Meet Charles or “Chuck” Feeney – the co-founder of those popular duty-free stores in every airport you have ever travelled to. Ya, that was his idea.
He became a Billionaire. And now he’s going broke. No sob story here, because it was on purpose.
Today, he is in his mid-80’s and worth under 2 Million dollars. No mistake made, that’s an M.
Why so little? He happily spent it all.
In fact, his life’s goal is to bounce the last cheque he writes, ideally on his well-used death bed.
Except you won’t guess where he spends it. Just try…
Fleet of cars? Nope. Most of his life he didn’t even own a car. He found vehicles difficult to park in big cities.
Homes around the World? Not quite. He didn’t always own a home, and while raising his family in a mansion at one point, he now lives in an apartment and sleeps at his daughter’s place when he visits New York.
Big charter jet for sure! Not unless he’s in a rush. He flies coach anywhere he goes. He said it was because first class didn’t get him there any faster. How savvy of him.
(Makes me wonder who I’ve sat beside on a plane before. I’ll be chatting up my neighbours more often!)
Ok ok but he probably had really nice clothing, right? Not unless it matched his plastic watch. Most teenagers probably rock a nicer one that him.
I’ll let him speak for himself:
“I believe strongly in ‘giving while living,’” he wrote in a statement. “I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes today. Besides, it’s a lot more fun to give while you live than to give while you are dead.”
I know I know… all the big-wigs give millions but this one is charitable gold. Or should I say plastic, since it’s more his style.
“While the business world’s titans obsess over piling up as many riches as possible, Feeney is working double time to die broke.” -Forbes
It’s estimated his philanthropy company will have pushed through 7.5 Billion dollars (and close their doors completely broke) by 2020. Most of it going to education, new buildings and grants to various places around the World.
Was it for fame?
Unlike the celebrity obsessed mob we’ve seen this past decade, he didn’t tell a soul who was spending that money for over 15 years. The secret was out in 1997 who was behind these donations, not by his choice but there was likely some relief to the matter. Imagine how his board of directors felt when they saw millions of dollars coming in and out without being able to trace it all… phew – he WASN’T laundering money for the Mob!
So what’s the BIG lesson you can take from Chuck today?
Obvious route: you can be humble and help others. Heard that one.
New school lesson: Get your mindset before you get the money.
Answer this: How do you WANT to look at money? What kind of placeholder do you want it to have in your life each day, for the rest of your life?
Tough I know, but those Q’s will answer what you do if you ever become a Billionaire (and you could!).
Instead of trying to build the country’s biggest home “because he could”, Forbes shares a little about Feeney’s mindset here:
“He loved making money but had no need for it once it was made. Feeney was happy with simple things. He had grown up in a humble, hardworking house and watched his parents constantly help others.”
It’s his upbringing that made him understand money was simply a tool to do good things with. Which is why I love to learn and teach about mindset and your “Money DNA”, as I so wonderfully call it.
Because LOOK what a powerful, internally-driven mindset can do with billions of dollars. (in a world full of fancy watches and overpriced cars)
I don’t often tell people this because it’s personal and can sound a little cray-cray, but our family donates 10% of everything we make before our bills come. You would think that it would set us back thousands each year, especially while we carried debt, but it didn’t. Now, we barely even notice it’s gone.
What about you – could you spend every cent you ever had before you die? #crazythought