Billionaire Late Bloomers, by Age of Breakthrough
More often than not, individuals and media alike focus on the success stories of early bloomers.
These early-age accomplishments of some of the richest people in the world are highlighted as marvels. The early achievements of hoodie-wearing CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel—who became billionaires at ages 23 and 25, respectively—come to mind.
But there’s also the case to be made for the late bloomer. According to the Census Bureau, a 35-year-old is three times more likely to found a successful start-up than someone aged 22.
The infographic above, from Virtual College, highlights 45 billionaires who had their breakthrough later in life, by the age of their respective breakthrough.
Billionaires With Career Breakthroughs at or After Age 35
Though these late successes span many different industries and countries, there are many consistent through lines.
The 45 billionaires highlighted had an average age of 41 and an average net worth of $10 billion.
|Billionaire||Company||Age of Breakthrough||Net Worth ($B)||Nationality|
|Eduardo Eurnekian||Corporacion America||56||$1.3||🇦🇷 Argentina|
|Issad Rebrab||Cevital||54||$4.8||🇩🇿 Algeria|
|Torstein Hagen||Viking Cruises||54||$1.5||🇳🇴 Norway|
|Ion Tiriac||Banca Tiriac||51||$1.7||🇷🇴 Romania|
|Mike Adenuga||Globacom||50||$6.1||🇳🇬 Nigeria|
|Hussain Sajwani||Damac Properties||49||$2.4||🇦🇪 UAE|
|Radhakishan Damani||Dmart||48||$16.5||🇮🇳 India|
|Robert Kuok||Shangra-La Hotels and Resorts||48||$12.6||🇲🇾 Malaysia|
|Ricardo Po||Century Pacific||47||$1.1||🇵🇭 Philippines|
|Alain Tarvella||Altarea Cogedim Group||46||$2.0||🇫🇷 France|
|Seo Jung-Jin||Celltrion||44||$14.2||🇰🇷 South Korea|
|James Dyson||Dyson Ltd||44||$9.7||🇬🇧 UK|
|Walter Faria||Grupo Petropolis||43||$2.9||🇧🇷 Brazil|
|Horst Paulmann||Cencosud||43||$3.3||🇨🇱 Chile|
|Wolfgang Marguerre||Octapharma Group||42||$9.1||🇩🇪 Germany|
|Giorgio Armani||Giorgio Armani S.p.A.||41||$7.7||🇮🇹 Italy|
|Dietrich Mateschitz||Red Bull||40||$29.6||🇦🇹 Austria|
|Sergei Katsiev||Megapolis||40||$1.7||🇷🇺 Russia|
|Li Xiting||Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics||40||$21.5||🇸🇬 Singapore|
|Jim Simmons||Renaissance Technologies||40||$24.6||🇺🇸 U.S.|
|Richard White||WiseTech Global||39||$3.5||🇦🇺 Australia|
|Amancio Ortega||Zara||39||$77||🇪🇸 Spain|
|Barry Lam||Quanta Computer||39||$5.3||🇹🇼 Taiwan|
|Arnon Milchan||New Regency Enterprises||38||$3.4||🇮🇱 Israel|
|Taha Mikati||Investcom||38||$2.5||🇱🇧 Lebanon|
|Arnout Schuijff||Adyen||38||$3.5||🇳🇱 Netherlands|
|Chuchat & Daonapa Petampai||Muangthai Capital||38||$3.5||🇹🇭 Thailand|
|Jaime Gilinski Bacal||Banco De Colombia||37||$3.8||🇨🇴 Colombia|
|Mohamed Al Fayed||Genevaco (Ritz Paris, Harrods)||37||$1.8||🇪🇬 Egypt|
|Vardis Vardinyannis||Motor Oil Hellas||37||$1.4||🇬🇷 Greece|
|German Larrea Mota-Velasco||Grupo Mexico||37||$25.9||🇲🇽 Mexico|
|Martin Lorentzon||Spotify||37||$6.0||🇸🇪 Sweden|
|Tran Ba Duong||Traco||37||$1.6||🇻🇳 Vietnam|
|Strive Masiyiwa||Econet Global||37||$1.5||🇿🇼 Zimbabwe|
|Zygmunt Solorz-Zak||Polsat||36||$3.2||🇵🇱 Poland|
|Mehmet Aydinlar||Acibadem Healthcare Group||36||$1.3||🇹🇷 Turkey|
|Joseph Tsai||Alibaba Group||35||$11.6||🇨🇦 Canada|
|Jack Ma||Alibaba Group||35||$48.4||🇨🇳 China|
|Eduard Kucera||Avast||35||$1.1||🇨🇿 Czech Republic|
|Bidzina Ivanishvili||Rossiysky Kredit||35||$4.8||🇬🇪 Georgia|
|Tahir||The Mayapada Group||35||$3.3||🇮🇩 Indonesia|
|John Armitage||Egerton Capital||35||$2.6||🇮🇪 Ireland|
|Tadashi Yanai||Uniqlo||35||$44.1||🇯🇵 Japan|
|Richard Hart||Raynolds Packaging Group||35||$8.7||🇳🇿 New Zealand|
Here are just a few highlights of late career breakthroughs:
Ma is best known for co-founding Alibaba and becoming one of China’s wealthiest people, but his start came rather unexpectedly. After failing to secure jobs as a fresh graduate and starting his own translation company, Ma went on a business trip to the U.S. and discovered the internet (and a lack of Chinese websites). Over time, he connected Chinese companies with American coders to create websites, and soon saw room in the market for a business-to-business marketplace, which became Alibaba. The company secured millions in investment and would go on to become one of China’s leading forces in tech, all without Ma writing a single line of code.
As the former CEO of fashion chain Zara and its parent company Inditex, Ortega is Europe’s third wealthiest person. That success came after opening the first Zara store in 1975 with his then-wife Rosalía Mera, with their store focusing on cheaper versions of high-end fashion. Ortega fine-tuned the design and manufacturing process to produce new trends more quickly, helping to pioneer the concept of “fast fashion,” and soon becoming a fashion powerhouse.
Simons was once lauded as the world’s greatest investor, largely due to his outlandish returns of over 60% before fees. But he actually started in the academic field, acquiring a PhD in mathematics—he worked in many faculties, and even as a codebreaker for the NSA. Eventually, Simons utilized his mathematical knowledge on Wall Street, where he had his breakthrough in 1982 by starting his model-based hedge fund—Renaissance Technologies, and built a net worth of $24.6 billion.
One of the 60 richest people in the world, Austrian businessman Mateschitz got his start in marketing for Unilever and then cosmetics company Blendax. His breakthrough came on a business trip to Thailand, where the 40-year-old discovered that the local energy drink Krating Daeng helped his jet lag. Mateschitz and the drink’s creator, Chaleo Yoovidhya, each put up $500,000 to turn the drink into an exported energy brand, and Red Bull was born.
Before Dyson was a household name of vacuums, fans, and dryers, The UK’s James Dyson was an industrial engineer with many ideas for inventions. After getting frustrated with the bags of Hoover vacuum cleaners, Dyson had the idea for a bagless cyclone vacuum, and developed one after more than 5,000 prototypes over five years (and supported by his wife’s salary). At first he couldn’t find a manufacturer or success in the UK, so Dyson instead sold his vacuums in Japan and ended up winning the 1991 International Design Fair Prize there. Thirty years later, Dyson’s success led to a royal knighting and becoming the fourth richest person in the UK.
Late Bloomers: The Rule Not The Exception
It’s helpful to remember that these stories might be incredible and successful on a grand scale, but they are not entirely unique.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of successful businesses have been founded by middle-aged people and the average age of a company’s founder at the time of founding is 41.9 years. Experience definitely pays dividends, and the saying that “life is a marathon, not a sprint” seems especially true for this list of late breakthrough billionaires.
Mapped: The Migration of the World’s Millionaires in 2023
Where do the world’s wealthiest people want to live? This map tracks the migration of the world’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs).
Mapping the Migration of the World’s Millionaires 2023
Just like everyone else, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) traveled less than usual during the pandemic, and as a result their migration numbers trended downwards. But millionaires and billionaires are on the move again and it is anticipated that 122,000 HNWIs will move to a new country by the end of the year.
Henley & Partners’ Private Wealth Migration Report has tracked the countries HNWIs have moved from and to over the last 10 years; this map showcases the 2023 forecasts.
In this context, HNWIs are defined as individuals with a net worth of at least $1 million USD.
The Countries Welcoming New Millionaires
The top 10 countries which are likely to become home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires in 2023 are scattered across the globe, with Australia reclaiming its top spot this year from the UAE.
Here’s a closer look at the data:
|Rank||Country||Projected HNWI Inflow 2023|
|10||🇳🇿 New Zealand||700|
Only two Asian countries make the top 10, with the rest spread across Europe, North America, and Oceania.
Despite historic economic challenges, Greece is projected to gain 1,200 High Net Worth Individuals this year. One reason could be the country’s golden visa program, wherein wealthy individuals can easily obtain residence and eventually EU passports for the right price—currently a minimum real estate investment cost of 250,000 euros is all that’s required.
Many of the leading millionaire destinations are attractive for wealthy individuals because of higher levels of economic freedom, allowing for laxer tax burdens or ease of investment. Singapore, which expects to gain 3,200 millionaires, is the most economically free market in the world.
The Countries Losing the Most Millionaires
China is anticipated to lose 13,500 High Net Worth Individuals this year, more than double as many as the second place country, India (6,500).
Here’s a closer look at the bottom 10:
|Rank||Country||Projected HNWI Outflow 2023|
|6||🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||-1,000|
|7||🇰🇷 South Korea||-800|
|9||🇿🇦 South Africa||-500|
In a number of these countries, strict regulatory bodies and corrupt governments can hinder the ease with which HNWIs can manage their own money.
In Russia, many wealthy individuals are facing personal tariffs and trade restrictions from Western countries due to the war in Ukraine. China’s crackdowns on Hong Kong have made it a less attractive place for business. And finally, the UK’s exit from the EU has caused many businesses and individuals to lose the easy movement of labor, finances, and investment that made operations across European borders seamless.
Some of these countries may still be adding homegrown millionaires and billionaires, but losing thousands of HNWIs to net migration does have a considerable economic impact.
Overall, millionaires are increasingly on the move. In the 10 years of reporting—despite a dip during the pandemic—the number of HNWIs moving away from their countries of origin has been growing every year.
Here’s a look at the numbers:
|Year||Projected HNWI Migration|
In a geopolitically fragile but more connected world, it’s no surprise to see millionaires voting with their feet. As a result, governments are increasingly in competition to win the hearts and minds of the world’s economic elite to their side.
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