There have been many times in our lives when becoming a billionaire, living our life with a practically infinite bank account has seemed like a pretty good option. The problem is, how do you get there? Online there are plenty of tips on how to make wise investments in the stock market, the key to inventing the perfect product and becoming an entrepreneur. While they all sound like perfectly reasonable ways to go about getting that first billion in the bank, is it really as easy as that?
There are over 2,000 billionaires in this world, with over a quarter of them living in the states alone. However, there is fierce competition when it comes to making their way to the top spot in their states, especially when some states house a lot more of these billionaires than others. For example, Arizona is home to nine billionaires, while California contains 124 – taking the prize for the largest population of billionaires across America. The Forbes 400 is published every September, so there is always plenty of competition between everyone involved to climb their way to the top ten – a prestigious title to hold.
While a lot of the success may seem like it comes down to luck (and yes, some of it does!), there are also incredible business decisions, decades of work, and plenty of mistakes along the way to the top for these billionaires. There is a billionaire in every state across the nation, but who is it that we are sharing our hometown with? Perhaps they’re walking down the street, and we don’t even know! Across these 50 states, you will find half of the top ten wealthiest people from around the world; with some intriguing ways they have made their money, let alone spend it… Let’s have a look at the richest person in each U.S. state.
Name: Jimmy Rane
Net worth: $700 million
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Great Southern Wood Abbeville’
Rane was the brains behind Great Southern Wood Abbeville, as he founded and owns 100% of the entire business which is the biggest of any of its rivals to date. Rane spends his money revamping his hometown, as his family has been living there for the past 200 years. He has provided the citizens with new jobs, restaurants, and a convention center, as well as saving the historic buildings from being destroyed as the town grows.
Name: Jonathan Rubini
Net worth: $340 million
Origin of wealth: CEO of ‘JL Properties’
The property market booming at just the right time is what has made Rubini his fortune over the years. He works with his business partner Leonard Hyde, and the two have made their money by owning several of the largest commercial buildings in their home city of Anchorage. Even though Rubini is sitting on a hefty sum of money, he is one of six people that are the richest in their state without being billionaires.
Name: Bruce Halle
Net worth: $6 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Discount Tire’
The company wasn’t always what it was, as when Halle started his business he had only six tires to stock his showroom. The Discount Tire brand now has over 950 locations across the nation. Halle uses his money to try and give back to his hard-working employees by setting up a scholarship programme. The programme is used to help send the children of his employees to college, having helped over 2,000 families so far.
Name: Jim Walton
Net worth: $42.5 billion
Origin of wealth: Son of Sam Walton, founder of ‘Walmart’
Jim is the youngest son of Sam Walton who founded Walmart back in 1962. Jim inherited the company, along with his three other siblings, after his father passed away in ‘92. Since then Jim has been involved in running ‘Arvest Bank’ – another family company. He and his siblings own over half of the stock at the retail store, but Jim has passed on his place on the board of the company to his son, Steuart.
Name: Mark Zuckerberg
Net worth: $72.4 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Facebook’
Zuckerberg came up with his brilliant idea when he was just 19 years old. He wanted students to be able to learn each other’s names quickly so founded The Facebook but didn’t take the social media site public until two years later in 2006. Since the growth of social media Zuckerberg has seen his income soar. He owns around 17% of the company’s stock, but he and his wife have promised to donate 99% of the fortune they make from the site over their lives.
Name: Charles Ergen
Net worth: $ 14.3 billion
Origin of wealth: Co-founder of ‘Dish Network’
Back in 1980, Ergen was selling satellite dishes out of the back of his car with his wife. However, this all changed when he founded his network company. Since then he has been involved with setting up the sister company ‘Echostar’ as well as helping to develop the original company’s ideas. Alongside his business ventures, Ergen has also worked a professional blackjack player – it seems Ergen has had plenty of practice to ensure a gamble pays off!
