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 Salary You Need to Buy a Home in 50 U.S. Cities
Is owning a home still realistic? This map lays out the salary you’d need to buy a home in 50 different U.S. metro areas.
This is the Salary You Need to Buy a Home in 50 U.S. Cities
Depending on where you live, owning a home may seem like a far off dream or it could be fairly realistic. In New York City, for example, a person needs to be making at least six figures to buy a home, but in Cleveland you could do it with just over $45,000 a year.
This visual, using data from Home Sweet Home, maps out the annual salary you’d need for home ownership in 50 different U.S. cities.
Note: The map above refers to entire metro areas and uses Q1 2022 data on median home prices. The necessary salary was calculated by the source, looking at the base cost of principal, interest, property tax, and homeowner’s insurance.
Home Ownership Across the U.S.
San Jose is by far the most expensive city when it comes to purchasing a home. A person would need to earn over $330,000 annually to pay off the mortgage at a monthly rate of $7,718.
Here’s a closer look at the numbers:
|Rank||Metro Area||Median Home Price||Salary Needed|
|#7||New York City||$578,100||$129,459|
|#15||Salt Lake City||$556,900||$100,970|
Perhaps surprisingly, Boston residents need slightly higher earnings than New Yorkers to buy a home. The same is also true in Seattle and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, some of the cheapest cities to start buying up real estate in are Oklahoma City and Cleveland.
As of April, the rate of home ownership in the U.S. is 65%. This number represents the share of homes that are occupied by the owner, rather than rented out or vacant.
The American Dream Home
As of the time of this data (Q1 2022), the national yearly fixed mortgage rate sat at 4% and median home price at $368,200. This put the salary needed to buy a home at almost $76,000—the median national household income falls almost $9,000 below that.
But what kind of homes are people looking to purchase? Depending on where you live the type of home and square footage you can get will be very different.
In New York City, for example, there are fairly few stand-alone, single-family houses in the traditional sense—only around 4,000 are ever on the market. People in the Big Apple tend to buy condominiums or multi-family units.
Additionally, if you’re looking for luxury, not even seven figures will get you much in the big cities. In Miami, a million dollars will only buy you 833 square feet of prime real estate.
One thing is for sure: the typical American dream home of the big house with a yard and white picket fence is more attainable in smaller metro areas with ample suburbs.
Buying vs. Renting
The U.S. median household income is $67,500, meaning that today the typical family could only afford a home in about 15 of the 50 metro areas highlighted above, including New Orleans, Buffalo, and Indianapolis.
With the income gap widening in the U.S., the rental market remains a more attractive option for many, especially as prices are finally tapering off. The national median rent price was down nearly 3% from June to July for two-bedroom apartments.
At the end of the day, buying a home can be an important investment and may provide a sense of security, but it will be much easier to do in certain types of cities.
Countries with the Highest Default Risk in 2022
In this infographic, we examine new data that ranks the top 25 countries by their default risk.
Countries with the Highest Default Risk in 2022
In May 2022, the South Asian nation of Sri Lanka defaulted on its debt for the first time. The country’s government was given a 30-day grace period to cover $78 million in unpaid interest, but ultimately failed to pay.
Not only does this impact Sri Lanka’s economic future, but it also raises an important question: which other countries are at risk of default?
To find out, we’ve used data from Bloomberg to rank the countries with the highest default risk.
The Sovereign Debt Vulnerability Ranking
Bloomberg’s Sovereign Debt Vulnerability Ranking is a composite measure of a country’s default risk. It’s based on four underlying metrics:
- Government bond yields (the weighted-average yield of the country’s dollar bonds)
- 5-year credit default swap (CDS) spread
- Interest expense as a percentage of GDP
- Government debt as a percentage of GDP
To better understand this ranking, let’s focus on Ukraine and El Salvador as examples.
|5Y CDS Spread||Interest Expense|
(% of GDP)
(% of GDP)
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||1||31.8%||3,376 bps|
|🇺🇦 Ukraine||8||60.4%||10,856 bps|
1 basis point (bps) = 0.01%
Why are Ukraine’s Bond Yields so High?
Ukraine has high default risk due to its ongoing conflict with Russia. To understand why, consider a scenario where Russia was to assume control of the country. If this happened, it’s possible that Ukraine’s existing debt obligations will never be repaid.
That scenario has prompted a sell-off of Ukrainian government bonds, pushing their value down to nearly 30 cents on the dollar. This means that a bond with face value of $100 could be purchased for $30.
Because yields move in the opposite direction of price, the average yield on these bonds has climbed to a very high 60.4%. As a point of comparison, the yield on a U.S. 10-year government bond is currently 2.9%.
What is a CDS Spread?
Credit default swaps (CDS) are a type of derivative (financial contract) that provides a lender with insurance in the event of a default. The seller of the CDS represents a third party between the lender (investors) and borrower (in this case, governments).
In exchange for receiving coverage, the buyer of a CDS pays a fee known as the spread, which is expressed in basis points (bps). If a CDS has a spread of 300 bps (3%), this means that to insure $100 in debt, the investor must pay $3 per year.
Applying this to Ukraine’s 5-year CDS spread of 10,856 bps (108.56%), an investor would need to pay $108.56 each year to insure $100 in debt. This suggests that the market has very little faith in Ukraine’s ability to avoid default.
Why is El Salvador Ranked Higher?
Despite having lower values in the two metrics discussed above, El Salvador ranks higher than Ukraine because of its larger interest expense and total government debt.
According to the data above, El Salvador has annual interest payments equal to 4.9% of its GDP, which is relatively high. Comparing to the U.S. once more, America’s federal interest costs amounted to 1.6% of GDP in 2020.
When totaled, El Salvador’s outstanding debts are equal to 82.6% of GDP. This is considered high by historical standards, but today it’s actually quite normal.
The next date to watch will be January 2023, as this is when the country’s $800 million sovereign bond reaches maturity. Recent research suggests that if El Salvador were to default, it would experience significant, yet temporary, negative effects.
Another Hot Topic for El Salvador: Bitcoin
In September 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. This means that Bitcoin is recognized by law as a means to settle debts and other obligations.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) criticized this decision in early 2022, urging the country to revoke legal tender status. In hindsight, these warnings were wise, as Bitcoin’s value has fallen by 56% year-to-date.
While this isn’t directly related to El Salvador’s default risk, it does open potential avenues for relief. For instance, large players in the crypto space may be willing to assist the government to keep the concept of “nation-state bitcoin adoption” alive.
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