Ah, the American dream is still alive and well. How do we know? These business people have scored big time, and many of them started with just a small idea and a loan. Others have innovated beyond anything their successful families had tried before, and you may be surprised to learn their personal worth!
It’s time to take a look at some of the biggest bank accounts on the American business scene right now. Many industries are represented, and you may be surprised to learn where the real money makers are these days! Is it big tech? Windows and doors? Cosmetics, perhaps? Let’s find out!
Personal Worth: $2.8 Billion
Oprah Winfrey, need we say more? Everyone knows this media maven, and she is nearly universally beloved around the world! Oprah made her billions – with a B – by building a media empire that spans from print to digital media, to network TV. And now, it includes her own independent channel! After humble beginnings and a career trajectory into another universe, where does the Queen of TV live these days?
Well, it turns out that she has a lot more than one decadent mansion for relaxation and leisure. During her very limited free time, she can choose between tropical options – a luxury farm and home on the Hawaiian island of Maui, or a California farm and mega mansion in exclusive Montecito near Ellen DeGeneres. If she’s in a chilly mood, she can escape to her ski lift high tech hideaway in Colorado’s Telluride mountains. And really, this is just the beginning of the real estate list. It’s not bad to be Oprah Winfrey these days!
Personal Worth: $93.9 Billion
Bill Gates is a household name almost synonymous with money itself, but what is the story behind his wild financial success? We all know he started Microsoft, and it’s easy to start counting the cash when we imagine how many computer monitors in homes and offices are using Windows OS as we speak. What kind of education does this smart guy have, anyway? He must be a Harvard man.
Well, sort of! Bill actually dropped out of Harvard halfway through, since he knew his idea was bigger than what the classroom could hold at the time. Today this computer whiz with more than $90 billion has a tiny bit of free time with his wife Melinda to think about spending it all wisely. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is currently the largest in the world with more than $50 billion in charitable assets. While the recipients are too numerous to count, a few notable causes you may have heard of include Planned Parenthood, MIT, the Computer History Museum, and the Southeastern Library Network after Hurricane Katrina. And they’re just getting started!
Business: Kylie Cosmetics
Personal Worth: $900 Million
What would you do with almost a billion dollars at age 21? Perhaps for most of us, it would be too much to handle — but Kylie Jenner is part of a well known family that is all about managing image and business at a level we have never seen before from reality TV stars.
During her late teens years, she underwent major plastic surgery. Although she denied it at first, it soon became too obvious to deny. Her most well known change was her lips, which tripled in size! Perhaps this was in preparation for her master plan, which was Kylie Cosmetics, a major company promoting lip kits, lipsticks, and lip glosses. Her first round was sold out immediately, and the success only skyrocketed from there. Maybe we were all surprised that this was the richest self-made Kardashian in the end, but Kylie clearly has more tricks up her sleeve than anyone knew!
Personal Worth: $53.8 Billion
Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg is someone that has changed all of our lives online, and he continues to innovate every year. Facebook is the largest social network in the world!
What will happen to Facebook in the future? Only time will tell — But at the moment, he’s probably pretty happy with his $53 billion on the Forbes annual rankings. Some may ask what Mark does with all this cash, and the answer is that he lives a quiet life with his wife and child while sporting normal Nike sneakers on his trips around town. A practical man, no doubt.
Personal Worth: $300 Million
Marissa Mayer is the former CEO and president of Yahoo, a service we probably all stopped using years ago. She has since moved on to found a new company of her own: Lumi Labs. And she is even busier than that, serving as a Google spokesperson and a Walmart board member when she has the time!
Lumi Labs sounds pretty exciting for the future as it seeks to develop artificial intelligence in the area of consumer media. Sounds mysterious! Concern over algorithms following our every move has gotten some press lately, and it will be interesting to see where she ends up in that conversation. What is she developing, really? We hope it’s not killer robots. You never know where technology is going these days!
Personal Worth: $625 Million
While most of us may associate the famous Steve Jobs with Apple, Tim Cook is actually the CEO of the company right now. And he’s not doing too badly, with more than 600 million dollars to his name! So what does a man who has everything do with that kind of money?
