American Billionaires Under 50
For many of us, even having a million dollars by retirement age seems like a lofty goal, yet there are some people out there who reach billionaire status while they’re still young. Some of them are self-made, while others inherit family fortunes. Regardless, it must be nice to have all that money and enough time in life left to enjoy it.
From tech geniuses to Wall Street traders to the heirs of massive family fortunes, here are some of America’s billionaires under age 50.
Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg is one of a few self-made billionaires in the world. He’s a co-founder and now the CEO of Facebook, which he started while still at Harvard at age 19. He’s also the richest American billionaire under the age of 50 — 35 years old and worth $77 billion.
Zuckerberg faces a lot of criticism for the fake news he allows on Facebook. Facebook also lost $5 billion in 2019 because it violated consumer privacy. That being said, he and his wife are putting $3 billion toward curing or managing prominent global diseases by the year 2100.
While there aren’t that many self-made billionaires in the world, Larry Page, co-founder of Google, is one of them. Since the beginning of Google in 1998, Page has amassed $66 billion, and he’s only 46 years old. It was during his time as a Ph.D. student at Stanford that Page co-created the PageRank algorithm behind Google’s search engine.
Page was Google’s CEO until 2001 and again from 2011 until 2015. From 2015 until 2019, Page was the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Now he’s a Google board member and controlling shareholder.
Google’s other co-founder, 46-year-old Sergey Brin, is another self-made billionaire. He’s worth around $64 billion, which he’s been accumulating since Google’s beginning in 1998. He and Google co-founder Larry Page were both earning advanced degrees in computer science at Stanford when they came up with the idea for Google.
In 2019, Brin resigned as president from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, though he’s still a board member and controlling shareholder. He hasn’t been in Google’s limelight recently, instead spending much of his time with another of Alphabet’s companies, a research lab called X.
MacKenzie Bezos is the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, the legendary Amazon founder who earned quite the name for himself in 2019 for not paying taxes despite being one of the wealthiest people in the world. The divorce settlement left MacKenzie with a quarter of his Amazon stake, so she’s worth around $40 billion at 49 years old.
MacKenzie and Jeff Bezos were married for 25 years, so getting 25% of her ex-husband’s stake in Amazon seems reasonable. She’s also published two novels and was a student of Toni Morrison at Princeton.
Elon Musk grew up in South Africa, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and became a U.S. citizen in 2002. Responsible for developing PayPal, Musk also initially funded the electric car company Tesla Motors with the goal of revolutionizing transportation. While Tesla has had major success, the world still seems a bit behind where electricity-powered transportation is concerned.
Now, Musk is making waves in both earthside and space transportation. Aside from Tesla, he has another business, a rocket company called SpaceX, which is worth over $30 billion. Musk is 48 years old and one of the wealthiest people in the world with $40 billion.
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was Lukas Walton’s grandfather. Lukas inherited a nice chunk of the Walmart fortune in 2005 when his father died in a plane crash. In all, his father gave him roughly a third of his estate, while he left his wife, Christy Walton, a sixth of it.
At 33 years old, Lukas Walton is worth about $18.5 billion. He’s no self-made billionaire, but money is money. Part of that net worth involves his stake in Walmart, but he also has stakes in First Solar and Arvest Bank.
Thirty-five-year-old Dustin Moskovitz co-founded Facebook in 2004 with Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum and Chris Hughes. They were attending Harvard at the time and created the social media site in their dorm room. Moskovitz never went on to graduate, largely because of Facebook’s success. He only has a 2% stake in Facebook, but his net worth is still over $12 billion.
Moskovitz left Facebook in 2008 to co-found workflow-software company Asana. He and his wife are big donors to several causes, including marriage equality and the eradication of malaria. They’re also the principal backers of the Open Philanthropy Project.
Jan Koum realized in 2009 that apps were about to blow up in popularity after he bought an iPhone and perused the nascent App Store. A week later, the computer programmer created WhatsApp, which became the most popular messaging service in the world.
Koum is worth a self-made $10 billion today, perhaps because Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion in 2014. If he had kept the company, who knows if he’d be even richer? Koum, age 43, immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine when he was 16. He’s come a long way.
With an electrical engineering degree from UC San Diego, Robert Pera went on to become the founder and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, a company that makes wireless equipment. Almost 75% of Ubiquiti, a publicly traded firm, belongs to Pera alone, bringing his net worth to almost $8 billion.
The 41 year old started his career at Apple as a Wi-Fi tester, but only 10 months later he founded Ubiquiti, where he began working full-time in 2005. He used $30,000 of savings and accrued credit card debt to start the company. It seems like it was well worth it.
Scott Duncan was the youngest heir (after his three older siblings) to get stake in Enterprise Products Partners, his father’s oil-pipeline company. Only his older sister Randa Williams is involved in the company. Scott and his two other siblings decided to take their inheritances and virtually wipe their hands clean of the firm.
