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The Well Known Billionaires Who Started With Nothing

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Many of the iconic names we admire nowadays were not born this way, starting from humble beginnings before making their big break. Being the time of year where many give up on their New Year’s Resolutions, are our goals really as farfetched as we think?

Merchant Cash Advance has looked into some of the biggest billionaires who grew up poor, researching into their childhoods and pinpointing where it all turned around for them.

Name Net Worth $$$
Guy Laliberté 1.2 billion
Alan Gerry 1.4 billion
Kenny Troutt 1.4 billion
Mohed Altrad 2.6 billion
Howard Schultz 2.9 billion
Oprah Winfrey 2.9 billion
John Paul DeJoria 3.2 billion
Do Won Chang 3.3 billion
Ken Langone 3.6 billion
Stephen Bisciotti 4.5 billion
Shahid Khan 7 billion
Ralph Lauren 7.2 billion
George Soros 8 billion
Jan Koum 9.1 billion
Roman Abramovich 11.5 billion
Lakshmi Mittal 17.8 billion
Leonardo Del Vecchio 23.5 billion
Francois Pinault 32.7 billion
Li Ka-shing 33.1 billion
Sheldon Adelson 38.1 billion
Larry Ellison 60.2 billion

You can see the full data here

Larry Ellison

Taking the top spot with an incredible net worth of $60.2 billion, Larry Ellison is known as the founder of Oracle. Although his wealthy lifestyle may seem well out of reach, the humble beginnings of Larry Ellison shaped who he is today. As a child, reports say his adopted father knocked his confidence with degrading remarks as he grew up in a working class family from a deprived neighborhood. After dropping out of college, Larry Ellison worked odd jobs for eight years before he decided to self-teach himself programming, landing him a shot at a proper career before his talent took off and he developed Oracle.

Sheldon Adelson

Growing up in a poor neighborhood in Boston, Sheldon Adelson was brought up by his immigrant father in a two bedroom flat where he slept on a floor. As a child, he worked as a paperboy to support his family and dropped out of college to try and earn some money. His ambitious nature saw him attempt to launch 50 different businesses and career attempts, ranging from selling magazine ads all the way to windshield de-icers. Eventually his success took a turn when Las Vegas Sands was born, now being the largest casino company in the world and making Sheldon Adelson worth $38.1 billion.

Li Ka-shing

At just 14 years old, La Ka-shing’s father died of tuberculosis which meant he was forced to abandon school and take a job at a plastics factory to provide for his family. When he reached 22, he quit the job to start his own company selling plastic toys before quickly changing the focus to plastic flowers when he learnt of their popularity overseas. This company was named Cheung Kong which is now one of the largest real estate investment companies in the world, making La Ka-Shing worth an astonishing $33.1 billion.

Ralph Lauren

Being an iconic name all over the globe, Ralph Lauren has a net worth of $7.2 billion but didn’t start his life in such a luxurious way. Being raised by Jewish immigrant parents, Ralph immersed himself in the world of cinema to keep his imagination alive whilst working as a clerk. He then switched to working for Beau Brummell, a well-known tie manufacturer, where he persuaded the company president to let him design his own line of ties. The Ralph Lauren Corporation was born in 1967 where it quickly blew up, getting noticed across the country.

Shahid Khan

After coming to the US from Pakistan at just 16 years old, Shahid Khan started washing dishes for $1.20 an hour and put himself through college, graduating and accepting a job with Flex-N-Gate. Once he had some savings behind him, he took out a loan and started his own company where he had to get through a legal battle for opening a competitor company whilst working at Flex-N-Gate. Eventually, Shahid Khan bought out his old employer and built it up to be one of the largest private companies in the US, bringing his net worth up to a huge $7 billion.

Oprah Winfrey

Being an iconic name, Oprah Winfrey is a huge TV personality with a net worth of $2.9 billion. After a strict upbringing by her grandmother which saw her subject to beatings, she moved in with her mother to a boarding house, often sleeping on the porch and dealing with years of physical abuse. As a high school senior, Oprah’s focused approach saw her land a role as a part-time newsreader for local radio station, excelling and taking on other jobs such as a news reader and co-host of a TV chat show. Her first big break was when she hosted a chat show called AM Chicago which quickly became the iconic Oprah Winfrey Show we all know today.