When Bill Gates became a billionaire in 1987, he was 31 years old and the youngest person to achieve that mark at that point. It would take 28 years for Gates to be dethroned. Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire in 2008 and he was much, much younger than Gates was. Zuckerberg and Gates (and Snapchat's Evan Spiegel) are the exceptions, not the norm. Most billionaires are significantly older when they make their first billion. Many are in their 40s and 50s by the time they cross over from millionaire to billionaire status. Below, we take a look at 15 billionaires and the age they were (from youngest to oldest) when they joined the top 1% of the 1%.
Mark Zuckerberg: 23
Net Worth; $50 billion
Facebook's founder and CEO first became a billionaire at the age of 23 in 2008, four years before Facebook even went public. His billionaire status was first achieved based on private valuations of Facebook. He is the youngest self-made billionaire in history.
Evan Spiegel: 25
Net Worth: $2.1 billion
Snapchat's co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel became a billionaire in 2015. Of course, he is a paper billionaire as his net worth (like many others') is tied to the value of his Snapchat shares.
Larry Page: 30
Net Worth: $38 billion
Google's co-founder made his first billion in 2004, when the IPO of Google sent Page's net worth soaring over $1 billion for the first time.
Bill Gates: 31
Net Worth: $78 billion
Microsoft's co-founder has been a billionaire since 1987. He is currently (and has been for many years) the richest man in the world.
Jeff Bezos: 35
Net Worth: $49 billion
Amazon's founder has been a billionaire since 1999. The value of his shares in Amazon bumped Bezos up from millionaire to billionaire when he was 35.
Mark Cuban: 40
Net Worth: $2.7 billion
Dallas Maverick's owner Mark Cuban has been a self-made billionaire since 1998. He made his first billion selling his company Broadcast.com.
Sara Blakely: 41
Net Worth: $1 billion
The founder of Spanx became a billionaire in 2012. Her 100% ownership of the company she founded made her the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world at the time.
Net Worth: $12.9 billion
Elon Musk is the co-founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors and the founder of SpaceX. He has been a billionaire since 2012 when the rise in value of Tesla's stock pushed him over the limit from millionaire to billionaire.
Richard Branson: 41
Net Worth: $5.1
Sir Richard Branson became a billionaire in 1991 due to the success of his many companies. Over his career, the Virgin Group founder has overseen about 500 different companies.
Meg Whitman: 42
Net Worth: $2.1 billion
Meg Whitman is CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She became a self made billionaire in 1998. The former eBay CEO made her first billion when she took the online auction company public.
Oprah Winfrey: 49
Net Worth: $3.2 billion
Oprah Winfrey became a self made billionaire in 2003. Her media empire made her the first African American female billionaire in history.
Larry Ellison: 49
Net Worth: $40 billion
Oracle's founder and CEO Larry Ellison became a self made billionaire in 1993. Ellison's billionaire status is thanks to the rapid growth of his company.
Carlos Slim Helu: 51
Net Worth: $47 billion
Mexico's richest man, Carlos Slim Helu, became a billionaire in 1991 thanks in large part to savvy real estate investments.
George Lucas: 52
Net Worth: $5.1 billion
Star Wars creator and Lucasfilm founder George Lucas became a billionaire in 1996. It was his stake in Lucasfilm that put him in the billionaire's club.
Warren Buffett: 60
Net Worth: $60 billion
The Oracle of Omaha became a self made billionaire in 1990 when he sold class-A shares of Berkshire Hathaway for the first time.