At 37 years old, Scott’s inheritance has made him a young billionaire, with $6 billion to his name. Enterprise Products Partners owns roughly 50,000 miles of gas and oil pipelines, not to mention gas-processing plants and gas and oil storage facilities.
John Overdeck is a hedge fund guy with $6.1 billion at 49 years old. He’s a co-founder of Two Sigma Investments, a hedge fund driven by data that manages trades amounting to around $40 billion currently under management. Aside from Two Sigma, Overdeck has several side jobs, including owning a reinsurance company in Bermuda, operating a venture capital firm and running a market-making company.
Overdeck is a self-made billionaire who started as a silver medal champion at the International Mathematical Olympiad when he was 16. With his billions, he’s donated $145 million to children’s education programs.
Daniel Ziff’s grandfather co-founded Ziff Davis, a publishing company, back in 1927. Daniel’s father expanded the business, which ultimately sold for $1.4 billion in 1994. With that inheritance money, Daniel and his two brothers started Ziff Brothers Investments, getting into hedge funds.
Ziff Brothers Investments closed up shop in 2014, having much more wealth than it started out with. Daniel Ziff, now age 48, is sitting pretty with around $5 billion to his name. He and his brothers are still investing with former employees, so perhaps his billions will multiply.
Chase Coleman III
Chase Coleman began as a hedge fund investor for Julian Robertson, a legend in the field and at his firm Tiger Management. When Robertson retired in 2000, Coleman began his own firm, Tiger Global Management, with seed funds of $25 million from Robertson.
The company has since expanded beyond hedge funds. Now, Tiger Global manages $30 billion in assets, with venture capital as its largest sector. Coleman, 44 years old, is worth $4.5 billion. He’s not exactly self-made, though. He was born into “old money,” yet what he has amassed for himself now is considered “new money.”
The video game industry is no joke, and Tim Sweeney knows it. He’s the co-founder of North Carolina game developer Epic Games. Epic Games created Fortnite, one of the most popular games around the globe with 250 million users. Fortnite made about $2.4 billion in 2018 alone, despite being free to play.
Tim Sweeney has a net worth of over $7 billion at 49 years old, and Epic Games is not slowing down. Aside from revenue from its games, the company also created and earns money from Unreal Engines, which provides game-development toolkits that other video game studios utilize.
Estée Lauder was co-founded by Estée Lauder and her husband in 1946. Their granddaughter Jane Lauder was a partial heir to the family fortune. However, she also runs Clinique, one of the company’s largest skincare brands, and has been on Estée Lauder’s board of directors for over a decade.
Jane is now 46 years old and has a net worth of $4.2 billion. She graduated from Stanford in 1995, joined Estée Lauder in 1996 and made makeup history.
Alejandro & Andres Santo Domingo
Sons of beer mogul Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Alejandro and Andres inherited their fortunes in 2011 when their father passed away. Each now has a net worth of around $4 billion. Julio controlled the Santo Domingo Group, of which London beer company SABMiller was a part.
Alejandro was one of the main negotiators for the Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller merger in 2016. Alejandro is now on the board of Anheuser-Busch InBev. He’s 42 years old. Andres, 41, also has a stake in Anheuser-Busch InBev and sits on the New York Public Library Conservation International board of directors.
In 2008, Nathan Blecharczyk and two partners founded a business that would change the world of travel as we know it: Airbnb. It’s a peer-to-peer room- and home-rental business and has become a household name for all modern travelers. At only 37 years old, Blecharczyk has a net worth of $4 billion, all self-made.
Blecharczyk was Airbnb’s original engineer and is now the company’s chief strategy officer. Airbnb runs in more than 80,000 cities and 191 countries.
Brian Chesky is the CEO and a co-founder of Airbnb, the best thing to happen to travel since airplanes. The company provides a service through which people can rent rooms or entire homes from individuals, making the experience of travel feel more entwined with a city or town than staying at a hotel does.
Before Airbnb, Chesky was an industrial designer making only $40,000 a year, a low-end sum for Los Angeles, where he was living and working. Now, he’s worth $4 billion thanks to Airbnb, and he’s only 38 years old.
As an art student, Joe Gebbia started a company called CritBuns, selling cushions for artists to use during long painting sessions. However, that’s not how he became worth $4 billion. Gebbia later went on to co-found Airbnb with Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk.
Now Airbnb is one of the most popular ways to find travel accommodations. Using Airbnb, people rent rooms or entire houses from individuals. The service has over 250 million users to date. While he was always an entrepreneur, Gebbia, 38, has come a long way from selling cushions.
Jack Dorsey is a co-founder of Twitter, for which he was CEO until 2008. He took a break as CEO and returned in 2015. He’s also a co-founder of the highly successful mobile-payment company Square. Dorsey’s net worth at age 43 is $5.1 billion thanks to his entrepreneurial endeavors.
