Five Richest People Who Were Once Dirt-Poor

by
editors
These five rags-to-riches stories will inspire us to overcome unfortunate circumstances with confidence, determination and a little sprinkle of luck.

Some of the world’s richest people started out life in poverty. Here’s a list that should inspire you to keep moving ahead until you shake hands with success.

  1. Jan Koum: Whatsapp Founder

Jan Koum

The Ukraine born Jan Koum and his mother immigrated to California in his teenage years. They got an apartment through government assistance and lived in squalor, making ends meet by sweeping floors.

Having a great knack for computers, Koum was able to land a job at Yahoo. After leaving there, he returned to launch Whatsapp, an app that became the worlds’ biggest messaging service with 700 million users.

Koum made it to big news when he sold his giant app to Facebook (where incidentally he was unable to get a job) for a record $16 billion. Today, Jan Koum stands third in Forbes Richest Entrepreneurs, with a net worth of about $8.4 billion.

  1. Do Won Chang: Owner, Forever 21

Do Won Chang

Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang worked as a janitor, gas station attendant and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America from Korea.

Chang says he worked multiple jobs to survive. After saving enough, he opened his first clothing store in 1984.

Today, Chang makes huge money from an international, 480-store empire, Forever 21, which is worth around $4 billion.

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  1. Howard Schultz: Starbucks Owner/CEO

Howard Schultz

When Schultz was 7, he lived with his impoverished family (his father was a truck driver) without health insurance.

Schultz played football and earned an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University — he worked for Xerox after graduation. Shortly after, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which had only 60 shops. Schultz became the company's CEO soon and grew the coffee chain to more than 16,000 outlets worldwide. His net worth according to Forbes is now $3 billion.

  1. JK Rowling: Author of Harry Potter Series

JK Rowling

JK Rowling may be the best rags to riches story of them all. She started out as a struggling, single mother living off handouts from the government. Too poor to own a computer, she wrote the first Harry Potter book on a typewriter, which later turned into eight massive blockbuster films. Rowling is now worth around $1 billion.

  1. Sundar Pichai: CEO, Google

Sundar Pichai

Google's Sundar Pichai also lived a rags to riches life. The Chennai-born became the highest-paid CEO in U.S. recently.

Pichai and other members of his family lived in a small apartment, where Pichai’s younger brother and he used to sleep in the living room. During his adolescence, he didn’t even have television and relied on crowded buses for travel.

Pichai was a brilliant student who got a Ph.D. from Stanford and became Google’s CEO in October 2015. He was handed 273,328 shares worth $199 million. He is worth about $650 million.

Read More: Top 10 Richest People In History Worth More Than You Can Imagine

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