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2 pictures that show what it takes to make $1 billion

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
Mark Zuckerberg's side profile on the left and an infographic demonstrating the workings of a millennial billionaire in the shape of Mark Zuckerberg's side profile on the right.
The path to making $1 billion has changed over the course of the generations. (Source: Getty/

Making $1 billion seems like a feat out of reach for most people, but there have been those from each generation that have managed to do it.

A new study has found the path billionaires have taken has changed over the course of the generations. pulled details from Forbes’ list of living billionaires and used them to create a profile of the average billionaire from the past four generations: the Silent Generation (born 1928-1945), Boomers (1946-64), Gex X (1965-80), and Millennials (1981-96).

The research found billionaires were becoming less schooled, less married and less male.

And the self-made tycoon is giving way to the ‘billion-heir’, with 33.6 per cent of rich millennials having inherited their wealth compared to 19.3 per cent of the preceding Generation X.

These infographics highlight the similarities and differences between each generation of billionaire.

The average billionaire from each generation

How much does Warren Buffett have in common with Mark Zuckerberg? Not a lot, actually.

The Silent Generation appeared to be more directed towards building a family than those from later generations, having the most kids on average.

Baby Boomers had the highest percentage of those who were married and Generation X preferred to live outside of the US.

Meanwhile, the most women billionaires were Millennials.

Take a look.

An infographic showing the changing face of a billionaire by generation.

How much education do you need?

Do you need a certificate from a fancy school to make $1 billion, or is a degree just a pointless badge of honour?

The study found billionaires born since 1981 were less than half as likely as Gen Xers to have an MBA (13 per cent vs 28.3 per cent).

They were also less likely than any preceding generation to have an arts degree.

Surprisingly, while only one in 10 millennial billionaires had an arts degree, nearly a quarter of Silent Generation billionaires had one.

An infographic showing the different education levels of billionaires by generation.

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