The father of the petroleum business,
John D. Rockefeller, became the world's first billionaire in 1916. According to Forbes, there were 536 American billionaires in 2015, out of a total of 1,826 billionaires globally. According to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census, there were 2,325 billionaires worldwide in 2014, with 609 Americans among them.
It might be difficult to distinguish billionaires from those with significant wealth because many people are hesitant to discuss their money in public. Furthermore, for many, increasing personal wealth is a result of their economic operations rather than a goal. Donald Trump, the real estate billionaire who is placed 405 on the Forbes 2015 list, notes in his book "Trump: The Art of the Deal" that money was never a huge motivator for him, except as a method to keep score. "The actual thrill comes from playing the game," he says.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Rockefeller was the sole billionaire among the 102 million inhabitants in the United States in 1916. In today's America, there are 320 million people and one millionaire for every 600,000. If the number of billionaires in the United States continues to grow at its current rate of 6.49 percent per year, there will be more than 4,800 billionaires in the United States by 2050, or one billionaire for every 91,000 people in the predicted 439 million-strong population. Dreams of becoming a billionaire may not be as outlandish as long thought.
What Does It Mean to Be a Billionaire?
A billionaire is defined as someone with a net worth of $1 billion or more. In other words, you are a billionaire if you can sell all of your assets for cash, pay all your debts, and still have $1 billion in the bank. Although you and your family are unlikely to worry about future college bills or retirement, having $1 billion in assets and $900 million in debt does not make you a billionaire.
Like any huge amounts, a billion dollars can be difficult to understand. For three men working a regular 40-hour work week, counting to $1 billion at a rate of one dollar bill per second would be a lifetime profession. If you recruited them at the age of 21, they'd finish the job in more than 44 years if they worked eight hours a day, every day, without taking a sick day. The $1 bills counted would fill a football field to a height of 8.3 feet and weigh almost 1,100 tons.
A billion dollars is equal to the following in terms of purchasing power:
- 1.53 million annual passes to any of Disney's theme parks, or one for every man, woman, and child in Philadelphia.
- There are 21,900 Cadillac CTS luxury sedans on the market, which means you could drive a different premium car every day for the next 60 years. If you and your spouse are both frugal, you could each buy a new Honda Civic every day for the same amount of time.
- More than 95 million hand-tossed big pizzas or 167 million Big Mac meals with french fries and a beverage were sold at Pizza Hut.
- There are enough tee times at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California for you and 99 of your best friends to play every day for the next 55 years at this legendary and extremely pricey golf club.
- A 121-day around-the-world journey on the Queen Elizabeth costs $50,000. In reality, a billion dollars would allow you and 415 of your closest friends to live aboard a cruise ship for the next 40 years, going from one exotic port of call to another.
Billionaires' Common Characteristics and Experiences
- It takes a long time to become a billionaire. The typical Forbes billionaire is 63 years old, with over 90% of them being over 45. There are some major exceptions to the rule as younger individuals join the workforce, owing to technical advancements that have enabled new products and services. According to CNN, Evan Spiegel (number 1,250) and Bobby Murphy (number 1,250) founded mobile app Snapchat at the ages of 25 and 26, respectively, and received offers of up to $19 billion in February 2015. Elizabeth Holmes (number 360) started Theranos, a $9 billion blood testing company, at the age of 31. And Mark Zuckerberg (number 16), who is 31 years old, is worth an estimated $30 billion in Facebook stock.
- Education is beneficial, but it is not required. Almost two-thirds of Forbes' billionaires are college graduates, with engineering degrees accounting for the highest, followed by business degrees. There are 29 masters degrees and 21 PhDs among the top 400 billionaires in the United States. Ivy League colleges account for four of the top five schools with billionaire graduates, according to Business Insider. Surprisingly, more than a third of the Forbes list's wealthiest persons lack a college diploma, including Microsoft's Bill Gates and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg (both Harvard University dropouts). Michael Dell (Dell Inc., University of Texas at Austin), Steve Jobs (Apple, Reed College), and Larry Ellison (Oracle Corporation, University of Chicago) were among those who did not complete their education.
