America’s best-known billionaires drive Volkswagens and eat at McDonald’s

Billionaires like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett have massive amounts of wealth, but while certain parts of their lives are glamorous, there are frugal practices that have set them apart. In fact, many billionaires decide not to live lavish lives; the CEO of IKEA famously flies economy and drives a 1993 Volvo.

Here are some modest habits of people in the billionaires' club.

Bill Gates

The billionaire landed the top spot as the richest person on Earth on The World's Billionaires 2017 list by Forbes with a listed net worth of $86 billion, was chairman of Microsoft up until 2014, and is co-chair and trustee of The Bill and and Melinda Gates Foundation—but there are aspects of his life that aren't so exclusive.

Gates reportedly said his watch costs $10 at POLITICO's Lessons From Leaders inaugural event in 2014. He also prefers an unpretentious look in clothing, preferring simple shirts, pants and sweaters, like a Midwestern dad.

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19 crazy facts about Bill Gates' $125 million mansion
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19 crazy facts about Bill Gates' $125 million mansion

It's worth at least $124 million today.

According to the King County public assessor's office, the property is worth $124.99 million as of this year. Gates purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988.

Per public filings, he paid $1,080,443.17 in property taxes in 2016.

Photo credit: Reuters 

Half a million board-feet of lumber was needed to complete the project.

The house was built with 500-year-old Douglas fir trees, and 300 construction workers labored on the home — 100 of whom were electricians.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

A high-tech sensor system helps guests monitor a room's climate and lighting.

When guests arrive, they're given a pin that interacts with sensors located all over the house. Guests enter their temperature and lighting preferences so that the settings change as they move throughout the home. Speakers hidden behind wallpaper allow music to follow you from room to room.

Photo credit: Reuters 

The house uses its natural surroundings to reduce heat loss.

Xanadu 2.0 is an "earth-sheltered" house, meaning that it's built into its surroundings to regulate temperature more efficiently.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

You can change the artwork on the walls with just the touch of a button.

Situated around the house are $80,000 worth of computer screens. Anyone can make the screens display their favorite paintings or photographs, which are stored on devices worth $150,000.

*This is not a picture of the artwork

Photo credit: Getty

The pool also has its own underwater music system.

The 60-foot pool is in its own separate, 3,900-square-foot building — the large brown building in the photo above. People in the pool could swim underneath a glass wall to come up to a terrace area on the outside.

There's also a locker room with four showers and two baths.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

There's a trampoline room with a 20-foot ceiling.

No word on how big the trampoline is, but we can imagine it would be a fun alternative to your standard exercise routine.

The exercise facilities total 2,500 square feet and also include a sauna, steam room, and separate men's and women's locker rooms.

*This is not a picture of Bill Gate's trampoline room.

Photo credit: Getty

An enormous reception hall can accommodate up to 200 guests.

The 2,300-square-foot hall could seat up to 150 people for a dinner party, or 200 people standing up at a cocktail event. A 6-foot-wide limestone fireplace dominates one wall, while another wall has a 22-foot-wide video screen.

Photo credit: Reuters 

The house has 24 bathrooms, 10 of which are full baths.

Those bathrooms would definitely be useful if Gates were throwing such a big party. Otherwise, it seems a little over the top.

Photo credit: bcj.com  

There are six kitchens.

They're at different parts of the house so staff can be ready for any event.

*This is not a photo of Bill Gates' kitchen. 

Photo credit: Reuters 

An enormous library houses a manuscript Gates paid more than $30 million for.

The 2,100-square-foot library has a dome roof and two secret bookcases, including one that reveals a hidden bar. On the ceiling you'll find a quote from "The Great Gatsby" that reads: "He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it."

The library is also home to the Codex Leicester, a 16th-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that Gates bought at auction for $30.8 million in 1994.

Photo credit: Getty

The home theater can accommodate 20 guests in plush seats.

It's designed in an Art Deco style, with comfortable arm chairs, couches, and even a popcorn machine for snacking.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

An existing home was removed by barge to make room for a separate activities building.

The 900-square-foot building sits next to Gates' sport court, putting green, and boat docks.

Photo credit: Reuters 

The guest house is just as high-tech as the main house.

