10 Billionaires Who Amassed Their Wealth After Age 40

A late bloomer is a person who fulfills their potential later in life or later than expected. Although some people get lucky later in life, most billionaires toil for many years, sowing the seeds of their success and future wealth.  

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Sorry, young folks, but Mark Zuckerberg — Meta Platforms’ co-founder and CEO who became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at 23 — is the exception to the rule, not the norm. Most billionaires are self-made, accumulating their wealth through a combination of hard work, education and investing.

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Although the billionaires listed below were certainly wealthy before 40, they didn’t become billionaires until they hit that age milestone. Here are 10 billionaires from a variety of disciplines who reached the billion-dollar benchmark after they hit the big 4-0.

1. Warren Buffett

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 55
  • Estimated Net Worth: $137.5 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Berkshire Hathaway

The Berkshire Hathaway co-founder, chairman and CEO sits eighth on Forbes’ rankings of the richest people in the world. With a net worth of over $137 billion, “The Oracle of Omaha” is one of the most successful investors the world has ever known. Buffett made his first million in 1962 at the age of 32 when his Buffett Partnership was valued at over $7 million and his shares worth over $1 million. He became a billionaire in 1985.

2. George Lucas

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 52
  • Estimated Net Worth: $5.3 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Filmmaking

Although his main gig now is philanthropy, Lucas’ name is synonymous with the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” film franchises that he created. Although the $4.1 billion he received from Disney for selling his Lucasfilm production company in 2012 added to his wealth, he didn’t become a billionaire until 1996, when he was 52.

3. Carlos Slim

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 51
  • Estimated Net Worth: $104.9 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Telecom

Carlos Slim Helú was the richest person in the world from 2010 to 2013, according to Forbes. He is till the richest person in Mexico and Helú family currently sits at #14 on Forbes’ Real-time Billionaires List. According to Britannica, Slim first attained billionaire status in the aftermath of the economic crash of 1982, when he was 42. He and his family currently control América Móvil and are the majority owners of the Grupo Carso conglomerate.

4. Larry Ellison

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 49
  • Estimated Net Worth: $152.9 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Oracle

Larry Ellison became a self-made millionaire at age 42 but didn’t acquire a net worth of $1 billion until he turned 49. Although not CEO of Oracle anymore, Ellison is still chairman, CTO and its largest shareholder. Ellison holds about 15 million share of Tesla and owns almost all of Lanai, the Hawaiian island he bought for $300 million in 2012, according to Forbes.

5. Oprah Winfrey

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 49
  • Estimated Net Worth: $3.0 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Television

One of a few celebrities that is afforded one-name status, Oprah hosted her wildly popular talk show for 25 years, becoming the first Black woman billionaire in 2003. She still owns shares in her OWN cable channel (now owned by Warner Bros. Discovery) and runs her media empire, which includes Harpo Productions and O, The Oprah Magazine.

6. James Dyson

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 44
  • Estimated Net Worth: $13.4 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Vacuums

As the story goes, “In 1978, James Dyson became frustrated with his vacuum cleaner’s diminishing performance…He set to work. Five years and 5,127 prototypes later, he had invented the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner.” Dyson is the 149th richest person in the world today, and five years ago, was going to enter the electric vehicle game before deeming them “not commercially viable,” per Forbes.  

7. Meg Whitman

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 42
  • Estimated Net Worth: $3.4 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: eBay

Whitman has enjoyed a long career working in executive positions at Disney, Dreamworks, Proctor & Gamble and Hasbro, but she is most well known for turning eBay into the e-commerce giant it is today and famously running an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of California in 2010 despite spending a reported $140 million of her own money. According to Business Insider, Whitman became a billionaire at the age of 42, when she took eBay public.

8. Richard Branson

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 41
  • Estimated Net Worth: $2.6 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Virgin

A billionaire of all trades, Sir Richard Branson has dabbled in the record business, banking and the airline, rail and space travel industries. Although he became a millionaire at 23, Branson had to wait until 1991, when he was 41, to hit the elusive billionaire mark. In addition to everything else, Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, a British venture capital conglomerate.

9. Elon Musk

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 41
  • Estimated Net Worth: $196.1 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Tesla, SpaceX

Musk needs no introduction; simply scroll any social media feed and you’ll run into him in some way. At 27, Musk dropped out of Stanford to enter the dot-com boom. Four years later he became a millionaire at the age of 41, when he debuted on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires in 2012. At the age of 12, Musk sold the code for a space-themed PC game he created called Blastar to “PC and Office Technology” magazine for $500.

10. Giorgio Armani

  • Age of Becoming a Billionaire: 41
  • Estimated Net Worth: $11.9 Billion
  • Source of Wealth: Luxury Goods

Armani’s rise through the world of fashion and design began modestly, after getting a job as a window dresser for Milan department store, La Rinascente. His luxury brand, Armani, has branched out to include music, sport and hotels, but it’s still synonymous with high-end and red-carpet fashion. Armani became a billionaire at 41, according to Visual Capitalist, and is the 174th richest person in the world, per Forbes.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Billionaires Who Amassed Their Wealth After Age 40

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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