Forgetting, for a moment, that money is the root of all evil, that money can't buy happiness, and that it's easier for a camel to thread the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter paradise, let's talk about billionaires. More specifically, let's talk about self-made billionaires, because anyone with a head and a heartbeat can inherit a billion, but not everyone can make a billion on his or her own.
And so, first, let's go to the latest billionaire survey by UBS and PWC to find out where all the self-made billionaires are making their billions.
As it turns out, the place to be if you want to make billions in America is financial services (in the graphic above, the industry mentioned under each region is where the most billionaires work). But what the above graphic doesn't tell you is that you can't just work in any financial services sector, you have to work in the private equity or hedge fund sectors (on the so-called buy side). In other words, if you work in investment banking for your entire career, you will not likely make billions; you might make millions, but for the B to replace the M you will have to jump ship at some point to PE or the hedge fund industry.
However, there is a catch here. Again, what you don't see in the above graphic is the fact that the No. 2 sector for self-made billionaires in the U.S. is technology. And, in fact, self-made billionaires in tech make more, on average, than self-made billionaires in PE and hedge funds. The numbers are $7.8 billion in net worth on average for tech billionaires vs. $4.5 billion in net worth for PE and hedge fund billionaires.
Also, although I haven't seen the age range data on the aforementioned billionaires, I am betting that the tech billionaires are, on average, much younger men and women (who are we kidding, they are mostly men) than financial services billionaires. Think Snapchat's Evan Spiegel vs. Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman.
And so, the moral of this tale is this: If you want to be a billionaire in America, your best bet is to start or join an investment fund of some sort. But if you want a shot at the most billions, your best bet is to program an app that everyone you know and everyone they know (think they) can't do without.
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