According to US News, the 1,900-square-foot guest house was the first building to be completed on the property. The house — which has its own bedroom and bathroom — was meant to be a test of the technology that would eventually be used in the main house.

Gates wrote much of "The Road Ahead" here.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

Altogether, Gates' garages can accommodate up to 23 cars.

There are several different garages at different points around the property. The most interesting one, however, is an underground cave made out of concrete and stainless steel. That garage alone can park 10 cars. Some of the concrete was purposely broken to give it a rough, "deconstructivist" look.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

Gates has a favorite tree, and it's monitored electronically 24 hours a day.

He reportedly became fond of a 40-year-old maple tree that grew close to the home's driveway. It's monitored by computer, and if at any point it becomes too dry, water is automatically pumped into it.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

An artificial stream is kept stocked with fish.

The stream and wetland estuary were created to solve any problems with runoff that the property's large walls might have created. The water is kept stocked with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

The sand on Gates' beach is imported from the Caribbean.

The lakefront shore contains sand that's delivered in large quantities by a barge from St. Lucia each year.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

Someone once paid $35,000 just to tour it.

Microsoft holds an auction each year, where employees donate products and services to be bid on. Proceeds go to the company's charitable fund.

Gates has donated private tours of Xanadu 2.0 in the past. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, a Microsoft employee once won the tour with a bid of $35,000.

Photo credit: bcj.com 

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Gates also revealed some other down-to-earth habits when Reddit user briannnf asked him about "something you enjoy doing that you think no one would expect from you" during an Ask Me Anything session in 2014.

He wrote, "playing bridge is a pretty old fashioned thing in a way that I really like. I was watching my daughter ride horses this weekend and that is also a bit old fashioned but fun. I do the dishes every night – other people volunteer but I like the way I do it."

Gates also saves a lot of money on food, with unpretentious tastes: "rooms full of Diet Coke" and bags of McDonald's burgers for business lunches.

Mark Zuckerberg

Forbes lists Zuckerberg's "real-time" net worth at $66.2 billion. He still dresses like a college student rushing to class, however.

The Facebook mogul is known for his casual look— specifically, a gray t-shirts and blue jeans (although the New York Times also reported that sometimes, he wears a hoodie, Adidas sandals and Ray-Bans).

When asked about why he sticks to the same shirt every day during a Q&A session at Facebook's Menlo Park Headquarters in California, Zuckerberg reportedly responded, "I'm in this really lucky position where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people," he said. "I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything, except how to best serve this community."

The Facebook executive posted this photo back in 2016 after his daughter, Max, was born.

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Mark Zuckerberg through the years
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Mark Zuckerberg through the years

Mark Zuckerberg creater of 'Facebook', photographed at Eliot House at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. on May 14, 2004. Facebook was created in February 2004, 3 months prior to this photograph.

(Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, participates in a discussion during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007.

(Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, attends the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference on January 27, 2009 in Munich, Germany. DLD brings together global leaders and creators from the digital world.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images for Burda Media)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, speaks on day three of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, Jan. 30, 2009. This year's meeting, which is titled 'Shaping the Post-Crisis World,' runs until Feb. 1.

(Photo by Adam Berry/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., left, walks with Michael Ovitz, former president of Walt Disney Co., during a lunch break at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Friday, July 10, 2009. The conference runs until Saturday, July 11.

(Photo by Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the opening keynote address at the f8 Developer Conference April 21, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Zuckerberg kicked off the the one day conference for developers that features breakout sessions on the future of social technologies.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg (L) receives the award of Media person of the year from Philip Thomas (R), CEO Of Cannes Lions as part of the 57th International Advertising Festival held at the Palais des festivals on June 22, 2010 in Cannes, France.

(Photo by Francois G. Durand/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, holds a press conference at their headquarters in Palo Alto, California, May 26, 2010. Zuckerberg outlined Facebook's new privacy control methods.

(Photo by Kim White/Getty Images)

ABC News' Diane Sawyer goes inside Facebook headquarters with the man behind it all, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, to show how the site has redefined the way a generation organizes and communicates, airing on WORLD NEWS WITH DIANE SAWYER and NIGHTLINE on July 21st as well as all ABC News platforms.