Name: Ray Dalio
Net worth: $17 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Bridgewater Associates’
Initially, Bridgewater Associates was run out of Dalio’s apartment in New York City. Back then, it was just Dalio, who had been using his money making skills since age 12 when he would get tipped for caddying for golfers. It’s a good thing Dalio is now used to money though, as the company deals with around $160 billion. Dalio’s employees have spoken about how he is always looking at the bigger picture, with plans for expanding the business even further being on the horizon.
Name: Robert Gore
Net worth: $720 million
Origin of wealth: Discovery of Gore-Tex
Robert Gore shares the wealthiest spot with his sister, Elizabeth Snyder, and was behind the discovery of the material Gore-Tex when he accidentally invented it while trying to stretch Teflon. His parents founded a manufacturing company that he was working for when the discovery was made. Robert now owns 7% of his parent’s company, with his other four siblings also sharing the same amount. The company is estimated to make $3.1 billion a year in sales.
Name: Thomas Peterffy
Net worth: $17.9 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Interactive Brokers Group, Inc.’
Thomas was initially from Hungary and didn’t move to the U.S. until he was 21 years old. His family had been deeply affected by the Soviets who had left them nearly bankrupt. It was here that Thomas founded the broker’s company that now deals exclusively with sophisticated investors. In recent months Thomas has spoken about how his company will be phasing out some of their operations as they are unable to keep up with their competitors in some aspects. He’s still worth a small fortune though, so we doubt he’s that bothered.
Name: Jim Kennedy
Net worth: $11.8 billion
Origin of wealth: Chairman of ‘Cox Enterprises’
The media company, Cox Enterprises, was originally founded by Jim’s grandfather, James Cox. Over the years the family has managed to grow the business even further with Jim saying how everyone in his family has always been a hard worker. Jim now uses his time continuing to run the company, as well as donating a large sum of his money back into the nation in a bid to aid healthcare, sustainability, and education that he feels all mean a great deal to him.
Name: Pierre Omidyar
Net worth: $10.1 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘eBay’
This billionaire has had plenty of business ventures over the years but made his money from founding the huge auction site, eBay, in 1995. However, Pierre had recently been lessening his involvement with the company as he now only owns around 7%. Last year he set up a new company that loans money to new businesses that he is funding entirely on his own, but also uses his money to help stop the spread of fake news online.
Name: Frank VanderSloot
Net worth: $2.7 billion
Origin of wealth: CEO of ‘Melaleuca Inc.’
Frank wasn’t born into money as his family was enduring a pretty difficult financial struggle when he was growing up. His company now makes over 450 different products, and sells to nearly 2 million consumers each month through its website. The billionaire has used his money over the years to purchase more than 117,500 acres of land across three different states, including his home state, where he uses the space to breed purebred Angus cattle for his breeding operation.
Name: Ken Griffin
Net worth: $8.6 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Citadel’
Ken began learning the ropes of the money trading world in 1987 when he was trading stocks from his dorm room at Harvard. Since then he has grown his company to the level of handling over $27 billion regularly. Last month Griffin made an incredible donation of $125 million to the economics department at the University of Chicago. He also uses his power in the media to help maintain the residents having control in his home state.
Name: Carl Cook
Net worth: $7.9 billion
Origin of wealth: CEO of ‘Cook Group’
Carl took over his position at his parent’s company after his father passed away. The Cook Group company manufactures medical devices and brings in around $12 billion profit a year. During recent years the company has been in trouble for not providing proper methods during their quality control. However, since then, the company has done very well with Carl investing the money into training medical staff. He has also spoken of how he intends to keep the business in the family.
Name: Harry Stine
Net worth: $3.7 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Stine Seed’
Over the years Harry has made his fortune through selling the license to genetically altered seeds, such as corn and soybean seeds, after he became fascinated with them when he was a child. He now owns the biggest private seed companies around the globe, including Stine Seed that has discovered some of the most revolutionizing information within agriculture. With his money, Harry continues to work at 71 years old to continue making genetic discoveries within farming.
