Rich People Who Were Born Poor

Last Revised on June 17, 2010

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Ever wondered if the famous rich people you hear about a lot were whether born poor or rich? It turns out in the last century and few decades, most of of the millionaires or billionaires were rather self-made. They didn’t have the money and luxury they have now when they were born to their parents. Of course, some of them did get help from their parents but they add more values to the assets and properties and thus became rich.

But here we won’t be talking about the people who inherited wealth from their parents/ancestor. We will be discussing the rags to riches story; list of poor people who became rich:

1. Roman Abramovich is an Oil and aluminum tycoon who is worth $11.2 billion. Steel tycoon’s parents both died by the time he was 4 years old. He was raised by relatives. After brief stretch in Soviet military, sold plastic ducts from his apartment. Participated in controversial Russian oil export deals before taking over oil outlet Sibneft in 1995. Flipped it to Russia’s Gazprom for $13 billion a decade later. Bought stake in steel giant Evraz. Soccer fan owns U.K.’s Chelsea club; also world’s biggest yacht. Divorced twice, had his sixth child with his girlfriend in December.

2. John Paul DeJoria got $4 billion. Ever heard the name Paul Mitchell? Yes, he is the con-founder of this popular hair brand products. Once sold cards and newspapers to help support his single mother. She later sent him to foster care when she couldn’t support him. Homeless for a time, living in his car and pushing hair care products door-to-door. With $700 cofounded own line of hair care products, John Paul Mitchell Systems, in 1980. Later pioneered high-end tequila market with Patron distillery. Launched ultra-posh Ultimat vodka line last year. Now frequents red carpet events, flashing peace sign for paparazzi.

3. Leonardo Del Vecchio is the founder of Luxottica eyeglasses and his net worth stands around $10.5 billion. One of five children, he was raised in an orphanage after widowed mother couldn’t support him. Worked in a factory making molds for auto parts, eyeglass frames; severed part of his finger. At age 23 opened own molding shop, making eyeglass frames. Now his Luxottica is world’s largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyewear sold under such brands as Ray-Ban, Oakley. Also operates more than 6,000 retail outlets through Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters shops.

5. Larry Ellison is the genius person behind the success of Oracle software company and his wealth is close to $28 billion. His single teenage mother who gave birth to Ellison in the Bronx sent him to live in Chicago with his aunt and uncle, who later adopted him. He dropped out of college reportedly after his adoptive mother died. Founded Oracle in 1977, now one of the world’s biggest software companies. Got $130 million pay package in 2009, making him second-highest-paid CEO in the U.S., according to our recent compensation survey. Sailing buff owns mega-yacht and won latest America’s Cup.

6. Micky Jagtiani is the creator of Landmark retail empire and he got $2.8 billion in his bank. Failing accounting student dropped out of school to drive a taxi and clean hotel rooms in London. Moved to Bahrain shortly before his only brother died of leukemia. Diabetic father died within months, and mother died of cancer a year later. Family-less at 21, Jagtiani took over brother’s retail space in Bahrain and spent his $6,000 inheritance on baby merchandise in 1973. Expanded single store into $2.5 billion (sales) diversified retail empire Landmark.

7. Steve Jobs, will probably be the most famous guy along with Bill Gates. Not because Steve Jobs is the richest person, although he is one of the richest person with his net worth about $5.5 billion, but because he is a co-founder of Apple. Just think iPod and iPhone. San Francisco native was adopted by a working-class couple and grew up in nearby Santa Clara, Calif. Dropped out of Reed College when he couldn’t afford tuition but continued auditing classes. Jobs started Apple computer outlet in parents’ garage in 1976. Fired after power struggle 1985. Started Pixar. Returned to Apple 1996. Health of revered chief executive has been scrutinized after he took leave of absence for a liver transplant. Back now, leading continued expansion in music and media through devices and software including iPod, iTunes and new iPad.

8. Li Ka-shing is the head of conglomerates Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa and got $21 billion. Don’t ever assume all the Chinese people are poor. This guy is born to a China native’s family who fled to Hong Kong in 1940. Had to quit school at age 15 after his father died of tuberculosis. Worked in a plastics factory to support his family. Li later made plastic flowers to be exported to the U.S. Today runs Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa, massive conglomerates with interests in ports, oil and gas, electricity, retail, telecom and real estate. Generous donor has given out $1.45 billion to education, medical research.

