Living a Simple and Happy Life, Chow Yun Fat Plans to Give $5.6 Billion HKD Net Worth to Charity
On his reason for giving away his fortune, Chow says, “The money’s not mine. I’m only keeping it safe for the time being.” Expressing that money is not the source of happiness, he added, “My dream is to be a happy and normal person. The hardest thing in life is not about how much money you earn, but how to keep a peaceful mindset and live the rest of your life in a simple and carefree manner.”
From humble beginnings to vast wealth and completely unaffected by fame and fortune
Chow Yun Fat was born in Lamma Island, Hong Kong, to a mother who was a cleaning lady and vegetable farmer, and a father who worked on a Shell Oil Company tanker. Chow grew up in a farming community, in a house with no electricity.
He would wake at dawn each morning to help his mother sell herbal jelly and Hakka tea-pudding on the streets; in the afternoons, he went to work in the fields.
His family moved to Kowloon when he was ten, and at 17, he left school to help support the family by doing odd jobs including bellboy, postman, camera salesman and taxi driver.
His life started to change after college when he responded to a newspaper advertisement, and his actor-trainee application was accepted by a local television station. He signed a three-year contract with the studio and made his acting debut.
Chow became a heartthrob and familiar face in soap operas that were exported internationally.
The 63-year-old Chinese actor said in an interview this year that he plans on donating his entire $714M ($627,350/£563,400) fortune to charity.
Despite his massive wealth, Chow Yun Fat leads a very simple lifestyle, reportedly spending just $800 HKD a month on himself. That’s a little over $100 US (€90/£80)
Four decades in the movie industry has not affected Chow’s humility.
Active in the movie industry for over four decades — Chow is best known in Asia for his collaborations with filmmaker John Woo in the heroic bloodshed-genre films A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Hard Boiled; and in the West for his roles as Li Mu-bai in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Sao Feng in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End)
During this period Chow has accumulated a huge fortune, and his net worth is estimated to be at $5.6 Billion HKD, or $714 Million US.
One could be forgiven for thinking that with this vast wealth, Chow Yun Fat lives a luxurious lifestyle, that consists of expensive cars and sumptuous mansions.
Instead, Chow is shown to be fairly frugal – often opting to take public transit and doing charity work rather than spending money on himself.
Chow revealed to Japanandextra.com that he only spends a mere $800 HKD monthly.
He used his first-generation Nokia phone for over 17 years before making a switch two years ago to a smartphone – only because his Nokia stopped working.
Never ostentatious, Chow can often be seen shopping at discount shops. He expressed, “I don’t wear clothes for other people. As long as I think it’s comfortable, then it’s good enough for me.”
Chow spends his free time on healthy pursuits such as hiking and jogging, and often when he is recognized will happily stop and pose for the cameras.
Chow’s wife, Jasmine Tan, previously disclosed his net worth and his plan to donate it to various charities. Establishing their own charity several years ago, Jasmine supports Chow’s decision in giving his money to different causes.
On his reason for giving away his fortune, Chow smiled, “The money’s not mine. I’m only keeping it safe for the time being.”
Expressing that money is not the source of happiness, he added, “My dream is to be a happy and normal person. The hardest thing in life is not about how much money you earn, but how to keep a peaceful mindset and live the rest of your life in a simple and carefree manner.”
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