Elvis Presley, circa 1970
Michael Ochs Archives—Getty Images
By Greg Daugherty
April 6, 2016

Does this sound like anybody you know?

“These are the people with ridiculously sleek wallets that have no compartments for cash or coin…they are the people frantically looking for a nearby ATM when they accidentally stumble into a cash-only restaurant…”

That’s how a 2015 report from the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco describes a group it calls the “cash-averse”—people who never carry or spend cash. (Unless, of course, they find themselves in the wrong burger joint.)

Read next: 10 of the Richest Cheapskates of All Time

Though still a relatively small part of the general population—about 9%—the cash-averse are disproportionately represented among the millennial generation. Some 62% of them are under age 35, the report notes.

So, while futurists have been predicting a cashless society for decades now, it may be millennials who finally make it happen.

And yet they won’t be the first. As with so many other important trends in modern life, we have celebrities to thank for showing us the way.

In fact, here are 10 famous folks (entry No. 3 counts as two) whose attitudes toward pocket money were generations ahead of their time.

Judy Garland

Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" (1939)
AF archive—Alamy


“I never carry any money with me,” the Wizard of Oz star once told an interviewer, explaining her rather chaotic personal finances. “I just write off checks and then forget about them.”

Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes in his dashing aviator phase, circa 1934
Bettmann Archive—Getty Images


Even before he became the world’s most famous germophobe, the eccentric billionaire gave up carrying cash, apparently for fear of being robbed.

John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy, right, and brother Robert, on the eve of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962

(1917–1963 and 1925–1968)

The Kennedy brothers shared a reputation for never carrying money and borrowing from anybody in the vicinity when they needed some. Biographer Evan Thomas tells of a friend helpfully tossing a dollar into a church collection plate on Bobby’s behalf. His supposed response: “Don’t you think I’d be more generous than that?”

John Lennon

John Lennon, soon to become an ex-Beatle, in 1969
Keystone-France—Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images


The late Beatle had plenty to say and sing about money but seems to have rarely kept any on him. Biographer Philip Norman noted that “he discovered the strange truth that the richer one becomes the less obligation there seems to pay for anything. Clubs he visited pressed free drinks on him, restaurants automatically waived bills, guitar makers sent him their choicest new models simply for the glory of his patronage.”

Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison, circa 1970
Michael Ochs Archives—Getty Images


Though he made plenty of it in his too-brief career, contemporaries say the rambunctious Doors singer never carried cash (and was even known to set checks on fire). He probably didn’t have room for a wallet in those skintight leather pants of his anyway.

Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini, right-side up, probably in the 1930s
Roger Viollet—Getty Images


When Italian resistance fighters hung the freshly executed fascist dictator’s body upside down in a Milan plaza, it’s unlikely that lire fell from of his pockets. Mussolini reportedly didn’t carry any.

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon, circa 1960
Everett Collection Historical—Alamy


Richard Nixon and his nemesis John F. Kennedy may have had little else in common, but like JFK, Nixon seems to have rarely carried cash. Attending a Billy Graham “Crusade” in 1970, he had to borrow $5 from the evangelist himself to make contribution.

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley, circa 1970
Michael Ochs Archives—Getty Images


Not only did the King rarely, if ever, carry cash, he seems not to have carried much of anything. Associates said he had his clothes custom-made without pockets. He did, however, have a credit card or two. A long-expired one sold for $41,000 at a 1994 auction.

The Queen of England

Her majesty, 2015
Michael Dunlea/N&S Syndication—AP

(1926– )

Elizabeth II is one of a long line of British royals reputed not to carry cash. If you’re important enough have your face on your nation’s currency, who’s to argue with you?


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