It's not a secret that we're obsessed with billionaires – especially self-made ones – here at Celebrity Net Worth. And we figure, since you read our content, you must be too. Also, perhaps you spend more time than you should thinking about what you would do and buy if you were a billionaire. Do you also spend time thinking about how to become a billionaire in some way other than winning the lottery or marrying an heir or heiress? It takes something special – a unique commitment to sheer ambition and your vision to make enough money to be a billionaire. Obviously, some jobs and industries are more suited to creating billionaires than others. Technology comes to mind – one great idea for an app or startup and you're on your way! However, tech doesn't rank as high on the list of the best industries to go into to become a billionaire as you may think. In a report analyzing people with net worths over $5 million, the research company Wealth-X identified the industries that have created the most millionaires and billionaires around the world.
#10. Food and Beverage
We're not talking about waiting tables here, folks. Think more like disrupting a sector of the food and beverage industry like KIND bar founder Daniel Lubetzky (net worth $1.5 billion), LaCroix owner Nick Caporella (net worth $2.4 billion), and Clif Bar founders Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford (net worth: $850 million each). Tilman Fertitta (net worth $4.7 billion) made his money through Landry's, his Texas-based restaurant and entertainment company. According to Wealth-X, 3.8% of ultra-high net worth people made their fortune in food and beverages.
#9. Construction and Engineering
Tilman Fertitta also gets mentioned in this category because he founded a construction company in his early 30s that went on to be very successful, allowing him to have the money to invest in a restaurant called Landry's in 1986. The rest is history. In the late 1970s, James Dyson (net worth $5.7 billion) began developing a vacuum cleaner that used cyclonic separation in order to pick up dirt. His new vacuum cleaner eliminated the need for a vacuum bag and remained more efficient over time. He was unable to get anyone to manufacture the vacuum, so he ended up launching the product in Japan, and setting up his own manufacturing company. The Dyson vacuum cleaner went on to become a worldwide phenomenon and is now the most popular vacuum cleaner in the U.K. According to Wealth-X, 3.9% of wealthy people made their fortunes in construction or engineering.
#8. Hospitality and Entertainment
This category spans everyone from Cirque Du Soliel founder Guy Laliberte (net worth $1.8 billion), to George Lucas (net worth $6.5 billion), to Steven Spielberg ($3.7 billion), to, once again, Tilman Fertitta. According to Wealth-X, 4.1% of high net worth people made their fortunes in this industry.
Wealth-X reports that 4.1% of wealthy people made their money in this sector. Diane Hendricks, (net worth $7 billion) is one example of this. Hendricks is the CEO and owner of ABC Supply. ABC is the largest roofing, siding, and window distributor in the United States.
We thought that technology would have ranked higher on this list given the extreme number of billionaires from this sector – Jeff Bezos (net worth $145 billion), Bill Gates (net worth $110 billion ), Mark Zuckerberg (net worth $80 billion ), Larry Ellison (net worth $65 billion), Larry Page (net worth $65 billion), Sergey Brin (net worth $63 billion), Evan Spiegel (net worth $2.5 billion), the Airbnb founders, the Lyft guys, the Uber guys, the Collison brothers of Stripe, all the PayPal founders who went on to found more startups, etc. However, Wealth-X found that just 4.7% of very high net worth people have made their fortune in the technology industry.
Ernesto Bertarelli (net worth $15 billion), husband to the fabulous Kirsty Bertarelli, is the richest person in Switzerland thanks to his stake in the family pharmaceutical company Serano. BMW heiress Susanne Klatten (net worth $19 billion) enhanced her net worth with her stake in drugmaker Altana. The most punchable man in the world, Martin Shkreli (peak net worth $70 million) made his fortune gauging the public with the price of the medications his company touted. The Sackler family once had a collective net worth of $14 billion thanks to their company, Purdue Pharma, maker of the highly addictive painkiller Oxycontin. These days, the family and their company are mired in lawsuits over the methods they used to push the drug on doctors and the public. Wealth-X reports that 4.9% of wealthy people make their money in the healthcare industry.
#4. Real Estate
This one seems obvious, but, like me, you may know a struggling real estate agent or two. Well, that can make good money but not obscene money. Real estate developer Stephen Ross (net worth $7.7 billion) is the richest real estate developer in the U.S. Legendary former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (net worth $600 million) made his money not in the NFL, but in real estate development. Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke (net worth $7.7 billion) began his professional career in real estate and founded the Kroenke Group in the early 80s. The company focused on developing shopping centers and apartment complexes. After he married Ann Walton Kroenke, one of the Wal-Mart heirs, he also began developing Wal-Mart shopping centers. In the early 90s, he founded THF Realty, a development firm focused on suburban areas. Wealth-X reports that 5.4% of high net worth individuals made their fortunes in real estate.
#3. Non-profit and Social Organizations
OK, this one is a bit misleading. Look, there isn't a lot of money in nonprofits. People usually work in this field because they are passionate about it. While Wealth-X found that 7% of super-high net worth people work at nonprofits full time, we here at Celebrity Net Worth have to put an official Asterix on that because those people are people like Bill and Melinda Gates who work for and manage their own nonprofit. When you're worth more than $100 billion, you have that option.
#2. Business and Consumer Services
This is a pretty wide category that includes Baltimore Ravens owner Stephen Bisciotti (net worth $4 billion), who launched a staffing company in his basement with his cousin. The company, called Aerotek, supplied staff for the technology and aerospace sectors. Aerotek has since grown into the highly successful Allegis Group, a multi-million dollar staffing firm that is currently the largest in the United States. Also in this category is Robert F. Smith (net worth $5 billion), founder of the private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners. Vista deals in the not-so-sexy category of enterprise software. David Steward (net worth $4 billion), founded IT firm World Wide Technology. Wealth-X found 16% of ultra-high net worth people made their fortunes in this industry.
#1. Banking and Finance
From investment bankers to hedge fund managers, this industry has created more wealthy people than any other at 22.6%. Ken Griffin (net worth $16 billion), Dan Loeb (net worth $2.3 billion), Steven Cohen (net worth $14 billion) Jamie Dimon (net worth $1.6 billion), Paul Singer (net worth$1.9 billion), Carl Ichan (net worth $18 billion), David Shaw (net worth $6.8 billion), and Ray Dalio (net worth $14 billion) all fall into this category.