When Do People Make Their Wealth?
We all know the success stories of prodigies and young billionaires who made their wealth at an early age. However, the compiled research shows that it takes approximately 32 years to become a billionaire. This means most billionaires did not find immediate success. In fact, the average age of business founders is about 40. So, if you are still hoping to join Forbes’ list of billionaires, there is still time. Here are 10 people who made their wealth later in life.
15 People Who Made Their Wealth Later in Life
1. Donald Fisher (37) – $3.3 billion
Donald Fisher claimed his success as the founder of Gap Inc. after a career as a real estate developer. At 37, he launched the company in San Francisco by selling music and clothing. Eventually, he branched out across the United States and introduced affiliated stores Old Navy and the Banana Republic. At the time of his death in 2009, his net worth was $3.3 billion.
2. Martin Lorentzon (37) – $5.5 billion
After university and time in Silicon valley, Swedish billionaire Martin Lorentzon went on to make several important connections and form multiple companies. However, it was his partnership with Daniel Ek that led to his billion-dollar idea: Spotify. Today, this music streaming service has over 365 active monthly users, with 165 million paying subscribers. He is presently worth an impressive $5.5 billion, but this is likely to increase as Spotify continues to grow.
3. Amancio Ortega (39) – $80 billion
Due to his founding role with the Inditex group, the parent company of the famous fashion retailer Zara, Amancio Ortega is one of the wealthiest people in Europe, but also the entire world. Although his clothing lines have amassed this Spanish billionaire quite a fortune, he made his wealth later in life at the age of 39. While he is not currently listed as the richest man in the world, his investments earn him more than $400 million per year in dividends alone. Including all his business assets and real estate holdings, Ortega has a net worth of $80 billion.
4. Dietrich Mateschitz (40) – $24.1 billion
As a former marketing executive, Austrian billionaire Dietrich Matechitz stumbled across his cash cow during his international travels. In 1984, he discovered an unusual energy drink called Krating Daeng and soon after went into business with Thai entrepreneur Chaleo Yoovidhya. With the introduction of Red Bull, they exploded into the market with extreme stunts and aggressive advertising campaigns.
It gained popularity across Europe and reached the United States, grabbing 75% of the market share in 1997. Their promotional cars and aircraft, sports sponsorships, and music label have expanded the brand even further. Today its products are sold in 171 countries. While the company is currently valued at just under €16 billion, or $17.9 million. However, Mateschitz’s personal net worth is $24.1 billion.
5. Vera Wang (40) – $270 million
This former figure skater turned fashion icon made her wealth later in life as well. After Vera Wang failed to qualify for the Olympics, she started at Vogue after college. She eventually became editor-in-chief of the magazine. Not only did she maneuver her way to the top of the corporate world, but also became a highly influential voice in directing fashion trends.
However, she made her fortune after she started designing her own gowns at age 40. Today, Vera Wang couture and clothing are highly sought after by the Hollywood elite. Moreover, they regularly appear on runways around the world. According to the Forbes list, Wang is currently worth $270 million.
6. Martha Stewart (40) – $400 million
In her early years, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker on Wall Street. After she discovered her true talents, she began building her brand. First, she owned a catering business, then published cookbooks, and founded her own magazine. Martha Stewart became a billionaire when her company went public in 1999.
However, things quickly went south for her. She served 5 months in prison for obstruction of justice and making false statements. Since then the company has been sold twice. However, she has rebuilt her reputation and her brand since then. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she is estimated to be worth about $400 million today. Martha Stewart is an unusual example of someone who made their wealth later in life, lost it, and managed to reclaim success.
7. Wolgang Marguerre (42) – $9.5 billion
You may be surprised to learn that the founder and CEO of Octapharma, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of blood plasma, did not strike it rich until he was well into middle age. At 42, he founded his company in Switzerland which has grown into a multi-billion dollar operation. It now operates production plants in six countries and earns annual revenue of $2.6 billion.
