Between the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley and the celebrity stars of Tinsel Town, California has never had any shortage of the super-rich. However, some of the names appearing at the very top of California’s rich list might come as a surprise. Here, we will take a look at a few of the famous, and not so famous, and find out how they came upon their fabulous wealth.
Could you join the actors and the digital tycoons?
California is home to more billionaires than any other state, with well over 100. So does that mean that becoming a millionaire is something that any of us can do? Indeed, there are a good number of very wealthy multi-millionaires who have obtained their money through less than conventional means.
After all, California is also the home of some of the most lucrative lotteries in the entire USA. California lottery winning numbers could yield a nine-figure payout, so it is definitely worth checking those previous winning numbers. After all, the Powerball alone, with its potential payout of $411 million could make you wealthier than Judge Judy (worth an estimated $300 million) or Beyoncé Knowles ($350 million).
For most of us, that sounds like good enough company to keep to live out life in comfort and luxury. But how about those California residents whose wealth is 10 or even 100 times more? Let’s meet some of them.
The Facebook founder is the richest man in California by some margin. His 1903 home on Hamilton in Palo Alto looks relatively modest for a man worth more than $50 billion. He bought it in 2011 for $7 million, and in subsequent years has also purchased the four neighboring houses at a total cost of more than $40 million. He recently submitted a planning application to demolish and rebuild all four of those, ostensibly to “maintain the character of the neighborhood with smaller, updated versions.” However, many speculate that the real reason is to protect and enhance his privacy and security.
Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk is worth an estimated $20 billion and owns several multi-million dollar properties in Bel Air, which are rumored to have cost him more than $70 million.
The 46-year-old is best known as the man behind Tesla Inc, the electric car maker and solar panel manufacturer based just down the road from Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto.
However, it is through software company Zip2, which he founded in 1995 and sold four years later for $300 million, that he started to make his money. He used it to invest in the company that owned PayPal, and the rest is history.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
The joint founders of Google are both California residents and are each worth around $44 billion. The former is yet another face you might bump into on the streets of Palo Alto, while the latter owns a remarkable property just down the road in Los Altos.
While it is fair to say the majority of the names among California’s super-rich list earned their money in the tech industry, there are a few good old-fashioned industrialists around, too. Patrick Soon-Shiong made his billions from the pharmaceutical industry, and with a net worth of more than $8 billion, he is sometimes referred to as “America’s richest doctor.”
He and his wife, former actress Michelle Chan, live in Los Angeles and are rumored to have invested heavily, but quietly, in high-end real estate across California.
Doesn’t anyone make money out of Hollywood anymore? Of course, they do, and one or two of the biggest names have bank balances that can almost go up against the tech giants. Names certainly don’t get any bigger than George Lucas – the Star Wars creator is a longtime resident of San Anselmo, and his ranch at 52 Park Way has been listed as his primary home since the mid-1970s.
Lucas went into semi-retirement at the age of 68, something that most of us would probably have done several years sooner with $5 billion in the bank. Five years on, however, he is still involved in directing independent, small-scale productions.
Is it something in the air?
There is no doubt that California has always been a magnet for money. That is still the case today, despite the economic shifts in the world over recent years. It must be something to do with that Pacific breeze!