The big nine zeros; the billion. It seems like only a few years ago that millionaires were the real heavy hitters. These days there are countless millionaires, and it is billionaires that set the standards and goals for the mega-rich. Dozens of billionaires have become household names worldwide, and many aspire to be like them and obtain their level of success, while others vilify them for hoarding wealth.
However you feel about billionaires, at the end of the day, they add immensely to the growth of the economy, and many of them are exceptionally charitable.
But how did billionaires get to where they are What do their lives look like Who is the average billionaire In this article, we take a step inside the lives of the mega-rich and look at 10 things that you may not have known about billionaires. As most billionaires’ wealth is calculated in USD, it will be the only currency that we will be referring to in this article so that there is a singular point of reference.
#1 What jobs do billionaires have
It’s virtually impossible to become a billionaire if you’re working a regular job, so what jobs do billionaires have exactly” Most billionaires are some sort of entrepreneur, with more than 42% of billionaires that got their first billion before the age of 40—doing so in the field of technology. The technological field is growing at an exponential rate, so there are a lot of opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs to make their fortunes. E-commerce is another industry in which we have seen many billionaires succeed.
Many billionaires have never been to college and instead embarked on pursuing their innovative business ideas from a young age.
Surprisingly, only around 20% of billionaires inherited their wealth. This means that the vast majority of billionaires made their money on their own two feet. While they may have had some help along the way, there are numerous billionaires that started out with very little and came from ‘normal’ backgrounds.
While most billionaires are entrepreneurs of sorts, almost all of them make passive income through investments and other passive streams of income, which brings us to our next question…
#2 How many sources of income does a billionaire have
Forget about a regular salary and a singular source of income; millionaires and billionaires usually have several streams of income, including:
- Earned income – This is the income earned by doing something. It is usually a regular job where you are working for someone else. This is how most billionaires start out, but over time many of them do away with earned income and focus on other sources.
- Profit income – Profit income is where you sell something for more than what it originally cost you. Profit income comes from businesses large and small and requires a degree of entrepreneurship. Most billionaires will always maintain some form of profit income because when done correctly, it can earn you huge amounts.
- Interest income – Interest is the money earned on lending money, usually to the bank, and allows you to earn a passive income with basically zero effort from your end. Most billionaires will have multiple streams of interest income coming in each month.
- Dividend income – Dividend income is the money you make by being a shareholder in certain companies. It is also passive, and you’ll get a return on your shares and investments. Most billionaires are very business savvy and have expert financial advisors who can accurately advise them about which businesses to invest in.
- Rental income – Rental income comes from buying property and renting it out. While buying a property can require quite a large amount of money upfront, over time, you’ll be able to make your investment back and start profiting off your rentals. There are numerous billionaires involved in the property and rental market.
- Capital Gains – This is the money you receive for any assets you own that increase in value. Billionaires are likely to own many such assets.
- Royalty Income – Royalties are paid out for allowing someone to use your idea, design or product. A good example is JK Rowling earning royalties for every copy of her books being sold. As these books will continue to sell for years to come, she’s likely to enjoy a healthy royalty income.
The thing is that most of these income sources are only really worthwhile if you already have a significant amount of money, and in this way, it is often easier for the mega-rich to become even richer. Almost all of the income streams listed above are very difficult for the average person to get into.
#3 In which month are most Billionaires born?
According to various surveys, it appears as if the most popular birth month for billionaires is September, with many famous billionaires being Virgos (including Warren Buffet and Jack Ma). Libra is another popular star sign amongst billionaires and famous billionaires such as Ralph Lauren and Alice Walton fall under this star sign.
So if you’re born in September, the odds may be in your favour when it comes to becoming a billionaire. But in all seriousness, a birth month is simply a coincidence, and to become a billionaire, you’ll either need to be born rich or work exceptionally hard and smart.
#4 How old are billionaires?
It often takes billionaires most of their lifetime to hit the big nine zeros, and most billionaires are between the ages of 50 and 70. That being said, we are seeing more and more younger billionaires such as Mark Zuckerburg and Kylie Jenner.
#5 Which country has the most billionaires?
The United States has the most billionaires and is home to 28% of the world’s billionaires, with most of the mega-rich living in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. China comes in a close second and has seen the most growth in billionaires in the past couple of years. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has the third biggest concentration of billionaires, around 151 billionaires in total.
