Sure, it’s extremely unlikely any of us will ever actually become billionaires ourselves. But it never hurts to learn a little from those who have.
After all, once you’ve put the progeny through school, that ski chalet in Aspen isn’t going to pay for itself.
So here’s a brief rundown on how five of Australia’s richest people made their fortune. Hint: two are property moguls, two are mining giants, and one built his empire on cardboard.
1. ‘The Cardboard King’ Anthony Pratt
2017 Net Worth: $12.6 billion, Industry: Manufacturing and investment
Cut from the cloth of hard working immigrants who arrived in Australia in the 1930s, Pratt took over as Executive Chairman of recycled cardboard producer Visy Industries after the death of his father Richard in 2009.
Far from spending the preceding years kicking back and waiting for his inheritance to kick in, Pratt led the company’s massive expansion in the US. And he’s grown its revenue there from US$100 million in 1991 to around US$3 billion by 2016.
These days Visy is the world’s largest privately owned packaging and paper company. Over the next decade it plans to create more than 5000 Australian manufacturing jobs as part of an expansion strategy worth more than $2 billion.
2. ‘High-rise’ Harry Triguboff
2017 Net Worth: $11.4billion, Industry: Property
Anyone who’s been to Sydney will be aware of Triguboff’s Meriton empire, a brand name ubiquitous in the harbour city.
Another immigrant to Australia – via China in the late 1940s – Triguboff tried out several businesses before he flipped his first block of eight residential units in Sydney’s inner west in the mid-1960s.
As of 2015, Meriton had built more than 55,000 residential apartments and townhouses. And believe it or not, ‘High-rise Harry’ is still an active Managing Director at the age of 84.
3. ‘Family Feud’ Gina Rinehart
2017 Net Worth: $10.4billion, Industry: Mining
At one time the world’s richest woman, Rinehart became the Chairman of Hancock Prospecting after the death of her father Lang Hancock in 1992.
The value of her inherited fortune has fluctuated in line with Australia’s mining boom, which peaked in the early 2000s.
Despite being a university a dropout, she has proved a shrewd investor, expanding the company’s portfolio into media, property and agriculture.
Rinehart’s fortune reached a high of $29 billion in 2012. Yet to this day she remains locked in a lengthy legal battle with some her children.
4. ‘Don’t mention the World Cup’ Frank Lowy
2017 Net Worth: $8.26billion, Industry: Property
Arriving in Australia from Hungary in 1953, Lowy began his global Westfield shopping centre empire in 1958 in the Sydney suburb of Blacktown.
Over the following six decades, the brand has spread around the world, managed in Australia and New Zealand by the Scentre Group, which Lowy remained chairman of until October 2015.
He also stepped down as Executive Chairman of the Westfield Group in May 2011, with his sons Peter and Steven currently sharing the role.
A huge supporter of soccer in Australia, the property magnate famously bankrolled our country’s failed bid to host the game’s showpiece in 2022.
5. ‘Forrest the Force’ Andrew Forrest
2017 Net Worth: 6.84billion, Industry: Mining
Known as ‘Twiggy’ around the traps, Forrest is the former CEO and currently the non-executive chairman of Fortescue Metals Group. It’s a company he founded in 2003 and has since become the world’s lowest-cost iron-ore producer.
Considered Australia’s ‘third force’ in mining, FMG’s position has helped Forrest double his personal wealth over the last 12 months.
Branching out into agriculture via the Harvey Beef and Harvey Road Dairy brands, along with his wife Nicola, Forrest has promised to give away the majority of his wealth during his lifetime.
In recent times he’s hit the media for leading the fight against the Australian Rugby Union’s axing of the Western Force. Twiggy has vowed to set up a rugby union competition to rival Super Rugby across the Indo-Pacific region.
So that’s our list of five. In all cases, you can be sure that these wealthy Australians had help along the way, including unbiased advice and the formulation of a sound financial plan.
While we can’t promise that you’ll ever become a billionaire, we can help you track and achieve your financial goals, so come in for a chat soon.
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