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What Does It Take to be a Billionaire?

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Developing your mindset about money and investing

How does a person like Bill Gates become the richest businessperson in the world in his thirties? Or how does Warren Buffett become one of the richest investors in America?

Both men came from middle-class families, so they were not handed the keys to the family vault. Yet, even without great family wealth behind them, they rocketed to the apex of wealth within a span of a few years. How?

They did it the way many of the ultra-rich have done so in the past, are doing today, and will be doing so in the future. They created an asset that is worth billions of dollars—a business that others invested in.

Young guns

Earlier this year, IndustryWeek published an article entitled “ Young and Filthy Rich: The 10 Wealthiest People Under 40 .

The top ten billionaires under 40 were:





Mark Zuckerberg


$35.1 billion


Dustin Moskovitz


$7.7 billion


Jan Koum


$7.7 billion


Scott Duncan


$5.5 billion

Inheritance, Enterprise Products Partners

Sean Parker


$5.2 billion


Yang Huiyan


$5.1 billion

Inheritance, Country Garden Holdings

Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila


$4.9 billion

Inheritance, Santo Domingo Group

Elizabeth Homes


$4.5 billion


Eduardo Saverin


$4.4 billion


Arun Pudur


$4.0 billion

Celframe Technology Group

In the past, these lists have been dominated by Internet businesses, and to some extent they are still. Six out of ten on this list are Internet related. But the list is also varied, with natural resource investments, real estate, and beverages, though these are the result of inheritance. One, Theranos, is a bio-tech firm, founded by Elizabeth Homes when she was 19 years old and attending Stanford.

The simple formula for making billions

The things all these companies have in common is they are businesses that have disrupted the markets they play in, and that others have invested their money in. In short, they are selling shareholders rather than buying shareholders.

In Rich Dad Poor Dad, I wrote about how at the age of nine I began making my own money by melting down lead toothpaste tubes and forging lead coins in plaster-of-paris molds. My poor dad told me what the word “counterfeiting” meant. My first business opened and closed on the same day.

My rich dad, on the other hand, told me that I was very close to the ultimate formula for wealth: to print or invest your own money—legally. And that is what the ultimate investor does. In other words, why work hard for money when you can print your own?

In Rich Dad Poor Dad, rich dad’s lesson #5 is: “The rich invent money.” Rich dad taught me to invent my own money with real estate or with small companies. That technical skill is the domain of inside and ultimate investors.

Change your mindset; change your financial life

After achieving my goal of making my first $1 million, I began thinking about setting the next goal. I knew I could go on to make $10 million doing things much the same way. However, $1 billion would require new skills and a whole new way of thinking.

That is why I set the goal of $1 billion, despite much personal doubt. Once I had the nerve to set the goal, I began to learn how others had made it. If I had not set the goal, I would not have embarked on the journey of learning. Once I committed to the goal, my mindset changed, and that alone was extremely valuable.

While I am not a billionaire yet like the young men and women on the list above, I strive to be one, and I do so by following their formula. I have founded many businesses that others invest in, and have even taken a few of them to IPO on smaller stock exchanges, such as Canadian stock exchanges.

Even if I do not achieve my goal of making $1 billion, I will have gained much more from the change in mindset it required than if I had never set the goal in the first place.

Are you the next billionaire? Only one person can answer that question—you. But with the right team, right leader, a bold and innovative new product, and most important, the right mindset, anything is possible.

Original publish date: July 28, 2015

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