Nassim Nicholas Taleb doesn't like to carry any debt. In fact, the scholar and author of "The Black Swan" has "never, ever borrowed a penny," he tells Esquire. "So I have zero credit record. No loans, no mortgage, nothing. Ever. When I had no money, I rented. I have an allergy to borrowing. ... I follow the Romans' attitude that debtors are not free people."
Rather than using credit cards, Taleb, who resides in the U.S., U.K. and Lebanon, carries "euros, dollars and British pounds," he says.
The best-selling author is not the only successful person who prefers cash. Comedian and self-made millionaire Jay Leno barely uses credit cards, he tells CNBC Make It: "I don't carry any debt. I don't write checks at the end of the month for anything. … I own everything. I own my buildings. I own my cars. That way, if it ends tomorrow, I know what I've got."