Whether born into wealth or self-made, there are billionaires in every age bracket. But when we compiled this list of the richest of them all—starting from those in their 20s all the way to those in their 90s—self-made American businessmen dominate the group, without much diversity.
Bill Gates is still the world’s richest man, much to the dismay of Jeff Bezos. We've made a list of their billionaire colleagues, arranged by generation and the factors that have contributed to their net worth.
Net Worth Source: Forbes 2017 Billionaires
CEO and co-founder of Snapchat
At 27, Spiegel is the world’s youngest billionaire. And after Snap began trading earlier this year, he was also named the youngest public CEO. He and his co-founder Bobby Murphy each own 18 percent of the company but still control the board through their voting shares. Snapchat remains popular among millennials and those from Generation Z in sending disappearing messages. The app was conceived during Spiegel’s Stanford fraternity days when he and his Kappa Sigma brothers had a conversation about sending private messages to each other.
Chief technology officer and co-founder of Snapchat
Many recognize Spiegel as the face of Snapchat but Murphy is the brains behind the operation, although he chooses to remain under the radar. Spiegel approached Murphy, a fresh graduate from Stanford, to develop the app. The 29-year-old Filipino American took up mathematical and computational science and worked 18 hours a day to create the Snapchat code and prototype.
Co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dropout triumph story is well-known among those who aspire to have his tremendous success. He founded Facebook at the age of 19 and it’s since grown to be the biggest social network in the world with a current user base of two billion people monthly. The company acquired photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012 and also attempted to buy out Snapchat.
Founder of Google and CEO of Alphabet Inc.
BackRub. That was the initial name Page and his partner Sergey Brin gave their search engine, now known as Google. In 1997, the pair registered the domain Google.com. As the company grew, Page gave up his title to allow Eric Schmidt to run it in 2001, only to take it back 10 years later. He’s now CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and is currently investing in two flying car startups.
CEO and Founder of Amazon
The man behind the online retailer recently made headlines around the world after he surpassed Bill Gates as the world’s richest man. The celebration was short-lived (he only held the title for a few hours). With 17 percent of shares in the company making him the largest stakeholder of Amazon, he has steadily risen in Forbes' billionaire ranking. Apart from Amazon, he is also an investor in another passion: space travel. Through aerospace company Blue Origin he’s been exploring new projects related to space exploration.
Founder and board member of Microsoft
Bill Gates has held the title of world’s richest man for the past 23 years. At the age of 31, he was the world’s youngest billionaire. It took many risks to get him there. After dropping out of Harvard, he worked 16-hour days for five years to work on his startup. It all paid off. Since stepping down as CEO of Microsoft, Gates has been focusing on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a charity he runs with his wife.
Carlos Slim Helu
Honorary chairman, America Movil
Carlos Slim Helu might not be as well-known as his American counterparts but he’s Mexico’s richest man and one of The New York Times’ largest individual stakeholders. He and his family manage America Movil, a large telecom firm in Latin America. He also owns stakes in over 200 companies, as well as Telmex, a Mexican telecommunications company.
CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffett is one of the few on this list who didn’t earn his riches from a tech startup. The brilliant investor from Omaha, Nebraska holds the majority of shares in Berkshire Hathaway, whose subsidiaries include Geico, Duracell, Kraft Heinz, Shaw Industries, among many other companies. Together with Bill and Melinda Gates, Buffett started The Giving Pledge, which aims to urge wealthy people to donate their wealth to charity.
Principal shareholder of L’Oréal
Bettencourt owes the bulk of her riches to her father, Eugene Schueller, who left her the cosmetics company, L’Oréal, and all its subsidiaries in 1957. With 33 percent ownership of its shares, 94-year-old Bettencourt is the world’s richest woman. Her position on the board has been handed over to her grandson since she suffers from dementia. The company is now managed by her daughter and two grandsons.