-language Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.
Asked to confirm he drove an old Volvo, he said: "She is nearly new, just 15 years old, or something like that."
Interviewer Darius Rochebin teased that Ikea employees were always told to write on both sides of the paper.
"Why not? If there is such a thing as good leadership, it is to give a good example. I have to do so for all the Ikea employees," Kamprad retorted.
"Everything we earn we need as a reserve. We have to still develop the IKEA group. We need many billions of Swiss francs (dollars) to take on China or Russia," he added.
Ikea is the world's biggest furniture retailer, with 202 stores in 32 countries.Known for its inexpensive self-assembly furniture, the business claims its hefty catalog is the most widely read publication after the Bible.
The small-town Swede set up shop in his garden shed, selling watches, pens and Christmas cards.
"I bought seeds for the garden and had great success with it, going around to all the houses in my village. After that year I could buy myself my first bicycle," Kamprad recalled.
When Sweden's Social Democrat government launched the "Million Homes Project" in the 1950s, he saw an opportunity and got into the furniture business.
He stumbled upon the "flat-pack" idea in 1956 when an employee took the legs off a table to fit it into a customer's car. It saves a fortune in transport, storage and sales space.
"Our idea is to serve everybody, including people with little money. We have to keep costs down," he said.
His home in the Swiss village of Epalinges near Lausanne above scenic Lake Geneva is mainly decorated with Ikea furniture, apart from a few family pieces.
Last week he made a donation of 500,000 swiss francs ($379,900) to the Lausanne cantonal art school, where his son studied.
"I'm not afraid of turning 80 and I have lots of things to do. I don't have time for dying," Kamprad said.

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