Name: Charles Koch
Net worth: $48.1 billion
Origin of wealth: CEO of ‘Koch Industries’
Charles inherited his fortune from his father, as well as owning 42% of Koch Industries. His brother also took ownership of the same amount after they both bought out their siblings. Charles spends most of his time working – even having lunch at 11 am to beat the queues as he doesn’t want to waste a minute of the day. When he isn’t working, Charles is spending his money to fund political parties alongside trying to pass on his views onto his children.
Name: B. Wayne Hughes
Net worth: $2.7 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Public Storage’
Back in the ‘70s, Wayne founded what has grown to be the biggest self-storage company in the world. Since then he has spent his time and fortunes on other business ventures including a business he set up in 2011, that rents out 50,000 houses to families across America. He also uses his money to put towards political funding and ownership of various racehorses, as well as passing on the bank balance to his two billionaire children.
Name: Tom Benson
Net worth: $2.8 billion
Origin of wealth: Various business, including owning ‘New Orleans Saints’ and ‘New Orleans Pelicans’
Over the years Tom has made his incredible fortune through various different means, including owning local banks and car dealerships. As well as this he has used his money to purchase two New Orleans sports teams. Recently Tom has been involved in an ongoing battle involving his daughter and grandchildren who were arguing that he was unable to control his fortune alone, but the case was closed after a settlement was made confidentially with the family members.
Name: Susan Alfond
Net worth: $1.46 billion
Origin of wealth: Inheritance
Susan inherited her fortune from her father after he sold his company ‘The Dexter Shoe Co.’ for shares in stocks. The value of the stocks rose phenomenally meaning the family made millions off of their sale. Susan shares the money with her brothers, as well as her stake in the Fenway Sports Group that has ownership of the Boston Red Sox. She now lives her life with her three children where she spends her money investing in businesses.
Name: Ted Lerner
Net worth: $4.9 billion
Origin of wealth: Real estate
Ted initially borrowed $250 from his wife so he could start his real estate business. The company took off with Ted deciding to change careers to become a builder, where he grew his business to build not only houses, but shopping malls, hotels, and offices. Ted gave his wife back the loan and more. The couple now uses their fortune to help their children, have purchased a baseball team, and regularly donate to charities – especially children’s hospitals.
Name: Abigail Johnson
Net worth: $17.2 billion
Origin of wealth: CEO of ‘Fidelity Investments’
Abigail inherited her wealth after she took over as the CEO of Fidelity Investments from her father. She had already been working there while she was in college, but began a full-time job after she had graduated. Over the years Abigail has got herself a reputation for being able to make tough decisions as well as being willing to take risks in her business. To date, Abigail is recognized as one of the most powerful women around the world.
Name: Daniel Gilbert
Net worth: $6 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Quicken Loans’
Daniel is the proud owner of one of the biggest mortgage lenders online. He hasn’t always been in charge of the business as he sold it for $532 million, but three years later was able to repurchase it for only $64 million. Smart move! The fortune that has been made over the years is now spent on helping to renovate many buildings in the downtown area of Detroit, as well as having some left to spend on buying a basketball team.
Name: Whitney MacMillan
Net worth: $5.9 billion
Origin of wealth: CEO of ‘Cargill’
The company was initially founded by Whitney’s grandfather, but he has inherited 9% of the business as well becoming its CEO until he retired from the position in 1995. Over the years Whitney has used his money to explore other areas of business, including buying a cattle ranch alongside selling off farmland for a hefty price. He has managed to take the company to the number one spot in the race for leading grain business.
Name: Leslie Lampton
Net worth: Around $1 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Ergon’
Leslie’s company, Ergon, primarily focuses on developing and selling products derived from petroleum. The company is also involved in selling products ranging from computer boards to equipment used to maintain roads. Over the years Leslie’s actual net worth has been disputed, but it is estimated to be around the $1 billion mark. Leslie uses his fortune to donate to charities, as well as helping towards education, as the company has set up a fund to help its employees to further their education.