Well as it turns out — not as much as you would think! He seems pretty focused on Apple, and probably doesn’t spend too much time thinking about making himself look stylish. He’s got to make sure Apple remains the sleekest and most stylish product on the market, and he adorns himself with discounted clothing. Or so the rumors say! Fun facts: Tim was the first CEO to come out as gay on the Fortune 500 list. He is also an avid football fan! In his free time he actually serves on the board of the NFL, as well as athletics giant Nike. Nice work, Tim!
Personal Worth: $160 Billion
Jeff Bezos has many admirers for what he has done with Amazon in the online retail space. And now, he is actually the world’s richest man! That’s right, you heard that correctly. The other billionaires out there currently stand in his shadow. So what’s going on with Jeff these days?
Well, he has been innovating in some new areas. One example is online media consumption for movie viewers. We all love Amazon Prime, and this seems to be the way of the future. Netflix has started releasing films exclusively on its platform, without any theater premiere. Maybe Amazon will try this too?
Personal Worth: $4.4 Billion
Jack Dorsey has really got his hands full lately. As the head of Twitter, he didn’t feel he was doing enough. Recently, he founded a new company called Square that hopes to revolutionize payments via cellphone for individuals and small businesses. Sounds good, Jack.
In his free time, he likes to do a bit of designer shopping. Who knew? He is well known for his stylish leather coats, and his sneakers of choice right now are the Rick Owens Island Dunks. They’re only $1,000 — no biggie for a man worth $4.4 billion!
Business: ABC Supply
Personal Worth: $5.8 Billion
Diane Hendricks is a name you might not be familiar with. And her company ABC Supply is also a bit mysterious. They apparently distribute roofing, windows, and building materials for houses — but this is absolutely lucrative. How so? Diane has become a self-made woman to the tune of $5.8 billion! Not bad, Diane!
In her free time, she runs a charitable foundation based in Beloit, Wisconsin. The Hendricks Family Foundation focuses on youth in middle school all the way to age 21, as well as veteran family support. It also gives grants in the area of entrepreneurship and economic development, something Diane knows a lot about! Very impressive.
Business: Love’s Travel Stops and Country Store
Personal Worth: $6.0 Billion
Who is Judy Love, and why have we never heard of her before? She has been working under the radar with her husband Tom for many years to build a massive chain of gas stations in the Midwest, and apparently that is not a bad business to be in!
With a small $5,000 loan, Judy has more than doubled it. She has grown her personal wealth to $6 billion over time! Love’s Travel Stops and Country Store now has more than 430 locations throughout the country, but Judy has managed to keep her personal life in tact during all the crazy growth. She currently lives with her husband and four children, and life seems pretty good!
Business: Las Vegas Sands Corporation
Personal Worth: $32 Billion
Sheldon Adelson is famous for his successful casino business in Las Vegas, and he holds the title of founder, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. His holdings include the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, as well as the Sands Expo and Convention Center. He also owns a few newspapers!
Sheldon is currently in the top 20 richest group of businessmen worldwide, and it’s amazing that it all started from scratch. He came from humble beginnings, with a taxi driver for a father and a mother who ran a knitting store! Sheldon is a great example of the American dream come true, but what is his secret? We don’t know, do you?
Personal Worth: $9.1 Billion
Rupert Murdoch is one of the biggest names in media today, most famous for his role as the former owner of Fox News. Though he was born far away in Australia, he is American as apple pie now. He built a career that included many other media ventures, like the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London on the other side of the pond. Shockingly, he sold Fox News recently!
Walking away from this huge news venture must have been hard to do after so many years – Or was it? When he sold the company to Disney, he made a cool $52 billion! Not bad, Rupert.
Business: Walmart, Inc.
Personal Worth: $48 Billion
Doug McMillon is the current CEO and president of megachain Walmart, and he’s not doing too badly in the financial sense. With $48 billion, he probably doesn’t actually shop at the chain anymore. His story is actually pretty amazing, as he started in a low level position as a general employee in high school!
Doug moved up steadily within the company to the job of general buyer, and then the general merchandise manager at Sam’s Club. Did you know Walmart owned that chain, too? He became CEO a short time later, and his rise has never stopped. Doug is currently at the very top of the company he worked at as a teenager. How many of us can say that? Great Job, Doug.