9. Guy Laliberté is the founder of popular show Cirque du Soleil and is worth $2.5 billion. Acrobat showman started as a stilt-walking, fire-eating street performer. Founded Cirque du Soleil in 1984 with pavement exhibitionist pals. Hit it big when casino mogul Steve Wynn brought act to Las Vegas in 1991. Since then has expanded shows to include themed-versions featuring The Beatles and Elvis. Next up: Michael Jackson shows. Poker guru has won card tournaments; also recorded Web videos from space.

10. J.K. Rowling is the author of Harry Potter book and movie series. She currently has $1 billion but will grow her wealth as she keeps earning royalty fees. While writing wizardry single mother lived on welfare in Edinburgh, Scotland. Broke and depressed, author once told reporters she contemplated suicide. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published in 1997 and quickly became a bestseller and the first of a seven-book series that captivated children and adults worldwide. First of films series released in 2001. First six of the magical movies grossed more than $5 billion.

11. Oprah Winfrey is the queen of daytime talk shows. When you are on Oprah show, you know you got something going on in your life – a success. She is worth $2.4 billion. She was born to single teenage mother, but raised by grandmother in a farmland. She has been a victim of child sexual abuse. After her TV talk show success, she started her on studio, O magazine, book club and what not. She is also ready to launch her new Oprah Winfrey Network cable channel.

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31 Responses to “Rich People Who Were Born Poor”

  1. Countries with the Most self made Millionaires Says:
    June 21st, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Interesting article I just read said that United States has the most millionaire population, which is what we expected. Guess who are the second and third? Japan and China. Japan’s population is only 127.6 million but in year 2009 number of millionaire households living in Japan is astounding 1,230,000 people.

    Singapore has the highest or greatest concentration of millionaire household: 11.4 percent of the country’s total population got more than million dollars. And we thought the western countries are the richest.

  2. Borne Poor, Now Wealthy Says:
    June 30th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Ask me for tips to become rich know you want to ….millionaire, billionaire, gazillionaire.

  3. bebe deco Says:
    August 8th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    It is a great pleasure for me to com in contact with you people. but my main problem is to become rich in life , but i just not know how to go about it .but i am a technician by profession ,and i am willing to work very hand so that i can achieve my goo.but i have try is not going because there is no job i need a help from you people thanks.

  4. vinay raj pilania Says:
    October 16th, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    i m greatly inspired by those who born poor but r rich now.. But honable billonaiers can u please tell me what kind of business in this time can make us rich.. Please sir or mam give me ur precious advice

  5. VL, Gaborone, Botswana Says:
    November 5th, 2010 at 5:52 am

    I am also greatly inspired by teh hose who were born into poor families but are now stinking rich. they make me keep going even if its tough. i think there had been no magic except that you worked yourselves out yourselves while others were basking on shadows that were coming from rich families. thank you guys.

  6. nomas Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    One thing they always fail to include in these rags to riches story is the fact that each of these people had an education, certain skills or a product that they turned into a business. Show me anyone who is poor and had none of these that became rich, you won’t find any. As always there’s more to the story. If you are poor and have nothing you will be nothing it’s as simple as that.

  7. rich? Says:
    January 5th, 2011 at 11:34 pm


  8. became rich later in life Says:
    February 9th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    it’s great to see the list of self made billionars and i appreciate it but why you forgot about the REALINCE empire’s founder DHIRUBAHI AMBANI and also the BLACKBARRY CEO.

  9. kizitosmart Says:
    February 9th, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    How can some one be rich u hv no capital pls tel business one do 2 excel

  10. mitch Says:
    February 17th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    can u send some old pictures of oprah,…when she is in a very young girl…and being a rape victim how is the case? is it solve already?

  11. Kaye Says:
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:49 am

    These comments have been so interesting to read. Sure, if these people were born poor they had to have a ‘special ability’, but who said that ability could not be acquired! No you don’t need, money these days but you need to ACTION. When you have a great idea, great ideas come from dreaming, sharing your dream and believing in yourself. If you believe it strong enough it will happen!

    Don’t believe for one minute that these people had it easy all the way to success. Most had to fight adversity, fight their ‘failures’, learn from their ‘failures’ and keep a positive attitude.

  12. Kaye Says:
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:50 am

    As an aside, how many people are born rich, but end up poor!!

