Billionaires – The Youngest Top 10 And How They Got There

Feb 23, 2016

When I was really young, it was tough to comprehend that anyone could be worth a million dollars.

In 2016, a billion dollars is the equivalent benchmark.
To reach that billionaire mark AND to be young is an incredible achievement, especially if you are self-made.

The young billionaires in the list below have changed the business landscape, employed thousands of people, made new and innovative services and products, donated enormous amounts of funds to worthwhile causes and generally provided us all with examples of ‘building something valuable’ whether you want to be a billionaire or not!

So, who are the top 10 (starting with the youngest) and how did they get there?

1. Evan Spiegel (24) – co-founder and CEO of Snapchat: mobile application. Net worth: $1.5B.

2. Bobby Murphy (26) – another co-founder and CEO of Snapchat: mobile application. Net worth: $1.5B.

3. Tom Persson (30) – member of the family that owns H&M: retail clothing business. Net worth $3B.

4. Mark Zuckerberg (31) – CEO and Co-founder of Facebook: social networking website. Net worth $33.4B.

5. Dustin Moskovitz (31) – another Co-founder of Facebook: social networking website. Net worth $7.9B.

6. Nathan Blecharczyk (31) – co-founder of AirBNB: online, peer to peer accommodation service. Net worth $1.9B.

7. Elizabeth Homes (32) – founder of Theranos: diagnostics (especially blood testing). Net worth $4.5B.

8. Tatiana Casiraghi (32) – member of Monaco royal family. Net worth $2.2B.

9. Drew Houston (32) – founder and CEO of Dropbox: online backup and storage service. Net worth $1.2B.

10. Eduardo Saverin (33) – co-founder of Facebook: social networking website. Net worth $4.8B.

You may have noticed that only two of the youngest billionaires are not self-made. Good luck to Tom Persson and Tatiana Casiraghi but I am more interested in how the self-made have generated their wealth.

According to Forbes, the number of self-made, super wealthy individuals (in general, not just the youngest) is increasing. They have developed a ‘self-made score’ on a scale of 1 to 10: 1 = completely inherited; 10 = completely self-made.

Forbes did an analysis for every 10 years going back to 1984 – when they first started publishing their Forbes 400 Wealthy List.
Looking at the numbers over time, the data leads us to an interesting insight: in 1984, less than half of the people on The Forbes 400 were self-made; today, 69% of the 400 created their own fortunes.

There has never been a better time to generate significant wealth by being self-made. What could you do to progress towards being self-made?

If you are looking at the age of these billionaires and thinking time has passed you by, there are multiple examples of very successful, self-made business owners who have started late.

I think the best example is Colonel Sanders, the man who started KFC, originally known as Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was 62 years of age when he started selling franchises before selling the whole company 12 years later, aged 74. If you think you are too late, think of the Colonel and be inspired.

7 of the 8 remaining self-made billionaires have made their fortunes via some kind of technology business. This has given them the leverage to reach the masses which in turn provides a large valuation for their respective ventures.

Is your business limited by how much time you can spend? How could you find leverage to reach the masses? Seriously, how could you?

The final youngest billionaire is Elizabeth Homes, founder of Theranos – points of note include Elizabeth being the only female on this list and her business being in the healthcare sector.

Being the world’s youngest, female, self-made billionaire, Elizabeth is nothing short of an inspiration. Holmes founded Theranos at age 19, after her uncle died of cancer, to make cheaper diagnostic tests that require only a few drops of blood from a finger prick.

I always find it instructive when learning of the unique stories of the successful - the young billionaires are no exception.

I hope it sparks something for you.

Andy is a Director and Co-Founder of Time Advice which helps business owners, executives and families organise their financial world and pursue their ideal life. He is also a Director of the Hawthorn Football Club.

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