Billionaire Attributes – Modesty: Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea’s Founder & Owner

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Seventy-nine-year old self-made billionaire Ingvar Kamprad still practices modesty even though he is the fourth richest man in the world. The self-styled Swede founded Ikea, which sells hip furniture designs for the cost conscious. His company Ikea now has stores in thirty-three countries, while continuing to expand markets in China and Russia.

Kamprad avoids wearing suits, flies economy class and frequents cheap restaurants. He has been quoted as saying that his luxuries are occasionally buying a nice cravat and eating Swedish fish roe.

The founder and owner of Ikea had entrepreneurship and sales in his blood early on as a teenager. He peddled matches, fish, pens, Christmas cards and other items by bicycle. He began selling furniture in 1947.

Today’s generation of borrowers who buy now and pay later could learn from Mr. Kamprad’s modesty. In a time when leveraging debt, credit cards and parents resources for immediate gratification is commonly expected Kamprad’s age-old wisdom needs to be heard. His personal humility and modesty says a lot about his character.

Modesty is one attribute of a billionaire that needs to be emphasized in our day of wasteful spenders. Few seem to save or more importantly invest in themselves anymore. More are apt to squander hard earned money on entertainment than invest in their education and future development. It should be noted that within the homes of most millionaires you will find a library. Thus they deem education more worthy of their time and resources than entertainment.

In Florida where I live wearing suits often is so hot and uncomfortable anyhow that I certainly can understand wanting to get rid of them. Flying economy however is by no means a walk in the park.

Mr. Kamprad obviously appreciates what it takes to earn his money and realizes that there are no guarantees to economic success tomorrow apart from hard work. As Benjamin Franklin said: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

The Bible itself says: “The borrower is servant to the lender.” My nation America certainly has a lot of people enslaved to mortgages, second mortgages, equity lines, credit cards and lenders. Leveraging other peoples money is good when you are making a profit and gain by doing so. Going deeper into debt however just to live it up now is poor financial stewardship.

We are all guilty of being wasteful at some point in time. The point here is you can still live a great life, have a good time and practice modesty all the while without minimizing your results. Take it from Kamprad, it can be done.


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