It's perhaps the ultimate status symbol in Silicon Valley: You're so rich, so successful, you voluntarily slash your salary to nothing. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook billionaire, just joined that club. SEC filings show that in 2013, he will earn just $1, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Starting in January 2013, Zuckerberg, 28, cut his salary to $1 and agreed not to take an annual performance bonus, either, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reports. Of course, Zuckerberg -- estimated to be worth $13 billion -- will not exactly miss the salary. As The Telegraph reports, Zuckerberg earned almost $2.3 billion last year by cashing in stock options at precisely the right time -- shortly before Facebook's stock price took a nosedive after its much-maligned public offering.
The SEC filing also revealed that Zuckerberg's total compensation rose last year by 16 percent because of his use of company jets.
As Quartz notes, Zuckerberg joins a long list of insanely rich Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who take $1 salaries because they're sitting on piles of stock. On the list: Apple founder Steve Jobs, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Oracle's Larry Ellison and Zynga's Mark Pincus. Yahoo's Jerry Yang was making $1 in salary before he was forced out.
The $1 trend, however, has done nothing to lessen the growing income inequality in the United States. The average CEO pay is $12.3 million, compared to just $34,645 for the average worker, according to an AFL-CIO analysis of Department of Labor data. That means your average American worker would need to log about 360 years and 10 months to earn the same as a Fortune 500 CEO in one year.
The Mega-Rich: Why I Still Work
Mark Zuckerberg Slashes His Salary To $1 But ...
Despite four decades of chairing or CEO-ing media companies, Alan Meckler, 65, has no plans to quit. Now CEO of media empire WebMediaBrands, and with a net worth of over $400 million, according to Forbes, why does one of the most successful media entrepreneurs of all time keep doing another day, another dollar?
He told Forbes it's "for posterity. Need to go out with another winner."
When grandmother Joanne Gilberts won the lottery in 2007, scooping £1.1 million ($1.7 million) into her bank account, she decided to still return to her £6-an-hour job at a hospital laundry.
"I know it might seem strange to some people but I've been working at the hospital for 21 years, and it is a big part of my life. I just wanted to get back to normality," she told the BBC. "...I'm determined to keep my feet on the ground and just wanted to put my life back on an even keel after all the excitement."
In 60 years, Rupert Murdoch has transformed an Australian news agency into a sprawling global media empire, and racked up a net worth of $9.4 billion in the process. And at 81, he remains on the offensive, with the modest ambitions of conquering the web.
"So long as I can stay mentally alert;-- inquiring, curious -- I want to keep going," he told Esquire." I love my wife and my children, but I don't want to sit around at home with them. We go on safaris and things like that. I can do that for a couple of weeks a year. I'm just not ready to stop, to die."
Al Davis, the coach, general manager, and owner of the Oakland Raiders for 50 years, who's bullishness ultimately led to the creation of the Super Bowl, reportedly said in 2007, at the age of 78, that he wouldn't retire until his team won two more of the Vince Lombardis. Unfortunately, he died first. But his franchise's motto lives on: "Just win, baby!"
Investor of legend Warren tax-me-and-my-rich-friends Buffett, 82, the second richest man in American (with a net worth of around $46 billion) has no plans to retire as chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Even a prostate cancer diagnosis last year failed to trip up his resolve.
The reason is simple. As he said at the 25th anniversary dinner of the Economic Club in Washington: "I'm having the time of my life!"