Some people say that making the first million is the hardest.
Others, like oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens have quipped that the first billion is a “helluva lot harder”.
Regardless of which is true, it’s interesting to examine how long it took the world’s wealthiest to reach the million and billion dollar benchmarks, as well as how many years were in between.
Millions to Billions
Today’s infographic comes to us from Betway, and it provides a study of the 100 wealthiest billionaires that topped the 2018 edition of the Forbes Rich List.
Based on the top 100 billionaires studied from the Rich List, the average age for hitting millionaire status is 37. Meanwhile, the billion dollar mark is hit on average at the age of 51.
This puts the average time period to go from millionaire to billionaire at 14 years.
Making the Jump, by Industry
Even with this small sample size, it’s clear that how fast this jump happens depends greatly on industry.
Tech entrepreneurs were by far the fastest on the list to go from millionaire to billionaire, with an average time of only 7.3 years. That number is averaged down by entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos, who has singlehandedly been able to amass an impressive empire of companies and assets in a very short period of time.
|Tech Entrepreneur||Millionaire (Age)||Billionaire (Age)||Difference|
|Jeff Bezos||33||35||2 years|
|Bill Gates||26||31||5 years|
|Mark Zuckerberg||22||23||1 year|
|Larry Ellison||42||49||7 years|
|Larry Page||25||30||5 years|
|Sergey Brin||26||31||5 years|
|Ma Huateng||33||36||3 years|
|Jack Ma||35||45||10 years|
|Steve Ballmer||30||38||8 years|
Other industries don’t have the same luxuries as tech, where products can go from Zero to One at such high speeds.
In the automotive, construction, and real estate industries, for example, there are costly physical assets to deal with, as well as fiercer competition. At the same time, innovations are often more incremental, and companies cannot be scaled as fast.
Making the Jump, by Country
Interestingly, the jump from millionaire to billionaire took the longest in the United States, with a period of 14.1 years on average for self-made billionaires.
|Country||Time to go from $1M to $1B|
|United States||14.1 years|
While this may seem counter-intuitive, there are a couple of caveats worth mentioning.
For starters, the sample size is extremely small at just the top 100 billionaires, which means that a country like Russia has only so many in the mix. This low sample size can distort figures, and not be particularly representative of a true average.
Further, economies like Russia and China have recently transitioned from more controlled economies to more market-driven ones. This has allowed oligarchs and well-connected individuals to take advantage, while amassing new wealth at astonishing rates.
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.
Markets3 weeks ago
Charted: Six Red Flags Pointing to China’s Economy Slowing Down
VC+1 week ago
What’s New on VC+ in September
Markets3 weeks ago
The 25 Best Stocks by Shareholder Wealth Creation (1926-2022)
Business6 days ago
Ranked: The 20 Best Franchises to Open in the U.S.
Money2 weeks ago
How Much Does it Take to Be Wealthy in America?
Money5 days ago
Ranked: The Highest Paid CEOs in the S&P 500
Retail2 weeks ago
Visualizing the Number of Costco Stores, by Country
Markets4 days ago
Charted: Market Volatility at its Lowest Point Since 2020