Business: Roc-A-Fella Records
Personal Worth: $900 Million
So it turns out that “Jay-Z” was not the name his mother gave him! The real name on his birth certificate is actually Shawn Corey Carter, but he probably needed to create an identity fit for his big plans in Hip Hop. We all know his famous songs and his marriage to Beyonce, but Jay-Z is really a businessman beyond the usual artist in the industry.
Jay-Z founded Roc-A-Fella records, and his real focus has been building wealth that lasts and lasts beyond any musical career he may have. Not that 21 Grammy’s is something to scoff at! But Jay-Z is about to become a self-made billionaire, and he’s not done starting businesses. Have you tried the online streaming service Tidal? That’s more of his work, and we can’t wait to see more of the great ideas he has up his sleeve!
Business: Wonderful Co.
Personal Worth: $4.2 Billion
Lynda Resnick founded a company — and it’s actually called Wonderful Company. So how wonderful is it, really? Well it turns out, it’s made her more than $4 billion, so it can’t be so bad!
But what is this company all about? It’s certainly not evident from the name, but it is the larger owner of many names you may know — Fiji Water, for example. Linda is actually famous for her role in the Pentagon Papers scandal, which involved her information handover to the New York Times of secret military documents during the Vietnam war that her friend possessed. This case was eventually a landmark ruling at the Supreme Court that determined how newspapers can print and receive stolen government information. A pretty big deal, actually!
Personal Worth: $140 Million
Scarlett Johansson is one of the biggest names in Hollywood today, and she has been honored with 4 Golden Globe nominations so far. Negotiating her labor has been pretty successful — She is worth $140 million, which is a lot for actresses these days!
While she started out doing a wide variety of films, she has really focused on comic book blockbusters in recent years. She played “Black Widow” in a Marvel movie, and fans just went crazy for this character! We still love The Girl With the Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation, though. No one can say that Scarlett doesn’t have range!
Business: Ncredible Entertainment
Personal Worth: $50 Million
Nick Cannon came into our teenage lives on cable channel sitcoms and reality shows, but he has been pretty busy since then! While most teenage stars from this time have gone by the wayside, Nick has been pretty busy on the business end of things in media. A smart move! He founded Ncredible Entertainment, and currently has a net worth of $50 million!
With all that success, he had to marry Mariah Carey to make things complete. A man needs to have it all! Sadly, they divorced in 2016, and Nick has gone back to his many projects. Still searching for the one, we wish him the best!
Business: SpaceX + Tesla
Personal Worth: $19.9 Billion
Elon Musk is pretty set for life with almost $20 billion, but he’s just getting started. After bringing public attention to the dream of fully electric cars with his company Tesla, Elon has moved on to even bigger things. What could that possibly be?
If guessed outer space, you would be right! Elon hopes to make commercial travel to space easy with his company SpaceX, but it still in the development phase. Many people think this is overly ambitious, but try telling that to Elon! We will wait and see, but one day his dream may be a perfectly normal part of modern life. That is, if you can afford the space ticket!
Personal Worth: $160 Million
There’s no one quite like Kanye, and he never fails to surprise us. Everyone thought he was the king when he burst onto the scene with iconic albums in the 2000’s like The College Dropout, but his marriage to Kim Kardashian really cemented his presence on the gossip pages in the last few years. Some say Kim is the most beautiful woman in the world, and Kanye must feel like he has it made!
When he is not running his mega successful shoe brand Yeezy these days, Kanye is actually a devoted family man raising several young children with Kim. He has really come a long way since his classic album The College Dropout. What will Kanye do next? We will wait and see!
Business: KKW Beauty
Personal Worth: $350 Million
You didn’t think we would forget about Kim, did you? A mogul in her own right, many people might be surprised to learn she is even richer than her husband! Do they have joint bank accounts? We may never know, but Kim is pretty busy building wealth upon wealth with her beauty company KKW Beauty.
