At age 19, Norwegian beauty Alexandra Andresen is the world’s youngest billionaire, having recently inherited a 42.5 percent stake of her family’s investment company. The world’s three youngest billionaires — Alexandra, her sister Katharina, and a third fresh-faced Nordic billionaire — are Norwegian, all by familial inheritance.
Youth + beauty + money has, unsurprisingly, proven a recipe for global media attention for the world’s youngest billionaire, but financial analysts are more interested in what this means for the world in which the youngest billionaire finished school last year and is yet to have her twentieth birthday.
Forbes’ annual Billionaires list reveals that young money is on the rise: the number of billionaires aged 40 and under has quadrupled since four years ago. What has come as a bigger surprise is the fact that more than half of those 66 youngest are self-made billionaires. In the young money millennium, the world’s resources are not age-exclusive: even the youngest entrepreneur, innovator or technology developer can become a billionaire with the right idea at the right time.
Billion-dollar apps Facebook, Uber, WhatsApp, Airbnb, Twitter and Snapchat have all put their makers on the young money map among the youngest of Forbes’ billionaire list, and many others made their fortune in software, technological innovation or skillful – or incredibly fortuitous – entrepreneurship.
“Of the 36 who made their own way, more than three-quarters got rich in the tech sector, including 25 billionaires whose fortunes come from unicorn startups valued at more than $1 billion,” says Forbes.
So who are world’s youngest billionaires, and what will become of these leaders of the young money movement?
The world’s youngest self-made billionaire is 25-year-old Evan Spiegel, creator of Snapchat, whose net worth is now $2.1 billion— and app’s the figures speak for themselves.
Forbes reports that last May, Snapchat raised almost $600 million in funding, putting the ephemeral photo messaging company’s value at $16 billion. What does Spiegel’s young money lifestyle look like? Well, the billionaire tech genius certainly runs with the glamorous crowd: he’s a headliner at tech conventions, a guest on popular talk shows and he’s dating one of the world’s most successful models.
Another young money magnate leads the under 40 crowd by $34.2 billion, and is arguably the most famous. At 31, Mark Zuckerberg, the world’s former youngest billionaire and inventor of Facebook, is now a husband, a father of one and the sixth richest person in the world with a net worth of $44.6 billion. Zuckerberg recently pledged to donate almost all of his wealth to charity over the course of his lifetime through the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, ingratiating himself firmly with even the harshest of the world’s young money skeptics. It’s not all sunshine and holidays, though — Zuckerberg’s high profile billionaire status has made him a target for ISIS terror threats.
So what does the world’s youngest billionaire’s life look like? Though Alexandra Andresen cannot claim to have reached this status of her own accord, she claims to lead a relatively normal life when it comes to money, reports New York Daily.
“Despite being the richest teen in the world, Alexandra lives a low-key lifestyle as a dressage competitor who promotes veganism on her Instagram page,” says their article on the billionaire beauty. “She said she still saves up all her money and her father insists she buys cars secondhand.”
The young money millennium is predicted to give rise to a new generation of billionaires whose pathway to riches has left them better equipped for titles such as World’s Youngest Billionaire. With great power and fortune at their disposal, they might be – hopefully, will be – the leaders of change in the world.
[Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images]