Name: Stanley Kroenke
Net worth: $8.1 billion
Origin of wealth: Real estate
Over his lifetime, Stanley has built a real empire with his wealth. Not only does he now own around 30 million square feet in real estate, but he also owns several sporting teams, and has close to two million acres that he uses for ranches that spread across the states and Canada. Stanley has even married one of the heiresses to the Walmart fortune as he and Ann Walton Kroenke tied the knot back in 1974.
Name: Dennis Washington
Net worth: $5.8 billion
Origin of wealth: Mining and founder of ‘Washington Construction’
Dennis discovered his love for construction when he was working for his uncle. This led him to take out a loan to start up his own business, which grew to Dennis mining copper. This venture would, in turn, make him his fortune. Since then he has spent around a quarter of a billion dollars to fix his yacht, as well as having a total of four boats in his collection to date; he has spoken how boats are his real passion in life now.
Name: Warren Buffett
Net worth: $80.7 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Berkshire Hathaway’
Warren has gone down in history as the investor with the most success ever. His business now owns over 60 different companies, including Duracell and Dairy Queen. He has pledged that he will donate over 99% of his money to various charities, having given around $32 billion so far. Warren is close to fellow billionaire Bill Gates, with the pair launching a pledge asking for billionaires to give away half of their fortunes to causes in need.
Name: Sheldon Adelson
Net worth: $37.2 billion
Origin of wealth: CEO of ‘Las Vegas Sands’
Sheldon is now in charge of the biggest casino business across America, Las Vegas Sands. He has used his wealth to donate the largest amount ever to a political party, as well as trying to make online casinos illegal as his father had suffered from a gambling addiction when Sheldon was growing up. Sheldon has spoken about how it is easier to spot someone who is addicted in real life than it ever is to detect their behavior online.
Name: Andrea Reimann-Ciardelli
Net worth: $1.07 billion
Origin of wealth: Inheritance
Andrea’s fortune came after she inherited an 11.1% stake in the family business ‘JAB’ which is involved in the production of items such as Lysol, Jimmy Choo, and Calvin Klein perfume. However, in 2003 Andrea sold her shares to her siblings for around $1 billion cash which gave her the fortune she now knows. She currently lives out her life with her husband, and the pair donate a significant portion of their wealth to charity.
Name: Donald Newhouse
Net worth: $11.7 billion
Origin of wealth: Heir to ‘Advance Publications’
Donald and his brother, Si, were left their father’s company, Advance Publications, to run together. The business has a newspaper, a role in the distribution of cable TV, and publishes various magazines. Donald’s company also owns the social media site Reddit alongside having shares in Discovery Communications. He has recently used his money to help create a medicine to combat a rare form of Alzheimer’s, after his brother and wife both suffered from the particular disease.
Name: Mack C. Chase
Net worth: $700 million
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Mack Energy Corp.’
Oil and natural gas were the fields in which Mack was able to make his millions over the years. After his success in the oil world, Mack has been able to expand his businesses to include farming pecans, alongside running a successful aircraft dealership. Mack uses the money he has earned to give back to his local community, as well as making sure that all of his employees are able to use the newest and latest equipment in their workplace.
Name: Michael Bloomberg
Net worth: $47.6 billion
Origin of wealth: Co-founder of ‘Bloomberg L.P.’
While Michael was only the co-founder of his company, he has managed to work his way up to owning 88% of the business over the years. He feels very passionate about certain subjects which is why he has donated over $4 billion towards helping end climate change and enforcing gun control. Michael has also used his wealth to purchase at least six different homes all around the world, including houses located in London and Bermuda.
Name: James Goodnight
Net worth: $9.8 billion
Origin of wealth: Co-founder of ‘SAS Institute’
Initially, the company SAS was used to analyze farming data but now is able to analyze data of nearly any kind. Over 80,000 different organizations now use James’ software with him being there to lead the company since day one. James and his business partner, John (who went to university with James before setting up the company together), have used their wealth to open a private school, as well as to buy a hotel and country club between them.