While not as successful as her sister Kylie’s lip kits, the sisters coordinate to make sure they are not in direct competition all the time. What people may not know is that Kim actually worked as an assistant to Paris Hilton before she got her own reality show fame! Now the entire Kardashian clan is a household name, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Personal Worth: $600 Million
Rihanna has made a killing in the entertainment industry, but her real business focus these days is actually cosmetics. Fenty is the sophisticated name she picked for her brand, and it launched to great fanfare with a liquid foundation product in an impressive range of shades for all ethnic backgrounds. Since then, she has put out all kinds of sparkly and bold shades to compliment her core offering. And sales have been going swimmingly well!
Launched in 2017, the company made $570 million in revenue in just one year. Not bad for a new beauty company! Rihanna has come a long way since her humble beginnings in Barbados, and starting a company valued at $3 billion overall is an amazing story and a source of pride for the Island. How much of that sum actually goes to Rihanna? It turns out she owns 15% of Fenty, but that’s no small chunk of change when you get into the billions! Very well done, Riri.
Personal Worth: $1 Billion
Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx, an amazing slimming product that women secretly stock up in the drawers. What is this device, you ask? Why, it’s not a machine of any sort. It’s simply very well designed compression garments and underwear products that have brought Sara straight into the billionaire club!
Initially, she just sold her product in Neiman Marcus stores, but today sales have expanded all over the world to 65 countries. The line now includes swimsuits and maternity wear, and it doesn’t seem like the demand is slowing down! Women will probably always love this little beauty secret, and Sara Blakely probably belongs in the fashion industry hall of fame!
Personal Worth: $340 Million
Floyd “Money” Mayweather is one of the biggest names in boxing, and he has certainly done well financially in this rean beyond his notable victories. Currently unbeatable in the ring, his expertly negotiated prize money matches that top status. $340 million so far is simply shocking!
Floyd has been savvy enough to invest his money in businesses beyond the cash, a very smart move. He owns a gym and other ventures, like a series of clubs in Las Vegas. Fans may wonder what will Floyd do next, because his boxing career can’t last forever. Even Muhammed Ali retired eventually! Only time will tell but we think he has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep winning, winning, winning.
Personal Worth: $3.7 Billion
We all love Airbnb, but who really knows the man behind this innovative high tech travel venture? It turns out to be three friends, one of whom is Nathan Blecharczyk. In 2008, he was the first company engineer, and he has done a little bit better than the average well-paid employee in the field. At $3.7 billion and growing, Nathan might be the richest engineer under 40!
We might need to check the whole list of them, but he is definitely at least competitive! Very well done, Nathan. And thank you for saving us thousands on hotels, seriously.
Personal Worth: $440 Million
We all know Judge Judy from her sassy TV commentary on small claims cases, and it’s a safe bet she has been paid well over the years. But who thought her wealth had grown to more than $400 million? It’s a bit shocking, honestly!
The show is currently in its 23rd season, and it doesn’t seem like the judge is slowing down anytime soon. A new venture worth watching is her new series Hot Bench, started in 2014. This program doesn’t include Judy, but she has recruited three top legal professionals for more opinionated daytime TV excitement. Fun fact: Judge Judy is in the Guinness World Records for the longest serving TV judge! Who knew?
Business: Basketball Team Owner
Personal Worth: $41.2 Billion
Steve Ballmer is the former CEO at Microsoft, which is no small position. But apparently, he was looking for a little bit more excitement in his daily business management, and he has moved on to become the owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. Basketball lovers everywhere would probably do the same if they could, right?
Steve actually holds the honor of being the second person in America to become a billionaire based only on stock options without family ties to a company. At more than $40 billion now, he has a lot to be proud of! Since he can rest easy financially, he has a bit of time for other projects now. If you’ve ever visited USAFacts.org, that’s actually his personal initiative to categorize American government spending and analyze the benefits for all to see. As the 14th richest man in America, maybe he every reason to check. His taxes must be significant!
Personal Worth: $49.8 Billion
Sergey Brin is actually the cofounder of Google, a little website you may have heard about. At the moment, his wealth has almost reached $50 billion! Google seems like it is here to stay, and sergey has decided to start some other interesting projects lately. What has he been up to?
