In Money, Wealth

The 10 Billionaires We Don’t Hear About in the Media

We sure hear a lot about Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Bill Gates (Microsoft) or of the Walton family (Wal-Mart), if we pay attention to finance, technology and are interested in hearing about rich people.

Heck, we might even hear about Sweden’s Ingvar Kamprad of IKEA fame, France’s Bernard Arnault (Louis Vuitton and the LVMH Group) or Liliane Bettencourt (L’Oreal), Mexico’s Carlos Slim who owns America Movil, the largest cellphone operator in the Americas, or Hong Kong’s Li Ka-Shing of real estate mogul fame.

But what about the others of the world who are billionaires but are quietly hiding in the background?

Here are my choice picks of billionaires I did not immediately know the names of.

1. SPAIN — AMANCIO ORTEGA – $59.1B

He owns 59% of Zara, and extremely popular women’s clothing chain that I unfortunately do not shop at any longer.

Read: Is your cheap sweater slowly killing you with toxic chemicals?

2. USA — CHARLES KOCH – $43.6B

Charles-Koch-Billionaire-6

He owns 42% of Koch Industries, which deals in oil refining, pipelines, commodities trading, ranching and paper pulp, and has annual sales of $115 billion.

His father David, also owns 42% of Koch Industries and is in spot #7 right beside him.

3. SAUDI ARABIA — ALWALEED AL SAUD – $27.6B

He owns Kingdom Holding which has hotels, real estate and other securities, and 80% in Rotana a media company in the Middle East.


4. INDIA — MUKESH AMBANI –  $27B

Mukesh owns 45% of Reliance Industries which deals in oil refinery and gas.

5. USA — SHELDON ADELSON – $25.9B

Sheldon-Adelson-Spot-18-Billonaire

He owns the majority of the casino Las Vegas Sands.

6. SWEDEN — STEFAN PERSSON – $24.9B

Chairman and largest shareholder of H&M, which I also unfortunately don’t shop at any longer. That said, the chain is the best of the worst of those cheap retailers.

Read: Is your cheap sweater slowly killing you with toxic chemicals?

7. HONG KONG — LEE SHAU KEE – $24.7B

Founder and largest shareholder of Henderson Land Development, and is a real estate mogul in Hong Kong, Macau and its surrounding territories.

8. ITALY — MICHELE FERRERO – $24.6B

If his last name sounds familiar, it’s because he IS the Ferrero Guy, not to mention ALSO being the Nutella, Kinder chocolate eggs and Tic Tac guy.

9. CANADA — DAVID THOMSON – $23.6B

David-Thomson-Reuters-Billionaire

FINALLY A CANADIAN!

He’s of Thomson-Reuters intelligent news source fame, owning 55% of the company and the Winnipeg Jets pro hockey team to boot.

10. UKRAINE — RINAT AKHMETOV – $22.3B

He owns System Capital Management, which deals in metallurgy, mining and energy, and steel.

All of the above profiles can be looked at in detail via Bloomberg.

BILLIONAIRES ARE, ON THE MOST PART, SELF-MADE

Surprising right?

But if you click on their profiles in Bloomberg, you will find it hard to see anything but the words SELF-MADE in the right-hand section of their profile.

It’s not only impressive, it’s heartening because before getting into personal finance, one might imagine that people inherited all of their money from their parents or grandparents.

(And by ‘one’, I meant myself..)

THERE AREN’T MANY WOMEN BILLIONAIRES

Just check it out, a measly 12 women on a list of 100, or just 12%!

I am not saying this is anyone’s fault, but it does goes to show that women are underrepresented in the world of wealth for a whole bunch of possible reasons.

CAN YOU EVER IMAGINE YOU’D BECOME A BILLIONAIRE?

Personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath on becoming a billionaire.

I’m content to be where I am today, knowing I am part of 99.99% of the population here, and not an outlier.

Money is nice, but I’ll bet when they got beyond a certain threshold in the millions, it became less important.

What’s probably important to these billionaires is 3 things:

  1. Being richer than the person next to them (guys might want to try and beat Carlos Slim)
  2. Keeping that wealth for generations to come
  3. Working hard and earning even more money to show how successful they are

These people have either inherited family businesses they’ve grown up on for years (the 3 Mars heirs in spots #29 – #31 come to mind), and want to make sure that it continues to live on for years to come.

Or, they’ve started their own businesses and want that to be their legacy in the world.

Whatever it is, their motivation is most likely not to just get more money like the rest of us.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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10 Comments

  1. Jover2

    Adelson and Koch are in the news all of the time for essentially buying election results… not really sure why they are included in this list.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I guess I was glib in saying “media”. Was referring more to the names as being household ones.

      Reply
  2. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    I don’t think I’ll ever be a billionaire and I am completely okay with that!!!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I think too much money can also be a curse

      Reply
  3. Kathy

    The Walton family inherited their billions from father Sam Walton, but continued to grow their money by staying involved in the business. Otherwise, you are right. Most billionaires are self-made which makes me wonder why there is so much class envy and vilification of them (oftentimes by people running for political office). If they didn’t steal their money or get it illegally, it should give someone something to strive for. Perhaps not billions but certainly more than a pittance.

    Reply
    1. Aleksie

      @Kathy:
      Some of the folks (not all, of course) get wealthy from being unethical. It may not be theft or illegal, but I would argue that child labor, poor pay, no benefits to employees, and so on are not exactly ways I’d be proud of becoming wealthy.

      The tax breaks, at least in the US, are extraordinary as well. Self-made is also subjective. These billionaires, on a whole, often come from at least middle class-ish families and have access to things that others do not. It’s different from inheriting the family business, and I’m not knocking their work ethic. However, I wouldn’t consider most people self-made given their familial circumstances.

      Reply
      1. save. spend. splurge.

        The problem is they are so removed from those situations that they feel detached from it all. It isn’t in their face on a daily basis.

        Reply
    2. save. spend. splurge.

      It’s easier to be jealous than to be motivated and then forced to do the work.

      Reply
  4. moneystepper

    I like reading these lists – gives me a great deal of inspiration, not necessarily to become a billionaire, but just that I can achieve things by not following the normal corporate route (which is lucky because that is what I’ve just given up!).

    Thanks for the timely inspiration! 🙂

    Reply

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