Student Life

Are You the Next Self-Made Billionaire?

The American Dream is alive and well. Just take a look at these self-made billionaires.

Student Contributor, Jason Macaranas

May 14, 2022

Are You the Next Self-Made Billionaire?
Take a look at these inspiring stories -- you could be next.
With all the hullabaloo with crypto, stocks, and finance, many people dream of becoming a millionaire. According to an article from the Ramsey Solution, 79% of millionaires were not even granted an inheritance from their parents—it seems that the American dream is still alive and well. Here are a couple of stories that can be inspiration for your financial endeavors.

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel, founder of an e-commerce company, PayPal, and data analytics company, Palantir Technologies, moved to the United States from Germany when he was one year old. He graduated from Stanford University in 1989 with a Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy. He is also known for being one of the first people to make an outside investment in Facebook, as well as becoming the director of the company. The total amount he invested was $500,000 in 2004.
Peter Thiel founded the Thiel foundation, which gives highly intellectual people an opportunity to be given $100,000 in hopes of patenting their new invention. Peter Thiel created the foundation to give ambitious teenagers an opportunity outside college. Interestingly enough, Peter Thiel is actually very critical of the present educational system today. He claims that the increase in the student loan debt is a sign that the college degree is losing its value over time. One of his most ambitious projects is the ability to actually live longer. An article from CNBC details how Peter Thiel actually gave $3.5 million to the non-profit Methuselah Mouse Prize foundation in 2006, increasing that donation to $7 million in 2017. He is working with Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos on this matter.

Mackenzie Scott

Most famously known as the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, she is a novelist and philanthropist who got a degree in English from Princeton University. Fun fact: she actually studied under the Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison! Based on an article from Fortune, her 4% stake in Amazon resulted in her high income. She was recently married to a high school teacher named Dan Jewett in 2021.
She has donated to many organizations that deal with complex issues like racial justice and abortion. She donated to 286 arts and racial justice groups, including the Apollo Theater and the Asian American Federation. She gave away $2.74 billion in hopes of the media showing the organization she is donating to, not her. Mackenzie Scott has signed the Giving Pledge in 2019. The Giving Pledge is a group of billionaires that pledge to donate most of their wealth to charitable causes. The number of organizations she donated would take more than three pages to fit on this article.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos is most famous for being the CEO of Amazon starting in 2004, although he departed from the position to become the executive chairman and focus on building other products. He graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude in 1986, getting a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. He wasn’t always the billionaire that we know and love; he used to be a nerdy, bald guy who had an office space that looked like a dumpster fire compared to the capital he has today, as shown in an interview by 60 minutes. At first, his main purpose of Amazon was to sell books, books, and books. It was up until 1999 when he started to expand his business to other products. Jeff Bezos is still the biggest shareholder of Amazon, but he is also investing in other projects, most notably the space race between him and Richard Branson. He recently made a space company, Blue Origin, and he accomplished the feat of being in outer space with his brother, Mark Bezos.

Elon Musk

Known as the co-founder and CEO of TESLA and SpaceX, he is one of the most famous billionaires in the world. His biography on biography.com states that he attended Queen’s University after he escaped South African from mandatory service. After he left Canada in 1992, he studied business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. Afterward, he got his PhD in energy physics at Stanford University. The first company he ever launched was Zip2 Corporation in 1995, an online city-guide. When PayPal, of which he was a founding member, was acquired by eBay, Elon Musk earned his first million from it. It was not until 2008 that he established SpaceX, which got a contract from NASA to handle cargo transport. America is a country that is known for being a land of opportunity and success. Most millionaires came from humble beginnings, and the biggest thing to get out of this article is to make you realize that we are lucky to live in a society that has so many opportunities to better one’s self. Who knows? Maybe you can be part of the list of millionaires someday.

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