James Altucher only owns about 15 things: three pairs of pants, three t-shirts, a laptop, a cell phone, an iPad, and $4,000 worth of $2 bills.
At 48, he doesn’t rent or own a home. Instead, he floats among Airbnb rentals and friends’ apartments.
As The New York Times noted in a recent profile of the self-help guru, it’s not because he can’t afford more.
Many of his 16 books, like “Choose Yourself,” have sold very well. He’s working on two more: a children’s book called “My Daddy Owns All of Outer Space” and “Reinvent Yourself,” which are set for release in October.
In April, after the lease ended on his Cold Spring, New York apartment, he paid someone to trash and donate almost everything he owned, he tells Business Insider.
This included his TV, beds, desks, and more than 40 garbage bags of dishes, sheets clothes, books, games, paperwork, and childhood photos. He now carries his remaining possessions, which he says he keeps for “pure functionality,” in two black carry-on bags.
“I want to leave my children my good will — my unconditional love for them,” he says. “I want them to know that life is open and not closed by the chains of possessions or jobs or things that cause anxiety and pain and trouble.”
Altucher says that he doesn’t call himself a minimalist — In fact, he doesn’t ascribe to any labels at all.
“I don’t like to think about a lot of things. Labels are things. We are the average of the five people we spend time with. But we are also the average of the five labels we assign ourselves,” he says. “I like to keep that list open. I am not an ‘entrepreneur.’ Or a ‘writer.’ Or a ‘minimalist.’ I like to wander around.”