- Family money is beneficial, but it is not essential. 60%, including Gates, Buffett, and Ellison, who came from middle-class households, created their fortunes on their own. About a fifth of the people in the study inherited money from their families and went on to amass huge fortunes. Carlos Slim Helu (number two), commonly known as "Mexico's Warren Buffet," the Koch brothers (number6), Mars family members (number 22), and Abigail Johnson of Fidelity Investments are among them (number 85). Only their inheritances have made them millionaires (Sam Walton's legacy accounts for number six on the Forbes list: Christy, Alice, Jim, and Robson Walton, together with Nancy Walton Lurie and Ann Walton Kroenke).
- Marriage is a mixed bag for billionaires. Approximately two-thirds of those on the Forbes list are married — and some have been married several times (Larry Ellison, four wives; Ronald Perelman, five wives). Living with a billionaire – or someone who is building a great wealth – appears to be a difficult undertaking. Justine Musk, the former wife of Elon Musk (number 100 on the Forbes list), describes those who achieve super success like her ex-husband as "freaks and misfits. They are dyslexic, autistic, have ADD, they are square pegs in round holes, they piss people off, get into arguments, rock the boat, laugh in the face of paperwork," according to Quora. Bill Gates has been married to Melinda Gates for 21 years, while Carlos Slim Helu (number two) and Buffett both became widowers after 32 and 52 years, respectively. Jeff Bezos (number 15) and Michael Dell (number 47) are both married and have been for more than 20 years. Eric Schmidt (number 137) of Google has been married for more than 30 years, and Phil Knight (number 35) of Nike has been married for over 50 years.
- Careers in technology, finance, or real estate can be extremely lucrative. The invention of a breakthrough technology and its mainstreaming through a public offering of their company is the source of income for many billionaires. Microsoft (Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer), Google (Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt), Amazon.com (Bezos), and Facebook (Zuckerberg) are just a few examples of organizations that have only been made feasible by new technology. Other billionaires invest directly in the stock market, leveraging their own money with capital investors to earn huge profits. Although Warren Buffett is the most well-known Wall Street investor, hedge fund managers like George Soros (number 29), Ray Dalio (number 60), and James Simons (number 76) represent the 20% of billionaires who call Wall Street home. The real estate magnates, a third group, made their fortunes by owning and developing real estate, using what is known as the "traditional leverage" approach of a small down payment and a large mortgage. Donald Brin (number 64), Donald Trump (number 405), Jeff Sutton (number 557), and David Walentas are among the members of this group (number 1,054).
The Seven Steps to Becoming a Billionaire
1. Pay attention to the beat of your own drum.
Find your own specialty and don't try to imitate what others have done. Concentrate on figuring out what the rest of the world wants and needs.
According to Fortune, a young guy looking for a cab in Paris in 2008 was unable to find one, prompting the creation of "UberCab" and the development of a smartphone app that connects riders and drivers in the sharing economy. The software was first released in San Francisco in 2010 and is now available in over 100 countries. Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, Uber's co-founders, were ranked 283 in the Forbes list, each with an estimated net worth of $5.3 billion.
Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowski, two MIT students, launched a file-hosting service in 2007 because they were continually forgetting their USB flash drives, according to Forbes. Dropbox, their service, makes file sharing simple and secure. Dropbox is still a private firm with a market capitalization of more than $10 billion. Drew Houston (number 1,533) is the company's CEO, with a net worth of $1.21 billion according to Forbes. Pursue the concepts that captivate, compel, and will keep you going when things get rough.
2. Have a Big Dream
What distinctive, engaging, and beneficial contribution can you provide to the world that has the potential to improve lives and start a new business? No millionaire sets out to build a business that will only be somewhat successful.
Bill Gates, at 19 years old, was one of the first to see that if personal computers could be made simple enough for anyone to use, they could transform commerce, education, communications, and entertainment. As a result, Microsoft was founded. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos saw a future in which internet merchants could replace brick-and-mortar stores with lower costs, a larger selection, and better customer service. Billionaires are skilled at imagining what could be and making it a reality.
