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10 Billionaires Who Started Out Dirt Poor

6. Howard Schultz-Starbucks Founder


Howard Schultz, the chairman and CEO of Starbucks and former owner of the Seattle Supersonics, grew up in a housing complex for the poor. Ever since young age his goal was, in his own words “to climb over the fence”. Schultz desperately wanted to escape poverty and he would, eventually, manage to do so. He ended up winning a football scholarship and started working for Xerox, soon after graduating from university. Not too long after that, he took over an obscure coffee shop name Starbucks and went on to turn it into a worldwide franchise and a multi-billion dollar empire. Schultz’s net worth is $2.9 billion.


7. Ken Langone-Co-founder of Home Depot


The famous investor can Ken Langone was born into a blue collar, working class family. His father was a plumber and his mother a cafeteria worker. His parents even had to mortgage their house so the young Ken could attend university. While completing his studies, Ken worked a series of odd jobs and supported himself. Only two years after getting his first “real” job, he partnered with Bernard Marcus and started Home Depot. His net worth is now $2.7 billion.

8. Do Won Chang-Founder Forever 21


Do Won Chang was born and grew up in South Korea. He moved to the United States in 1981 with his wife, Jin Sook Chang. His story is a typical example of the American dream, a Hollywood-like, epic rags to riches tale. Do Won Chang worked as a gas station attendant and janitor before opening up his first clothes retail store. He named it Fashion 21 and the rest is history. Later changed to Forever 21, the company is now an international enterprise, with almost 500 stores everywhere around the world. Do Won and Jin Sook Chang’s net worth is now over $5 billion.


9. Ralph Lauren-Founder Ralph Lauren 


Originally born, Ralph Lifshitz, Ralph Lauren was born in the Bronx to immigrant parents. After completing high school he enrolled Baruch College, only to drop out later on. After dropping out Ralph joined the army. Soon after that he started working as a clerk at Brooks Brothers and then moved on to become a salesman for a tie company. It is then that Lauren designed his first tie, only to be rejected by the management. Shortly after that, he started making his own ties – he made them from rags and started selling them to small shops in New York. In 1967., he opened his first necktie store and sold his neckties under the label Polo. Almost 50 years later, his clothes are world famous.  As of 2016, Ralph Lauren has an estimated net work of $6 billion.


10. George Soros


Gerge Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary and went to London to live with his relatives. After surviving the horrors of World War 2, Soros put himself through the London School of Economics by working, among other things, as a waiter. After graduating he spent some time working in a small London souvenir shop and ended up getting a job as a banker, in New York city. Today, he is one of the most famous business magnates and philanthropists in the world, with his net worth being almost 25 billion dollars.


Image Creditaphrodite-in-nycRichard ErikssonArnaldo Anaya-Lucca, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung


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