Chow Yun-fat is one of the highest-earning actors in the history of cinema. He’s earned a fortune in Hong Kong, and today has over $982 million. Despite his fortune, he chooses to live on just $100 a day, and he has an excellent reason why.
From Nothing To Stardom
You’d be hard-pressed to find a millionaire with more humble beginnings. Chow is the son of a cleaning lady and an oil tanker worker. As a child in Hong Kong, he would awake at dawn to help his mother out before going to work in the fields. It wasn’t until he went to college that he pursued acting.
Very quickly, his life changed. Chow became a heartthrob and TV star, finally making his way onto the big screen, first in Hong Kong, later in Hollywood. He scored the lead role in John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow, which turned both Woo and Chow into household names. Chow spent the next decade establishing the “gun-fu” genre and became a millionaire in the process. Special credit goes to Hard Boiled, one of Woo’s many masterpieces.
Chow’s success only partially translated to America, with his biggest roles coming in Best Picture nominee Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. With nearly 100 movies to his name, Chow is about as successful as an actor can possibly be.
Lives Well Within His Means
You’d think $700 million would change a man, but Chow still lives on just $102 a day. He does this by eating locally and refusing to purchase new items just for the sake of purchasing new items. Chow prefers discount shops, once explaining “I don’t wear clothes for other people. I just wear whatever I find comfortable.” The Monkey King star even stuck with a Nokia flip phone for years, well into the smartphone era.
He’s Saving It All
Why doesn’t Chow blow his fortune on rocketships to space or something? Simple: he’s saving every dime for charity. In 2014, he said “I feel that the money does not really belong to me. I am just in charge of keeping it temporarily!” Chow eventually plans to donate his entire estate to charity, where it will no doubt make a difference in many lives.
Stories abound of Chow giving money to employees of local shops or dining on Instant Noodles instead of lavish meals. He will probably be a billionaire in a few years but chooses to stay humble, with the same food he ate before earning his fortune. One has to think his upbringing molded him this way.