Self-Made: People Who Got Rich Before 40 – When it comes to self-earned wealth, very few people actually become wealthy in their younger years. This is evidenced by the numbers. In the UK, for instance, people in the 50-64 age bracket are much wealthier than their younger cohorts and are much more likely to be millionaires. But what about those elusive few who did reach the big time in their younger years? Let’s look at some of the people who struck it rich before they turned 40, to see what this tells us about making it in 2022.
The lucky route
No matter which way you slice it, blind luck plays a huge role in the lives of those who have struck gold at an early age. For some, this means inheriting large amounts of wealth, which is still the leading driver of wealth in younger generations. For others, this might mean spinning the wheel of fortune and coming out on top, perhaps by winning the lottery.
While your chances of winning are rare, it happens more than you’d think. After all, even a look at the most recently minted millionaire on the Irish Lotto suggests that someone enters the 1% on a regular basis. Meanwhile, some of the largest ever lottery jackpot winners, who have won hundreds of millions of pounds between them, are under the age of 40.
For those who did not pick up a winning lottery ticket, it’s clear that becoming a millionaire overnight is still possible if you have the talent and star power to get yourself noticed. One example of this that many people are already aware of is the Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who was grappling with poverty before selling her first novel at age 32, later going on to become a billionaire.
The same applies to talk show superstar Oprah Winfrey, who was struggling to pay her bills before landing a gig as a host for her own show at age 30, despite no previous TV experience. Meanwhile, actor Harrison Ford was a carpenter barely making ends meet before landing his first major role as Indiana Jones at age 35. You never know what is waiting around the corner.
Then there are the self-made millionaires and billionaires who built their business empires from scratch, starting with little. 38-year-old Nathan Blecharczyk, the founder of Airbnb, spent years scraping together loans to operate his online rental booking platform, before hitting the stratosphere in the 2010s. Another example is R. J. Scaringe, the billionaire founder of the electric vehicle company Rivian.
Born into modest means, Scaringe took his hobby of fixing up other people’s cars and went on to build a prototype that would sell around the world. Finally, we have fashion icon Ralph Lauren, who grew up poor and spent years designing streetwear, before launching the Polo brand at age 29. Today, Lauren is worth $5.9 billion.
When it comes to striking it rich before 40, it’s clear that good luck plays a pivotal role, as does some hard work and sheer determination.