Right out of college, Anthony Hsieh was asking the same question most 20-somethings ask: “What do I do with my life now?” he tells Business Insider.
He stumbled upon the mortgage industry by mistake, but it didn’t take long before he became a major player in the field. At age 25, he purchased the mortgage brokerage company he was working for with his own savings and a loan from his uncle — a decade later, he closed a deal with E-Trade to create E-Trade Mortgage.
Today, the self-made billionaire is the CEO and chairman of nonbank consumer mortgage lender loanDepot, which he launched in 2010.
He credits much of his entrepreneurial success to a lesson his parents instilled in him from a young age, after leaving Taiwan, where he was born, for the US: Always live within your means.
“Growing up as an immigrant, you watch your parents make tremendous sacrifices because they’re uprooting their family and all of the comfort by moving to a foreign land,” Hsieh tells Business Insider.
“You see sacrifice and hard work, and it’s always been installed in us kids to live within your means and not get into a situation where you can’t keep up with your expenses.”
While an invaluable personal finance lesson for anyone to grasp, Hsieh applied it on a larger scale — with each of the companies he’s founded, he’s made it a point to spend consciously and diligently.
Learning to live within your means “has helped me quite a bit and that’s one of the reasons I’ve survived and flourished in consumer lending for 30 years,” he explains. “My career spans four different economic and housing cycles and I’m still sitting at the table as a key executive in consumer lending. I think part of that is my discipline of making certain that the company and myself don’t overspend.”
Hsieh isn’t the only billionaire who keeps his spending in check. Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and many other wealthy people choose to live frugally.