The CEO of Hilton says buying a Porsche was his worst financial decision ever: ‘It nearly broke me’

February 7, 2023, 4:45 PM UTC
Christopher Nassetta
Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta opens up about the purchase he regrets the most.
AFP / Stringer—Getty Images

CEOs, they make rough choices post-breakup just like the rest of us. But instead of getting bangs, Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta bought a used black Porsche 944 after a breakup in his twenties, he told CNBC Make It.

At the time, the $20,000 car was worth more than his annual salary of $17,000, but the now 60-year-old said the cost kept racking up as the car was “riddled with problems I couldn’t afford.” 

He had taken out a loan to cover the big purchases. “It nearly broke me,” he said. “I spent all my money on that stupid car.”

Consider Warren Buffett, who isn’t driving any Porsches. The famously frugal billionaire held on to a 2006 Cadillac DTS for some time, noting that he doesn’t drive enough to justify buying new cars. Buffett’s daughter said in a BBC documentary that he often buys damaged cars that were later fixed at discounted prices. 

Fellow billionaire Mark Zuckerberg sports the same wheels that a suburban mom might, seen driving a Volkswagen hatchback and a Honda Fit. Bezos is in the Honda club too, as he drove a Honda Accord for a long time (although he does own a private jet). 

As self-made millionaire and author David Bach once told CNBC Make It, buying a brand-new car is a bad decision. “Nothing you will do in your lifetime, realistically, will waste more money than buying a new car,” he said.

He’s staunchly pro-used car. Luckily for billionaires, millionaires, and average Joes alike, that’s something that’s feasible enough now that the premium on used cars has cooled down. Just make sure that used car doesn’t cost more than your salary, like Nassetta’s did.

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