Although controversy threatened his company when journalists claimed Octapharma was exploiting and endangering peoples’ lives, it continues to thrive. There are more than 70 donation centers in the U.S. alone, the company nets billions in profit selling its products. And, Wolgang Marguerre maintains a personal net worth of $9.5 billion.
8. Sam Walton (44) – $15 billion
Everyone knows the Walmart name, but not many know that Sam Walton didn’t strike it rich until well after 40. He claimed his spot on this list for founding the retail giant in 1962. After a successful career at JC Penney, he left to manage his own store at 44. One thing that set him apart from his competition was his emphasis on logistics. He took a single sporting goods store and created a global empire. Today his family is among the wealthiest people in the world. Their net worth far surpasses Sam Walton’s $15 billion when he died in 1992.
9. David Duffield (47) – $13 billion
David Duffield is the creator of several software companies including PeopleSoft, Integral Systems, and Information Associates. He made his fortune when his company grew to one of the largest software application companies worldwide. Eventually, Oracle bought out the company in 2005. Duffield is currently estimated to have a net worth of about $13 billion.
10. Henry Ford (49) – $200 billion
Henry Ford founded Ford Motors and became one of the richest men in history. He began as an engineer for Edison Illuminating Company where he met Thomas Edison. When he discussed his idea, other engineers encouraged him to build the automobile. He eventually started his own business in 1899 introducing the Model T car. Since then, the Ford empire has expanded exponentially. At the time of his death in 1947, he had accumulated a fortune equivalent to about $200 billion today.
11. Charles Darwin (50) – $400 million
Charles Darwin is one of the most revered names among the scientific community. As a famous biologist and geologist, he had several significant contributions to academia. Although, the moment he set sail on the HMS Beagle his life changed forever. His findings during his voyage led to the theories of evolution and natural selection.
However, he didn’t make his fortune until he published the “Origin of Species” at the age of 50. Charles Darwin is also among the people who made their wealth later in life. He was worth approximately $16 million when he died in 1882, which is valued at slightly more than $400 million today.
12. Betty White (51) – $85 million
Although many people know and admire Betty White as a comedic actress, they don’t know that she is another celebrity who made their wealth later in life. She has been a pioneer for both her work in front of and behind the camera. However, it was her role on the Mary Tyler Moore Show which launched her career at the age of 51.
White went on to star in many other famous sitcoms and movies, and continues to be among Hollywood’s most beloved actresses. Her current net worth is $85 million.
13.Taikichiro Mori (51) – $13 billion
Before Taikichiro Mori became a real estate mogul, he served as Dean of Commerce at Yokohama City University. Once he retired from the university, he used his knowledge to become a real estate investor. He went on to found the Mori Building Company which became wildly successful. Between 1991-1992, Taikichiro Mori was the richest man in the world. When he died, Mori’s net worth was estimated to be about $13 billion.
14. Ray Kroc (52) – $600 million
When Ray Kroc saw his golden opportunity, he was selling milkshake machines. After he met the McDonald’s brothers, he joined their company in 1954. There is much controversy surrounding his rise to success. However, no one can deny Ray Kroc’s influence in making McDonald’s a household name.
When he gained the company, he took it to heights that had never been imagined. McDonald’s is now worth more than $33 billion today and has locations in nearly every country. Ray Kroc was pivotal in launching the brand and was amply rewarded for his efforts. At the time of his death in 1984, Kroc was worth approximately $600 million.
15. Arianna Huffington (55) – $100 million
Our last person on the list of people who made their wealth later in life continues on an upward slope. Arianna Huffington began her career as a successful author, columnist, and political commentator. Some have even called her one of the most influential and powerful women in the world because of her media platform and global reach. She founded the news publication Huffington Post which later sold to AOL for $315 million. Since then, she has been heavily involved in other successful companies such as Thrive and Uber. Today, her personal worth is about $100 million. However, her new endeavors could launch her to even greater heights.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.