Sergey has been working on alternative energy and driverless cars, and he says that he hopes to solve major problems with technology soon. He has also invested in a startup that wants to mass produce lab grown meat, a potentially more ethical solution to current agro-industry practices. They have already produced some impressive results, but the startup is working on reducing costs to market rate for consumers to choose as a viable option in the near future. Would you be willing to eat a hamburger grown in a lab? Maybe a taste test is needed, and we are very excited to volunteer!
Personal Worth: $2.2 Billion
Drew Houston is the face behind an office tool you may have sued many times before: Dropbox! Maybe we all knew that this was widely utilized, but how much profit has the tech innovation brought the founder? It turns out that Drew has built up quite a stash. At age 32, he has already made more than $2 billion, and he’s not exactly winding down for retirement yet.
Since his first smashing tech success, Drew has started a new venture. Hubspot is a sales and marketing system that is steadily growing and was recently spotlighted in the Harvard Business Review. The tech bubble is a crowded space right now, so it’s not clear if Hubspot will turn out to be the market disruptor that Dropbox was, but it will be fascinating to see if Drew can pull off an impressive take two. We’re rooting for you, Drew!
Business: $200 Million
Personal Worth: $200 million
David Karp is only 32, but he has probably made more money than he can ever spend at this point. How much, you ask? More than $200 million, and his company is still growing. That company happens to be Tumblr, a very popular social media tool that most of us have scrolled through at some point to read blogs and look at curated media collections. More than 375 million blogs choose to host their content on David Karp’s creation.
David actually started the company before he was 21, and he has been there all the way through. He still holds the position of CEO, and the company was acquired for more than a $1 billion by Yahoo recently. A very fun platform, we must say! Maybe David has a few other ideas for the social media sphere, but he certainly could choose to retire now if he wanted to!
Personal Worth: $1.6 Billion
Ben Silberman went to Yale and worked as a Google product designer before launching his secret plans for social media disruption with Pinterest. The online curate and share concept became popular very quickly, and it currently hosts more than 31 million users worldwide.
Ben says that collections really tell the world something significant about your personality, and there was no previous medium to do this easily before he stepped in. Anyone looking at home decoration, engagement rings, or adorable dogs has a place to browse through crowdsourced creative ideas, and sometimes that can really help a brainstorming session! This simple concept has brought to the company to a value of $12 billion, and a personal net worth for Ben of more than $1 billion. The question remains: What does Ben pin on Pinterest? We’d love to see the personal collection of the billionaire founder. Wouldn’t you?
Business: Financial Media
Personal Worth: $55.5 Billion
Michael Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City, but he had quite a career before going into city management in the Big Apple. His original claim to fame was the media company Bloomberg L.P, which focused on financial data and news. Bloomberg is the founder and CEO, and it remains one of the biggest sources of trusted information in the field today. But what does Michael really do with his time outside of the boardroom and the mayor’s office?
As the 6th richest person in America, Michael has plenty of change to spare. And he decided to do it in very big chunks, signing the giving pledge as many of his billionaire friends have done in recent years. So far, he has given away more than $8 billion to charitable causes, including Johns Hopkins University and The Museum of Science in Boston. The pledge states that signers will actually give away half of their wealth during their lifetimes, and Michael has more than $50 billion! What will he sponsor next? Only time will tell, really.
Personal Worth: $600 Million
You may actually use Andrew Mason’s genius tool for savings all the time. What is it, you ask? Groupon, of course. Founded in 2008, the company has been constantly expanding to countries beyond its American homebase. Groupon currently offers deals in more than 500 cities globally, and has more than 48 million users. Sounds like there’s a good reason CEO Andrew is worth more than half a billion bucks right now!
In his free time, he enjoys life with his wife Jenny Gillespie. She’s got her own ambitions in a very different field, which happens to be music. Her folk songs might give us some insight into her life with Andrew, as lyrics about love often do! We’re pretty sure Groupon does not make an appearance in any of the words, but we will have to check to be sure.
Personal Worth: $250 Million
Matthew Mullenweg is a name you may have never heard before, but it is certain that you have been affected by his signature product. Andrew is actually the founder of WordPress, which is a web platform used to make websites. Right now, a whopping 30% of the internet is made up of sites created through WordPress! That’s no small number, just imagining the sheer millions of sites that must entail.
