Chinese billionaire says he was happier when he was poor

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Chinese Billionaire Says He Was Happier When He Was Poor

As glamorous and carefree as being a billionaire sounds, China's richest man, Jack Ma, says that in actuality it's not that thrilling.

The founder of the wildly successful commerce site Alibaba told attendees of The Economic Club of New York luncheon that he was happier when he was poor.

Ma said that one of the best times of his life was right after college when he was earning $12 a month as an English teacher.

Many years -- and billions of dollars -- later, he now characterizes his existence as one dominated by pressures and expectations.

Said Ma, "If you have less than $1 million, you know how to spend the money. [At] $1 billion, that's not your money ... The money I have today is a responsibility. It's the trust of people on me."

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Chinese billionaire says he was happier when he was poor
Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma speaks during a luncheon of the Economic Club of New York, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in New York, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma speaks during a luncheon of the Economic Club of New York, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in New York, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma waits for a reporter's question during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Ma said it would be better if Kering SA, which owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands, collaborated with Alibaba to deal with fake products rather than suing the Chinese e-commerce giant. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16, 2014: Alibaba Group founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma speaks after accepting the Game Changer of the Year award at the Asia Game Changer Awards, hosted by the Asia Society, on October 16, 2014 at the United Nations in New York, NY. Ma, China's richest man, was one of several award winners, including a Pritzker Prize winning architect (Shigeru Ban), an Academy Award winner (Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy), and this year's Noble Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma points to a reporter after a speech on “Transforming Dreams into Successful Business” to inspire young people to develop their creativity and entrepreneurship by using modern technology in Hong Kong Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. E-commerce giant Alibaba pledged last Friday to do more to fight online sales of counterfeit goods, quickly settling a public dispute with a Chinese regulator after the value of its U.S.-traded shares plunged. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
FILE - In this March 18, 2015 file photo, Jack Ma, founder and CEO of the Alibaba Group, arrives at the Elysee Palace, in Paris. Alibaba reports quarterly financial results on Thursday, May 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)
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