5 Ways to Join the 1,826 People in the Billionaires' Club
By Maryalene LaPonsie
The Forbes annual list of billionaires hit the web earlier this month, highlighting the 1,826 people who have so much money I can't even begin to imagine what they do with it. Maybe you're feeling a little jealous and wishing you could join their ranks. Well, here are five ways to do just that.
1. Have Super-Rich Relatives
The vast majority of the world's billionaires made their own money, but a couple hundred can thank a relative for their spot on the list of wealthiest humans in the world. In 2015, Forbes reports 230 inherited their wealth, while another 405 inherited part of their wealth. Here are a couple of examples:
- Laurene Powell Jobs: Coming in at No. 45 on the list, the widow of Apple's Steve Jobs has a $19.4 billion net worth.
- Carrie Perrodo: Farther down the list, in the No. 149 spot, is Carrie Perrodo. The widow of entrepreneur Hubert Perrodo, a French oil mogul, polo player and art collector. She is worth $8.8 billion.
- Jorn, Finn and Kirsten Rausing: The Rausing siblings share in the fortune created by their grandfather's Tetra Pak invention, but somehow Jorn has come out ahead. He landed at No. 271 on the Forbes list with a net worth of $5.5 billion, while his siblings share the No. 301 spot and each have a net worth of $5.1 billion. (Family get-togethers must be awkward).
2. Get In On the Ground Floor of a Hot, New Trend
You could figure out what the kids want to do next and be first in line to give them what they want. That's how lots of the young billionaires on the Forbes list made their money.
- Mark Zuckerberg: So young! So rich! The 30-year-old became the 16th richest person in the world and accumulated a $33.4 billion net worth by creating Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg knew we would want to share everything about our life with the world before we knew we wanted to share everything about our life with the world.
- Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy: At age 24 and 26 respectively, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy are the youngest people on the Forbes list, worth $1.5 billion each and sharing the No. 1,250 spot. They founded SnapChat, an app that lets users send photos that disappear after being viewed, perfect for sexting teens who don't want to get caught.
- Travis Kalanick: Ranked No. 283 and worth $5.3 billion, 38-year-old Travis Kalanick founded Uber, the service that lets just about anyone turn their car into a taxi.
3. Invent Something Spectacular
If you're up to the challenge, you might want to try creating an invention that revolutionizes the world. Play your cards right, and it could make you a billionaire. At least, that strategy worked for these folks.
- Bill Gates: Yes, Bill Gates, richest man in the world for 16 of the last 21 years, is not an inventor in the Thomas Edison sense of the world. He didn't invent the computer or microprocessors, but he did invent new ways of using them and made personal computers a staple in every home. For that, he's worth $79.2 billion today.
- Sara Blakely: Fifteen years ago, Sara Blakely invented the body-slimming lingerie Spanx. As her reward, Blakely is now worth $1 billion and is No. 1,741 on the list of world billionaires.
- James Dyson: You may have seen billionaire No. 318 on television commercials, extolling the virtues of his Dyson vacuum cleaners. So many people apparently agree they're the greatest thing since sliced bread that Dyson is now worth $4.9 billion.
4. Play Your Investments Right
Of course, starting a business and marketing your product is a lot of hard work. Wouldn't it be easier to simply make money off the companies that already exist? Why yes it would, some billionaires might say, such as these men who made a fortune off their investments:
- Warren Buffett: Of course we have to include Warren Buffett here. He became the third richest man in the world, with a net worth of $72.7 billion, thanks to the smart investments he made as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
- Carl Icahn: Only 30 people in the world are richer than Carl Icahn, who is ranked No. 31 thanks to his Icahn Capital Management firm. According to Forbes, Apple and Herbalife contribute to the investor's $23.5 billion net worth.
- Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud: Over in Saudi Arabia, Prince Alwaleed can thank his stake in the Kingdom Holding Co. for much of his $22.8 billion net worth. Forbes ranks him No. 34 on the billionaires list.
5. Leverage the Biggest Economy in the World
Finally, there seems to be a new breed of billionaires, one that is making money off the purchasing power of 1.4 billion Chinese citizens. Of course, these billionaires may have started in China, but they aren't necessarily content to only do business there. Here are a few of the names making a splash, thanks to the China economy; ones you are sure to hear about in the years to come.
- Jack Ma: Some say the founder of the e-commerce site Alibaba is poised to give Amazon a run for its money. How that will play out is up for debate, but there is no denying Jack Ma is the 33rd richest person in the world, with a net worth of $22.7 billion in 2015.
- Lei Jun: Xiaomi sold 61 million smartphones last year and is what some call the Apple of China. It also made co-founder Lei Jun No. 87 on the Forbes list, worth $13.3 billion.
- Wei Jianjun: Don't assume Americans are the only ones with a love of sport utility vehicles. Great Wall Motors makes them in China, and the company has helped propel its chairman, Wei Jianjun, to a net worth of $8.9 billion and a ranking of No. 147.