Andrew is only 26, and worth more than $250 million personally. Not bad, not bad we say! Many people may not know that Andrew is equally talented on the arts side of his brain, trained in Jazz saxophone. His performing arts school probably never expected a graduate to start a massively disruptive tech giant like WordPress, but it looks like we’ve got a bit of a renaissance man on our hands here!
Personal Worth: $1.7 Billion
You might be familiar with this powerful businesswoman from her days promoting the book Lean In, a bestseller encouraging women to try to have it all in family and professional life. Sheryl has certainly put her money where her mouth is, and her success in high level management at companies in tech has allowed her to stack up a cool $1.7 billion so far. Not bad!
Her most recent appointment has been to Facebook as the new COO since 2008, and she has done some pretty impressive work so far. Sheryl took the company from millions in the red to billions in profit! Ad revenue increased by 38%, and Facebook seems pretty happy with her work. We think we can understand why!
Personal Worth: $3.9 Billion
Meg Whitman has had a long career at the top levels of American business, and she became a major name when she helped turn around eBay starting in the late 90’s as CEO. Because of her impressive work, she was offered another CEO spot. This time, she had the challenge of improving Hewlett-Packard in the crowded space of PC business. Under her direction, she split the company into 2 entities: HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, respectively.
So what is Meg up to these days? Right now, she is involved with a number of exciting startups in Silicon Valley. She is the CEO of Quibi, a new video platform. She sits on the board of Dropbox, and is also a major investor in an e-sports company called immortals LLC. Way to keep busy, Meg!
Personal Worth: $7 Billion
Marian Ilitch is actually the cofounder of Little Caesars, a tiny chain you may have heard of! She started the first shop with her husband, who has since passed away. Their partnership as a couple yielded many billions over the years, and the chain still maintains a $4 billion profit annually. Maybe they realized that everyone loves pizza, so this was a winning bet!
Outside of pizza pies, Marian has been pretty busy making use of all that sweet profit. She has become the owner of the Detroit Red Wings, as well as the MotorCity Casino Hotel. She is also trying to help revitalize the struggling city of Detroit, and has invested in a $1.4 billion sports and entertainment area for residents to enjoy. Looks like great things are ahead for the city, all thanks to those yummy pizza sales!
Personal Worth: $360 Million
Taylor Swift may just seem like another beautiful entertainer, but it turns out she is turning into quite the businesswoman as well! While many stars make money quickly and blow it all on cars and clubs, Taylor has decided to go a different route. What’s her business strategy, you ask?
Taylor has been swooping up properties across the nation, and she doesn’t actually live in them all. She is way too busy for that, with her jam packed tours every year. Fun fact: Taylor Swift’s 2018 tour was the highest grossing tour in American history! While she has been making tens of millions on these shows, her properties simply sit and increase in value. One day, she will probably cash in on all her sweet real estate finds, but for now she is waiting patiently. Very savvy, indeed!
Jin Sook Chang
Business: Forever 21
Personal Worth: $1.5 Billion
Jin Sook Chang is the cofounder of Forever21, a store we all know at the local mall. And a store we all love, too! She is also the chief merchandising officer, and her leadership has brought the company to the $3 billion annual revenue mark. But how did it all start?
In 1981, Jin came to the United States with her husband and began working as a hairdresser. But her dreams were too big to stay in the salon, and the couple used a huge chunk of their hard earned savings to open their first store in Los Angeles. In the first year, it yielded $700,000 in revenue! A very impressive small business story, but an even more impressive big business success. Congratulations, Jin!
Business: The Gap
Personal Worth: $2.4 Billion
Doris Fisher is the cofounder of Gap, and it should not surprise anyone to see her on this list! As one of the most iconic American fashion brands of the last half century, Doris has really started a phenomenon. But what was the beginning of this ambitious venture like, way back in 1969?
Doris struggled to find jeans that actually fit her husband, and together they opened a shop with better choices for consumers in San Francisco. The store actually sold jeans and music, which sounds quite charming! The store expanded into multiple locations, and the locations expanded into multiple companies. Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta – these are just a few of the new brands she started to build on The Gap’s smashing success. What will Doris do next? She still sits on the board today, and it’s likely this fashion queen is brainstorming yet again!