Dorsey used to be a certified masseur before getting into the tech world. He gave a third of his Twitter shares to his employees in 2016, and despite that, he’s still a multi-billionaire.
Rockstar energy drink founder Russell Weiner’s net worth at age 49 is $4 billion. Before getting into the energy drink business, he tried running for California State Assembly in 1998, but he lost. He also worked for his father’s friend, Maurice Kanbar, the founder of SKYY Vodka.
However, Kanbar rejected Weiner’s energy drink idea, so Weiner quit and started Rockstar in 2001 by taking a $50,000 loan out against his condo. In 2018, Rockstar had over $680 million in sales. Now Weiner also has an organic version of an energy drink with his company, Yachak Organic.
Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy was onto something in 2011 when he helped create the social media app. It now has over 200 million users worldwide and appeals to multiple generations. They love the impermanent nature of the photos, videos and messages.
Murphy is now Snapchat’s chief technology officer. He originally built the app with his Stanford fraternity brother, Evan Spiegel. To date, his net worth is $4.2 billion and growing. He’s just 31 years old, so he has plenty of years to continue growing his massive fortune.
There’s only a handful of self-made billionaires in the world in their twenties, and Evan Spiegel, co-founder of Snapchat, is one of them. He’s got $4 billion to his name at 29 years old. Snapchat became a social media sensation not long after it was created in 2011, resulting in Spiegel’s wealth.
Spiegel was attending Stanford for product design but dropped out to get Snapchat going. He decided to finish in 2018, though based on his history, he’s probably not going to need a degree to get a job.
Heir to the In-N-Out Burger fortune, Lynsi Snyder became a billionaire when she turned 35. That was when the last part of her inheritance was disbursed. Both of the company’s elder heirs — her father and her uncle — died young, making Lynsi the last heir in the family in 2000.
In 2010, she became president of the company, though she still hadn’t gained her fortune at that time. Still, Lynsi worked hard and has expanded the business to 80 additional locations across the country over the last decade. At age 37, she is worth $3 billion.
When Jonathan Gray graduated from college in 1992, he immediately became an asset manager at Blackstone Group. From there, he was promoted to the top of the real estate section of the group. Gray made the firm’s real estate investments one of its best portfolios, containing $140 billion in assets.
Gray became Blackstone’s president in 2018. He certainly worked his way up in the world, starting at age 14 as a busboy at his mother’s catering company. Now he’s 50 years old with a net worth of $4.2 billion.
Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick resigned from his CEO position in 2017, and as of December 2019, he is leaving the board of directors as well. He sold his 4% stake in the company for over $2.5 billion and put around $1 billion in Uber shares into a trust, from which he will receive a yearly payout.
Apparently, 43-year-old Kalanick has had enough with the company and wants to move on to other things. His new venture fund, 10100, brings together his for-profit and nonprofit investments. His net worth is around $3 billion.
When John Arnold was 38 years old, he went from being a super-successful hedge fund trader to calling it quits with managing others’ money. Before he ended his hedge fund career, he had worked at Enron and also created his own hedge fund called Centaurus Advisors.
Now, Arnold is 45 and is worth $3.3 billion. He has investments in deepwater oil developments and solar farms, so no matter what the future of energy holds, Arnold probably has a stake in it. He and his wife also participate in several philanthropic endeavors.
Orlando Bravo is the world’s first billionaire who was born in Puerto Rico. He’s known as one of the top dealmakers on Wall Street, and his firm, Thoma Bravo, ranked at the top of the 2019 list for buyout investors. The firm specializes in software buyout deals.
Bravo is 49 years old with a net worth of $3 billion. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, Bravo sent planes filled with necessary supplies and vowed to give $100 million to Puerto Rican entrepreneurs to continue supporting his roots.
Michael Rubin started GSI Commerce after dropping out of Villanova University. He ended up selling the company to eBay for $2.4 billion back in 2011. Part of that deal included him getting majority ownership of assets eBay no longer wanted, including the ecommerce retailers Fanatics, ShopRunner and Rue La La.
Now Rubin is CEO of Kynetic, the holding company for all three of those ecommerce companies. Additionally, his new criminal justice initiative, Reform Alliance, was launched in 2019 with rapper Meek Mill. Rubin is 47 years old and worth $2.9 billion.
Sean Parker’s fortune began growing when he was 24 years old and served briefly as Facebook’s first president. From there, he went on to become a venture capitalist and invested in Spotify, where he served on the board of directors until 2017. He’s also been involved in many philanthropic activities. If his name doesn’t ring a bell, you might also know him as the founder of Napster — remember that?
Parker launched the Parker Foundation in 2015 to promote engagement in global health, science and civics. That foundation then branched off to grant $250 million to begin the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. At 40 years old, Parker has a net worth of $2.6 billion.