The latest Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 reveals some interesting facts and statistics about billionaires and their wealth. An important part in understanding billionaires and the billionaire mindset is understanding how exactly it is that they made their fortunes.

The percentage of billionaires who inherited all their wealth has decreased. It is important to note then that the majority of today’s billionaires have partly or completed created their own wealth. The vital importance of entrepreneurship is evident in the fact that almost half of all billionaires have either founded or co-founded a business themselves. Increasingly, people are achieving billionaire status by inheriting some wealth and then increasing their fortune through hard work. Along with wealth, the values associated with dedication, perseverance and hard work are also being passed onto the next generation.

In addition, this hard work that creates billionaires seems to be concentrated in a few particular career paths. Almost 1 in 5 billionaires (19.3%) have made their wealth in finance, banking and investment. A further 12.1% of all billionaires work in industrial conglomerates. This growing trend for diversified business ventures is particularly evident in emerging markets.

Most billionaires tend to hold the majority of their wealth in their primary business – the specific company or institution with which they are primarily engaged. When analyzing these primary businesses, 63% of them are private companies. This indicates that most billionaires prefer to be actively involved in defining and developing the strategy of their primary business. However, they also make significant investments in numerous business ventures. They also tend to have other obligations and responsibilities, such as involvement in a couple of businesses and being active on the boards of a few organizations, institutions and clubs.

Photo by Roxanne Genier.