Why Mark Cuban doesn’t own yachts or hire house cleaners: ‘I try to be the same person I was when I was poor’

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When it comes to luxury spending, billionaire Mark Cuban draws the line at yachts, butlers and house cleaning services.

“I just try to be the same person, I mean, as I was when I was poor, middle and rich,” Cuban, 65, told “The Really Good Podcast” on Thursday. “The whole idea of like, get a yacht … it’s just not what I would do.”

Cuban, a serial entrepreneur and startup investor, has a net worth of $5.1 billion, according to Forbes. He’s not opposed to big-ticket purchases: He spent $13 million on a 24,000-square-foot Dallas mansion and $40 million for a private Gulfstream V business jet in 1999, shortly after becoming a billionaire. The following year, he bought the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for $285 million.

Rather, Cuban’s decision to not pay for certain services is less about frugality and more about his desire for a private life. His family usually does their own chores, like washing clothes and cooking meals, he noted.

“I like the privacy,” Cuban said. “I’ve been around people who hire somebody to do everything for them, and that’s just, like, no privacy.”

Similarly, Cuban didn’t feel the need to make new friends upon entering a new tax bracket, he said: “Most of my friends are guys that I moved to Dallas with or friends in Indiana from school. We still tell the same stupid ass stories and do the same stupid s—, and you know, that’s good.”

In January, Cuban told CBS’s “Sunday Morning” that he’d worked hard to keep his wealth from changing his personality, and that he’d be just as happy with 1% of his net worth. Later in the interview, a group of Cuban’s childhood friends confirmed it.

“Little more full of it, but not that much more full of it,” Jerry Katz, one of those friends, said. “But still the same guy.”

That isn’t the case for most people: Typically, the wealthier you feel, the worse you behave, according to Paul Piff, an associate professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine.

“As a person’s levels of wealth increase, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down, and their feelings of entitlement, of deservingness and their ideology of self-interest increases,” Piff said in a 2013 TED Talk.

When that happens, small reality checks can help you get back on track, Piff added: “Small nudges in certain directions can restore levels of egalitarianism and empathy.”

Cuban now owns three houses, and refers to a couple of his private jets as his “best toys,” he said on the podcast. Buying a private jet “was my all-time goal, because the asset I value the most is time, and that bought me time,” he told Money in 2017.

Still, Cuban wants to remain the same person he was when he was “broke,” he said on the podcast.

“When I was broke, I had a blast,” said Cuban. “I loved my life … I was still having fun.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank,” which features Mark Cuban as a panelist.

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