3. Make a complete commitment to success.
Success isn't about passion; it's about obsession. "Don't start a company unless it's an obsession and something you love," says Mark Cuban (number 603), a billionaire in his early 30s after the sale of his company Broadcast.com to Yahoo. It's not an obsession if you have an escape strategy." Cuban couldn't keep a girlfriend, didn't take a vacation for seven years, and didn't even read a fiction book during that time: "I was pretty concentrated."
During his 20s, while establishing Microsoft, Bill Gates never took a day off. Mark Zuckerberg encourages entrepreneurs to move quickly and "break things," with the "things" being standard business practices.
4. Failure Isn't a Bad Thing
Recognize that it is impossible to avoid all blunders and hazards, therefore don't be frightened of failure - even if it is spectacular and humiliating to others. The first Sam Walton store in Arkansas went bankrupt. The Newton platform was a massive failure for Apple, but the lessons acquired were used to create the iPad and iPhone. In addition, Apple's Lisa computer was such a flop that Jobs was fired from the business.
James Dyson (number 318), the English inventor of the breakthrough Dyson vacuum cleaner, made 5,127 prototypes over the course of 15 years before releasing a product. “When there is a crisis, that's when some are interested in getting out – and that's when we're interested in getting in,” Carlos Slim Helu believes the best possibilities are found in situations where others are terrified of failing.
5. Pay close attention to the finer points
“Success is the sum of details,” says Harvey S. Firestone, the founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Steve Jobs, a co-founder of Apple and a famous visionary, was known for his meticulous attention to detail, according to associates. Jobs reportedly called a Google executive on a Sunday morning to express his dissatisfaction with the color of the Google logo as it appeared on the iPhone, according to NPR. Companies fail more frequently in the early stages due to an ignored detail than because the entrepreneur failed to see the big picture.
6. Assemble a dependable group of advisors and partners.
No one becomes a millionaire on their own; everyone requires assistance along the path. Gates had Paul Allen and eventually Steve Ballmer working with him to establish Microsoft, just as Batman had Robin. Similarly, at the beginning, Apple was led by the "two Steves" (Jobs and Wozniak). Since 1975, Warren Buffett has collaborated with Charles Munger (number 1,553 on the list).
A reliable confidante encourages you, acts as a sounding board, and is not hesitant to give you constructive criticism when you need it. If you're the wagon master, he or she will work as a scout to make sure nothing is forgotten. He or she helps you stay focused and centered. Never be scared to collaborate with people who are wiser than you or who have access to resources you don't.
7. Don't Forget About Your Customers
Invest in your products and services through inventing, innovating, and focusing on client pleasure. "The individual who comes up with a way of doing or manufacturing nearly anything better, faster, or more efficiently has his future and his fortune at his finger tips," said J.Paul Getty, who was voted the richest living American by Fortune magazine in 1957.
According to Forbes contributor Jeffrey Doorman, 75% of the world's millionaires in 2015 made money by offering something that their clients desired. He claims that they improved the lives of their consumers, resulting in a win-win situation for both the customer and the billionaire who provided the product or service.
Knowing that extraordinary success is conceivable, keep the following in mind:
Having a lot of money doesn't always mean you'll be happy. "If I know 15 millionaires, I know 13 unhappy individuals," says Russell Simmons, co-founder of the music label Def Jam and an almost-billionaire. Buffett appears to believe that money only highlights people's underlying characteristics rather than changing them: if they were jerks before they got money, they are still jerks now that they had a billion dollars. Billionaires and those aspiring to be billionaires frequently put their families and relationships on hold in order to achieve their goals. According to Justine Musk, high success is the outcome of an extreme personality, and happiness is largely irrelevant.
Statistics are prone to being deceiving. While the odds of becoming a billionaire by 2050 (1 in 91,000) appear to be better than the odds of winning the Powerball lottery (1 in 175,223,510), becoming President of the United States (1 in 10,000,000), or being struck by lightning (1 in 700,000), achieving that level of wealth is directly proportional to the quantity and quality of "good ideas" implemented. To put it another way, success necessitates motivation, dedication, and hard effort, as well as a lot of luck.