(Photo by Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images) 

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles before speaking at a news conference at Facebook headquarters August 18, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced the launch of Facebook Places, a new application that allows Facebook users to document places they have visited.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Tim Kendall, director of product marketing for Facebook Inc., from left, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., and Erick Tseng, head of mobile products for Facebook Inc., listen during a press conference at the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. Facebook, the world's biggest social-networking site, added features to its mobile software for Android devices, making it easier for users to share their locations and sort their friends by groups.

(Ryan Anson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (R) looks on during a town hall meeting April 20, 2011 at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., left, and Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, get ready to take questions from the audience during an event at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, U.S., on Friday, March 25, 2011. Facebook Inc., owner of the most popular social-networking site, drew investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in private stock sales that valued the company at $50 billion as of January.

(George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a town hall meeting April 20, 2011 at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook Inc., smiles during the closing session of the e-G8 Internet Forum in Paris, France, on Wednesday, May 25, 2011. The Internet needs government involvement to reach its full potential of linking people and boosting economic growth, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

(Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chief executive of French group Publicis, Maurice Levy (R) and Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg (L) attend the e-G8 press conference during the G8 Summit, on May 26, 2011 in Deauville, France. Heads of the world's wealthiest nations are meeting in Deauville, France, for the G8 summit to discuss various security, aid and trade issues, including the 'Arab Spring', nuclear safety and climate change.

(Photo by Edouard BERNAUX/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., attends the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Media executives are gathering at Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley conference this week looking to shed assets such as the Hulu LLC video website and G4 game channel amid a declining global stock market and slowing economic growth.

(Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (L) watches a demonstration of the new Facebook video chat during a news conference at Facebook headquarters July 6, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced new features that are coming to Facebook including video chat and a group chat feature.
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., left, arrives to speak during a news conference at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011. Zuckerberg said Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs advised him on how to sharpen his company's focus and build the right management team for the world's largest social network.

(Kelvin Ma/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (center) watches the game action between the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks on February 19, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. 

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

A woman watches Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking in a promotional video ahead of the company's IPO, in Washington on May 8, 2012. Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable US firms when it goes public later this month, now must convince investors in the next two weeks that it is worth all the hype. Top executives at the world's leading social network have kicked off their all-important road show on Wall Street -- an intense marketing drive ahead of the company's expected trading launch on the tech-heavy Nasdaq on May 18.

(MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GettyImages)

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shake hands as they meet at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, on October 1, 2012. Zuckerberg was today in Moscow on a visit the government believes should stimulate innovation in Russia and the social network hopes will boost its position in the Russian market.

(ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/AFP/GettyImages)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., right, and Andrew 'Drew' Houston, founder and chief executive of Dropbox, sit in a parked car at the entrance to the Lodge during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 12, 2012. Media moguls gathered at the annual Allen & Co. conference have spent recent years contemplating how to cope with technology companies drawing audiences away from television and movies.

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during an event at Facebook headquarters on April 4, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. Zuckerberg announced a new product for Android called Facebook Home.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt conference on September 11, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The TechCruch Disrupt Conference runs through September 11.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (R) arrives at the White House for an Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama March 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama held the meeting with Internet CEOs to discuss 'issues of privacy, technology, and intelligence.'

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference as part of the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2014 at the Fira Gran Via complex on February 24, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. The annual Mobile World Congress hosts some of the world's largest communication companies, with many unveiling their latest phones and gadgets. The show runs from February 24 - February 27.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Breakthrough Prize Founders Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg (R) attend the Breakthrough Prize Awards Ceremony Hosted By Seth MacFarlane at NASA Ames Research Center on November 9, 2014 in Mountain View, California.
(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

Mark Zuckerberg (L), founder and CEO of Facebook, makes a courtesy call to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) at the latter's official residence in Tokyo on October 20, 2014. Zuckerberg is here to attend a Facebook's business event for their partner companies on October 16 as a surprise guest.

(KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckenberg speaks to media after the meeting with Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo (not seen) in Jakarta, Indonesia on October 13, 2014. US-based social media Facebook founder Zuckerberg attended internet.org campaign during his visit to Indonesia, the fourth-largest number of Facebook users in the world.