Name: Gary Tharaldson
Net worth: $900 million
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Tharaldson Hospitality Management LLC’
The wealth began rolling in back in the ‘80s for Gary when he was able to purchase his first motel. Since then he has expanded his business to own hundreds of hotels. Gary uses the money he makes by selling off the hotels to invest in new land. Even with his fortune people that have met Gary have spoken about how incredibly down to Earth he is, as he picks people up himself and still wears the hotels’ uniform.
Name: Les Wexner
Net worth: $6 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘L Brands’
Les’ business name may be unfamiliar, but it own companies such as Bath & Body Works, and Victoria’s Secret. Originally the company was used to sell cheaper clothing items as Les had worked out they would sell easily, after trying to explain to his dad that this is what the family store should be selling rather than expensive coats. His dad didn’t listen, and Les ended up buying Victoria’s Secret in 1982 when the business was failing. He now owns nearly 50% of the lingerie market in America.
Name: Harold Hamm
Net worth: $12.6 billion
Origin of wealth: Pioneering fracking
When Harold was younger, he grew up in a poverty-stricken family meaning he had to begin working at a young age. He saved up to afford to drill his very first well which is what gave him the idea of fracking. His company ‘Continental Resources’ now produces over 200,000 barrels of gas a day which has made Harold a very wealthy man indeed. Harold has been through some expensive divorces in his lifetime but has money enough left to live comfortably.
Name: Phil Knight
Net worth: $25.9 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Nike’
Phil had some help when he founded his company during 1964 as he enlisted his previous track coach to develop the ideas. He began by selling the trainers out of the trunk of his car until the demand for the trainers were too much for one man to keep up with. Recently Phil has pledged that he will donate nearly $1 billion to two different universities, the Universities of Stanford and Oregon, where he previously studied.
Name: Mary Alice Dorrance Malone
Net worth: $3.3 billion
Origin of wealth: Heiress to ‘Campbell Soup’
Mary’s grandfather developed the formula behind the soup in the late 1800s. Her and her brother now both hold positions on the company’s board, but Mary owns the biggest stake in the business as she has 17% to her name. Over her life, Mary has used her considerable fortune to fund the passion she has for horses as she has bought many private estates, as well as performance centers, for all of her four-legged companions.
Name: Jonathan Nelson
Net worth: $1.97 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Providence Equity Partners’
Jonathan had a background in the equity marketplace, as he had studied economics at Brown University. He went on to found his own company following his graduation; a company that has since gone on to invest in over 160 businesses. Providence once owned the Ironman triathlon, but sold it for $900 million in 2015. With his millions, Jonathan has designed and built a superyacht that is nearly 300 foot long and features two VIP bedrooms with four luxurious guestrooms.
Name: Anita Zucker
Net worth: $3.7 billion
Origin of wealth: CEO of ‘Hudson’s Bay Co.’
Anita had been working for the retail brand when she met her late husband, Jerry Zucker. Jerry had founded ‘InterTech’ and soon made his wife CEO of the chemical manufacturing company. With her money Anita has purchased an aerospace engineering firm, a number of commercial real estate buildings, and the South Carolina Stingrays – a hockey team – as well as a huge ice skating rink in South Carolina. She has passed the title of president on to her son, Jonathan, following the death of her husband.
Name: T. Denny Sanford
Net worth: $2.2 billion
Origin of wealth: Owns ‘First PREMIER Bank’
Denny made his fortune from an unusual market by specializing in lending money to people that were deemed to be at a high risk of not paying it back. Regardless of his clientele, he has managed to make his billions through upping the interest rates for his credit cards. Over his lifetime Denny has donated around $1.6 billion to various charities as he wants to pass away bankrupt, but can’t give his money away quick enough.
Name: Thomas Frist Jr.
