The map below shows the top self-made and top inheritance wealths, and how they were made, giving each a “self-made score” between 1-10 which was created by Forbes to illustrate the degree to which each person can attribute their wealth to determination as compared to those who have earned their place purely by luck.
Are America’s Richest Born Or Made? This Map Gives You The Answer
Top 3 self-made:
- Bill Gates – The richest man in the world, a self-made tech mogul worth $78.8 billion, Gates earned his money by creating the computer interface Windows. With a self-made score of 8 (on a scale of 1 being the lowest, and 10 the highest), Gates started from a moderate middle-class background and created his fortune completely on his own.
- Warren Buffett – Dubbed The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett earned his $70 billion through a series of sound investments which he funded through small business ventures such as door-to-door sales, and pinball games. Buffett also has a self-made score of 8, and the millions of people who follow his investing advice and philosophies often laud his grounded, down-to-earth approach to wealth management.
- Larry Ellison – After creating the original Oracle database program for the CIA, he went-on to develop a variety of other computer programs through his new company which he called Oracle, earning him $52.8 billion. More than anyone else mentioned in this article, Ellison is deserving of the title of being a true rags-to-riches success. Ellison was an orphan whose foster parents lost everything in The Great Depression, and he more than made up for that with his drive to succeed.
Top 3 inherited:
- David Koch – The most inherited wealth in the US ($42.7 billion) belongs to David Koch, whose grandfather owned a Kansas City newspaper company, the profits from which were used by Koch’s father who developed and patented an improved method of manufacturing petroleum. With a self-made score of 5, Koch inherited a pretty sizeable business from his father, who had inherited a big portion of his own wealth from his father. David has succeeded in growing the company quite significantly, which is more than the rest of the inheritance recipients in this article can say.
- Christy Walton – The entire Walton family ranks among the richest inheritance recipients in the US. Christy (worth $39.1 billion) married into it by wedding John, son of Sam Walton, who later died. With a self-made score of 1, it’s clear she has done nothing to contribute to her wealth.
- Jim Walton – Jim Walton is another son of Sam Walton, Sam being the man who founded Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club after opening a chain of Ben Franklin franchises during the post-war baby boom. He is worth $37.6 billion. Despite being blood-related to Sam Walton, unlike Christy, his self-made score still lies at a very low 2, which means he plays a small role managing the operations of the company but has contributed nothing to its success.