What Billionaires Know That We Don't

  • By Silvia Ascarelli, MarketWatch
  • July 13, 2015

So you want to be a billionaire, not just a millionaire?

female CEO
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Odds are, you need these three personality traits to get there:

  1. Be smart about the risk. “Self-made billionaires tend to have a very optimistic attitude toward risk, focus on risks they understand and find smart ways to reduce them,” according to the 2015 Billionaires Report from UBS and PwC, which looked at those who made themselves into billionaires between 1995 and 2014.
    That means being more focused on missing out on the upside, rather than fretting too much about the downside. They look for opportunities where they have an edge — yet are aware they may not always have an advantage. And they are good at recovering from failure, whether by not risking everything or being able to adapt their idea until they find success.
  2. Be curious but also focused. That curiosity helps them spot untapped customer needs, and that focus lets them cut out distractions.
  3. Be highly resilient, work hard and persevere. Self-made billionaires tend to be serial entrepreneurs, UBS and PwC found.

Here are some other characteristics of billionaires that UBS and PwC found in what they call the second Gilded Age:

  • They don’t drop out of college. Mark Zuckerberg is the exception; 82 percent have college degrees.
  • More than two-thirds started their first venture before reaching 40.
  • Almost half worked for large companies before striking out on their own.
  • Billionaires generally don’t become billionaires until after they hit 40.
  • Financial services is the biggest source of U.S. self-made billionaires, followed by technology. But technology billionaires tend to be far richer.

This article originally appeared on MarketWatch.com and is reprinted by permission from Marketwatch.com, ©2015 Dow Jones & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

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