Last Updated: March 8, 2024
Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$3.5 Billion
Dec 14, 1955 (68 years old)
Businessperson, Financier, Trader
United States of America
💰 Compare John Paulson's Net Worth

What is John Paulson's net worth?

John Paulson is an American hedge fund manager and philanthropist who has a net worth of $3.5 billion. John Paulson manages the hedge fund, Paulson & Company which at its peak managed as much as $18 billion. Today, the firm manages around $8 billion.

John Paulson is the founder and manager of Paulson & Co., a New York-based investment management firm he founded in 1994. Paulson is perhaps best known for making $4 billion in 2007, betting against the US housing market. The best transformed Paulson from an obscure money manager to one of the all-time legends of the financial world. He used credit default swaps to bet against the US subprime mortgage lending market. Paulson earned another $4.9 billion in 2010.

Early Life and Education

John Paulson was born on December 14, 1955, in New York City as the third of four children of Jacqueline and Alfred. He is of Ecuadorian and Eastern European Jewish descent on his mother's side and of French and Norwegian descent on his father's side. For his higher education, Paulson first attended New York University, from which he graduated summa cum laude with a BA in finance in 1978. He went on to attend Harvard Business School, earning his MBA as a George F. Baker Scholar in 1980.

Career Beginnings

After graduating from Harvard, Paulson began his business career at Boston Consulting Group, where he did research and provided advice to various companies. Aiming to work in investment on Wall Street, he eventually left to join Odyssey Partners. Paulson later worked in the mergers and acquisitions department of Bear Stearns and after that, as a general partner at Gruss Partners.


Paulson & Co.

In 1994, Paulson founded the hedge fund Paulson & Co. in New York City. It began with $2 million and one employee in office space rented from Bear Stearns at 277 Park Avenue. In 2001, the firm moved to 57th and Madison. By 2003, Paulson & Co. had grown to $300 million in assets. The firm achieved widespread notoriety in 2007 when Paulson shorted the US housing market by investing in credit default swaps. This earned Paulson around $4 billion and earned his firm a fortune as well. However, he got into some trouble for working with Goldman Sachs to provide liquidity for low-performing home loans in a handful of states. With Goldman, Paulson created the ABACUS 2007-AC1 investment vehicle and kept his bet against the underlying assets hidden from the people who purchased it. Ultimately, he was able to avoid indictment because his firm maintained that it was consistently transparent about its actions. Goldman, on the other hand, was sued by the SEC and had to reach a settlement for ABACUS.

In other activities, Paulson & Co. has an extensive track record of investing in distressed debt, bankruptcies, and restructurings. Notably, the firm invested in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and liquidation in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Paulson became selectively bullish after that and launched a fund to restructure and recapitalize companies such as hedge funds, investment banks, and hotels. In 2010, Paulson personally earned around $4.9 billion. The following year, his firm was ranked as the fourth-largest hedge fund in the world, with $36 billion in assets under management. However, Paulson & Co. experienced double-digit losses over the ensuing years, dropping its assets under management to an estimated $19 billion by the end of 2015. In 2018, the firm took a stake in the media company Viacom.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Political Activities

Between 2000 and 2010, Paulson contributed $140,000 to political candidates and parties, mostly Republicans and special interests. In 2011, he donated $1 million to Mitt Romney's Super PAC Restore Our Future, and in 2012 hosted a fundraiser for Romney's presidential campaign. Later, Paulson supported the candidacy of Donald Trump and served as one of his economic advisers.


On the philanthropic side of things, Paulson has donated to such organizations as the Center for Responsible Lending, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, and the Central Park Conservancy. He has also made major donations to such academic institutions as the NYU Stern School of Business, the London School of Economics, and Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Elsewhere, Paulson donated $15 million to build a children's hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador. To date John has transferred $2 billion of his wealth to his personal philanthropic foundation.

Personal Life and Divorce

Paulson married Jenny Zaharia in 2000. Together, they have two daughters, Giselle and Danielle. In September 2021 John filed for divorce. The couple reportedly did not have a prenuptial agreement. They attempted an out-of-court settlement, but it failed after Jenny rejected the offer. Jenny filed a separate lawsuit alleging John created hidden trusts without her knowledge. Some have speculated that it could be one of the most expensive divorces in history due to the couple's significant assets and lack of prenup.

Real Estate

In 2004 John and Jenny paid $14.7 million for a 28,500 square-foot townhouse on East 86th street in Manhattan. In 2008, not long after making his huge $4 billion windfall, John and Jenny splurged on a $41 million estate in Southampton. In 2010 they paid $24.5 million for a 95-acre property called Hala Ranch, in Aspen, Colorado.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction