Do You Want to be a Billionaire?

Victoria Kubyshko

What Are Your Best Chances?

When wealth is measured as a percentage of the economy, twenty of the top thirty wealthiest Americans lived during the Gilded Age. And only four lived in the decades later: Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Sam Walton, and Warren Buffett. The century leading up to the Gilded Age included six of the wealthiest Americans: Stephen Girard, Stephen van Rensselaer, John Jacob Astor, Moses Taylor, and A. T. Stewart. Clearly, your chances are pretty slim nowadays. It would be very hard to beat out the #1 spot taken by John D. Rockefeller, who was worth $192 billion.
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What Should You Do?

Most of the billionaires were in the heavy industry and/or finance. About half of them were involved in heavy industry, such as oil, mining, and transportation (RRs, shipping). The most notable were Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, and Ford. About 8 were in the finance/investing sector, including the Mellon brothers. However, many made their fortunes through both the finance and heavy industry sectors, making a small fortune in one to invest in the other.

Ethics and Morals?

Are billionaires honest?

Most were cut-throat and willing to do whatever to earn their money. They often got their fortunes through illegal or sneaky ways; however, to please the public they would volunteer to philanthropic causes such as building public libraries.

Fun Facts

Stephen Van Rensselaer was an aristocrat who inherited all his money from the Dutch. Rockefeller was the wealthiest at $192 billion and James C. Flood was #30 at $31 billion.