India and the rest of Asia are predicted to produce many more billionaires in the near future.
#6 Which billionaires are the most charitable
With so much wealth available to them, it is no wonder that so many billionaires are very charitable. While they are under no obligation to give to charity, there are many people who expect them to and believe that it is the duty of billionaires to be charitable.
J.K Rowling fell off the Forbes Billionaires’ List when she gave away millions to various charities.
Bill Gates has announced that the majority of his wealth will go to charity when he dies and plans to leave ‘just’ $10million for each of his children. He is not holding off giving until he dies, though, and both Bill and his wife Melinda have donated around $10billion to causes such as health care and economic development.
Warren Buffet is known to be one of the most charitable men in the world, and it is said that he has donated almost half of his wealth to various philanthropic causes.
George Soros is another generous billionaire who has given around $3.1billion to human rights causes and economic development in Eastern Europe.
Mark Zuckerburg famously gave away $900 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundations.
With poverty and lack of government funding being such a prevalent occurrence in countries around the world, there are many human rights activists calling on billionaires to ‘give while they live’ and give away 5% of their wealth to worthy causes each year.
#7 What do billionaires spend their money on?
The average billionaire has around $80 million to spend how they please each year. It is quite hard to comprehend being a billionaire and the spending power that they have. The richest in the world can spend $88,000, with the effect being the same as the average American spending $1. So, what do the mega-rich spend their money on?
Obviously, many billionaires enjoy the finer things in life and spend their money on lavish items such as mansions, private jets, sports cars, yachts, and designer clothing. Many billionaires own homes in a handful of countries and have a garage full of cars.
Others prefer to live a bit more frugally and enjoy a relatively ‘normal’ life. Billionaires like Mark Zuckerburg are known for wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt almost every day. That being said, Zuckerburg owns multiple houses, two of which are in Hawaii.
Art, collectables, and unique one-of-a-kind items are where billionaires can show off their taste and personality while supporting famous artists and designers. Alice Walton is famous for spending a whopping $44.4 million on a Georgia O’ Keef painting.
How would you spend your $80 million each year?
#8 Which billionaires are women?
Money knows no age, race, sexuality, or gender. Of all the billionaires in the world, approximately 8.5% per cent of them are women, with some of the most famous women billionaires being Oprah Winfrey and Kylie Jenner, who is also the world’s youngest billionaire.
The richest women in the world, including Alice Walton and Mackenzie Scott, are not as highly publicised as men, and they lead relatively low profile lives even though they are incredibly successful women. The top 10 richest women in the world are definitely not as famous as the top 10 richest men. Most women billionaires are from China, and China is home to 66% of the world’s women billionaires.
According to the Hurun Global Rich List, there are 51 more women on the list than last year. Women have only relatively recently been afforded the same financial and career opportunities as men, so it is expected that we will see more and more women becoming billionaires in the future.
#9 How many billionaires are there in the world
According to the Hurun Global Rich List, there are approximately 3288 billionaires in the world as of 2021. In 2020, we saw many more billionaires being added to the rich list, around 8 per week! Despite the global pandemic and the economic hardships that COVID-19 brought, the list of billionaires kept growing, and their accumulative wealth grew 32%, resulting in a whopping $14.7 trillion. Three billionaires, including Elon Musk, added a very impressive $50 billion to their wealth last year. This rise in billionaires and the wealth of billionaires can be largely attributed to a stock market boom.
Some of the most famous (and richest) on the Hurun Global Rich List are Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, and Warren Buffet.
With the way things are going, we can expect the official list of billionaires to continue growing.
#10 Is it possible to be a billionaire in secret?
The lives of famous billionaires are often very public and garner a lot of media attention. Once the world knows that you’re a billionaire, you really need to upgrade your security and be careful with what you say and do. You may find yourself in a position where people only want to be friends with you and get to know you for your money.
So, is it possible to be a secret billionaire and not have the whole world know about the large amount in your bank account” Well…yes. Because there is no alarm that goes off as soon as you make your first billion, it is very possible to be a billionaire in secret. There may even be billionaires out there that are completely unaware of the fact that they are billionaires.
Of course, many people would probably suspect that you’re doing quite well for yourself, but if you keep a low profile and lead a relatively simple life, you should be able to fly under the radar. The more glamorous and opulent your lifestyle is, the more attention you’re likely to draw attention to yourself, and this is when people, and the media, could start making speculations about your net worth.