(Photo by Jefri Tarigan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo (L) with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (R) at Tanah Abang Market the biggest textile market in South East Asia after meeting on October 13, 2014 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Mark Zukerberg is visiting Indonesia to attend Internet developers summit and meet heads of goverment. Indonesia is a country that has a population of 240 million and has approximately 60 million active users of social media. 

(Photo by Oscar Siagian/Getty Images)

Facebook Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg at IIT Delhi, on October 28, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Speaking to about 900 students at Indian Institute of Technology, Zuckerberg said broadening Internet access was vital to economic development in a country where a billion people are still not online.
(Photo by Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, left, and Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., embrace at the conclusion of a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Prime Minister Modi plans on connecting 600,000 villages across India using fiber optic cable as part of his 'dream' to expand the world's largest democracy's economy to $20 trillion.

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan sighted on February 26, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.

(Photo by Chad Buchanan/GC Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Oculus Connect 3 event in San Jose, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Facebook Inc. is working on a new virtual reality product that is more advanced than its Samsung Gear VR, but doesn't require connection to a personal computer, like the Oculus Rift does.

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (L) pose as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (2nd R) makes a selfie picture with them, during a visit to the presidential palace in Abuja, on September 2, 2016. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on September 2 praised Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for inspiring young entrepreneurs during his surprise visit to the west African country this week, his office said. Zuckerberg who arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday and has met with young entrepreneurs at information technology and computer centres in the country's commercial hub of Lagos and the capital Abuja.

(SUNDAY AGHAEZE/AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2016 CEO Summit in Lima, Peru, on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. APEC aims to create greater prosperity for the people of the Asia-Pacific by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

(Guillermo Gutierrez/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Actor Vin Diesel (L) and Breakthrough Prize Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg speak onstage during the 2017 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center on December 4, 2016 in Mountain View, California.

(Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize)

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., reacts during a session at the Techonomy 2016 conference in Half Moon Bay, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. The annual conference, which brings together leaders in the technology industry, focuses on the centrality of technology to business and social progress and the urgency of embracing the rapid pace of change brought by technology.

(David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of Me 2.0, told Forbes about the meaning behind Zuckerberg's clothing choices.

"Famous business people and politicians are known to be consistent with their wardrobe because it's their brand identity...It's who they are, how they want to represent themselves and make a statement. It's not about what you wear, but what you accomplish. [Mark] Zuckerberg, for instance, wears casual clothing because he represents the entire generation of young people who don't want to wear suits to work," he told the publication.

Zuckerberg also has a modest car. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 that Zuckerberg drove a black, stick-shift Volkswagen GTI. More recently, he seems to have upgraded to an Acura TSX.

Relatively inexpensive cars are, by the way, favored by many of the richest Americans. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt drives a Ford Hybrid Fusion.

Steve Jobs

Like Zuckerberg, the the Apple executive also had a signature look before he passed away in 2011.

Jobs would come to work in black mock turtlenecks, New Balance sneakers and Levi's jeans, according to the New York Times in 2011.

Steve Chazin, a former Apple marketing executive, told the New York Times in 2011 about the meaning behind the mogul's clothes.

"He didn't want any individual to kind of overshadow the brand, and that includes him," Chazin told the publication.

In 2010, Jobs was #136 on The World's Billionaires list by Forbes, with a net worth of $5.5 billion.

Warren Buffett

The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and "Oracle of Omaha" came in second place on The World's Billionaires 2017 list by Forbes, with a listed net worth of $75.6 billion, but reportedly has lived in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska since 1958.

The Wall Street journal reported in February 2017 that also he listed his California beach house for $11 million.

But if you like fast food, here's the real kicker— Buffett has earned special privileges at McDonald's, and eats their breakfast food in the morning.

Buffett showed CNBC's Becky Quick what he was carrying in his wallet on a plane ride to China in a 2007 interview.

"And, ah, here we have my McDonald's card which lets me eat free at any McDonald's in Omaha for the rest of my life. So that's why the Buffett family has Christmas dinner at McDonald's. It explains a lot of thing," he told Quick.

He also showed her a special card from Johnny Rockets, among other items.

Buffett may be relatable in his love for McDonald's, but make no mistake about his level wealth and business success– he reportedly owns a private jet.

This article America's best-known billionaires drive Volkswagens and eat at McDonald's appeared first on Ladders.

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