Net worth: $8.2 billion
Origin of wealth: Co-founder of ‘Hospital Corp of America’
Thomas began his career as a surgeon for the Air Force which is when he and his father decided to found their own hospital company. Hospital Corp of America has since grown to be the largest hospital corporation in America. While Thomas doesn’t have a senior position there anymore, he has assigned two of his sons to the company’s board. Last year Thomas took the biggest loss of any billionaire when he lost 7% of his fortune due to laws in healthcare changing.
Name: Alice Walton
Net worth: $41.9 billion
Origin of wealth: Daughter of Sam Walton, founder of ‘Walmart’
Alice is another of Sam’s children, and his only daughter, to be relishing in the fortune her father left behind. Unlike her siblings, Alice has decided to spend her wealth outside of the Walmart empire as she now invests in and collects pieces of art. Alice has opened a museum to show off her collection in Arkansas. She showcases work from artists such as Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol, with the selection estimated to be worth hundreds of millions.
Name: Gail Miller
Net worth: $1.17 billion
Origin of wealth: Invested in a ‘Toyota’ dealership
Gail put her money towards investing in a Toyota dealership with Larry Miller, her husband, which has grown into 62 dealerships that altogether turn over $4.4 billion annually. She now also owns her late husband’s company ‘Larry H. Miller Group’ which specializes in car sales. Gail has gone on to employ 70 members of the couple’s family to work for her company as she wants to ensure that it stays with their family over the years.
Name: John Abele
Net worth: $625 million
Origin of wealth: Co-founder of ‘Boston Scientific’
John’s company is one of the leading pioneers in developing less intrusive medical treatments as well as distributing medical devices. He took his idea public in 1992; three years later he was a billionaire. With his fortune, John has set up the ‘Argosy Foundation’ that aims to give money towards areas in the local community to benefit everyone. He says his goal is to ensure that his family is financially looked after when he decides to retire.
Name: Jacqueline Mars
Net worth: $25 billion
Origin of wealth: Granddaughter of Franklin Mars, the founder of ‘Mars’
Not only is Jacqueline related to the founder of the largest candy distributor in the world, but she also owns one-third of the company. Until last year Jacqueline was a member of the board of the company but has since retired. Jacqueline puts her money towards funding her passion for horses as she is vice president for the American horseriding team, as well as donating towards the National Symphony Orchestra, and the doctors in the Australian Outback.
Name: Bill Gates
Net worth: $89.6 billion
Origin of wealth: Co-founder of ‘Microsoft’
Bill is one of the most famous billionaires in the world after he and Paul Allen founded Microsoft back in 1975. Not only have Bill and his wife, Melinda, established the largest private charity around the world, he has also announced that his children will only ever inherit $10 million each as he wants them to appreciate they can’t live off his fortune. Some of his purchases include his own private plane alongside a collection of Leonardo da Vinci writings.
Name: Jim Justice
Net worth: $1.73 billion
Origin of wealth: Coal mining
Jim is the only billionaire to live in West Virginia so doesn’t have much competition to be the wealthiest. He has recently been elected as the governor of the state after campaigning to improve the education system, while also boosting tourism to raise the economy of his hometown Jim initially made his fortune after his dad left him his coal mining business which he still runs to this day; it has mines in five different states.
Name: John Menard Jr.
Net worth: $10 billion
Origin of wealth: Founder of ‘Menards’
John was one of the original people to open a large home improvement store, with his first opening back in 1964 – 14 years before his rival, Home Depot. The company has since grown to own over 300 stores across the country. Like many billionaires, John has donated a significant portion of his income to charities, but also uses his money to help fund his son’s NASCAR career as he owns an engine shop in the UK to build the engines for the cars.
Name: John Mars
Net worth: $25 billion
Origin of wealth: Grandson of Franklin Mars, the founder of ‘Mars’
John also owns one-third of the Mars company. He once worked at one of the senior positions, but the business is now handled by John and Jacqueline’s children. Growing up John and his late brother were made to appreciate the lives they had as their father refused to buy them designer clothes or give them everything they wanted. He wanted to ensure that they earned their things, but John is said to be less strict with his children.