  13. kibera Says:
    May 26th, 2011 at 11:09 am

    i just felt like i have gotten a new life by readin this article….i am from the largest slum in the world but now i believe i can make it to the top..thanks for those encouragin facts.

  14. Gopal sharma from india Says:
    June 25th, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I born in poor family i completed my b.teh in mechanical engineer i want to be in buisness please sir or mam tell me

  15. How to Be Rich Says:
    July 16th, 2011 at 3:13 am

    They say, Think Big, Start Small, Start Now.Please people looking for Job Opportunities, Kindly think,what do you have in place, “Knowledge, skills e.t.c”Market yourself i.e if you did IT, develop S/W for a company and they will contact you for consultation and probably they will give you a Job.Don’t stay idle, do something. If you need to Stand out, Be outstanding in your field.

  16. mahuka Says:
    July 20th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    its all predastined

  17. starting on your own Says:
    October 6th, 2011 at 3:19 am

    i would love to start an on line shop ive tied numerous things over the years had a couple of my own businesses but never seem to get there even though i work very hard. I dont want a hand out but would like to know if there are any self made wealthy people out there just willing to help with advice etc on how to become successful. Thanks Dawn

  18. Stamp Says:
    October 6th, 2011 at 8:22 am

    When I was young, my family was on welfare for awhile, and once off it we were still broke. My mom pushed my sister and me to do well in school and fight for everything. People at my school thought we were just the poor red-necks who wouldn’t go far. They told me if I wanted to go to college, I had to do it on my own. I decided on West Point. It took an extra year at a prep school to get in, but I’m in my 3rd year at at West Point, and I feel like the sky is the limit. Articles like this motivate me. I’m thankful my parents made me work for everything.

  19. Denise Says:
    October 6th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Appreciate your article. Not everyone who today is wealthy was born rich. Some people who came up through diligent work, using their passions, are incredibly charitable.

  20. jaymean Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Question to anyone and everyone..
    Iam a fantastic artist…born to 2 parents that were drug u
    sers when they had me heavily physically abusive….. I’m bipolar since 12… I have a gift inside of me .. guidence has never been given my bipolarism has ruined my plans.. I have a gift.. Iam in need of an earthy guide..I will not follow my parents path.. thank you. I’m waiting

  21. little boot Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    i in fact have a rich uncle who started form nothing, didnt even finish the 5th grade. he owns 3 different construction companys and lives in the biggest house i have ever seen. so anything is possible

  22. Thor-the smallest dust Says:
    February 11th, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Nature of human being want survive. All people can not select the place to born but they can select to be if one brave and work hard enough. In some uncivilize areas, both brave and working hard can not use in the time. Moreover, it may turn you become poorer instead due to weak organization conditions obstruct them. We should make every minutes with relax and happy better as the way we are and keep on working hard by your soul and instinct. Although the trouble is still around life but we can sympathy another. I believe the god of fair will absolutely never forget put your name in the good person list! If you are the real.

  23. I love Oprah Says:
    February 12th, 2012 at 6:41 pm


    MY NUMBER IS 04886792

  24. mack Says:
    April 24th, 2012 at 10:40 am

    how to start coffee business from small to big

  25. The viewer Says:
    July 28th, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Wealth is the product of karma.

  26. Kader Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I’m impressed with them but what are the techniques and steps to reach your dream in life.

  27. think rich grow rich,so-he-l-ove all,prof.sohek Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 7:59 am

    my dear young generation i had a practical experience that what u think about yourself is the creator of ur future and as saw so you reep is the creator of ur condition think rich grow rich and start farming good future……..

  28. THINK & TRY Says:
    April 4th, 2013 at 2:15 am

    To be or not to be is the outcome of certain things or ingredients :-

    1.Think a lot, because what we learn from the world is “information” and what the world will learn from us is “knowledge” . Never confuse knowledge with information as they are exactly opposite.
    2. Keep trying in whatever field you like in to succeed as failure occurs only when we quit “TRYING”

  29. beacon Says:
    June 9th, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I’m impressed.

  30. paul Says:
    July 26th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    when you started work in poor

    1.keep working above the estimation

    2.keep working as genius

    3.keep working in new innovations with time, experience, profit ,new plans

  31. mithi Says:
    October 26th, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    very useful but u can give still more information

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