There are more billionaires walking the planet than ever before.
According to the Forbes 2017 Billionaires List, there are now a record 2,043 billionaires, having increased by 233 from the previous year.
If you fancy joining the ranks of the mega rich – these billionaires are worth a whopping $7.7 trillion (about £5.7 trillion) – then what do you need to do?
It turns out picking the right subjects to study at university or college can play a big part. Analysis of the rich list by recruitment specialists Aaron Wallis has highlighted that of the 100 richest billionaires, 75 pursued some form of higher education.
As the table below highlights, these mega rich people picked some rather disparate subjects to study, though there are a few that stand out as being particularly popular among the would-be wealthy.
|Degree subject||Number of richest billionaires that studied this subject|
|Finance & Economics||11|
|Art / History of Art||3|
Source: Aaron Wallis
Clearly, having a hands on understanding of engineering is a useful way to end up with the big bucks; if people are willing to spend £1,000 on a mobile phone that’s awfully similar to the one they already have, then it’s a good sign that tech is a fruitful area to pursue. Indeed, according to Forbes, there are now 183 tech billionaires.
However, it’s notable that business and economics also score highly. Understanding economic cycles, and when – not just how – to make a deal are obviously incredibly useful assets for the super rich to have.
Aaron Wallis also picked out certain trends among the first jobs held by the richest of the rich. A significant 30% of the richest 100 inherited their wealth, which isn’t an option for most of us, but more than half of them started their working life in somebody else’s company.
Interestingly, of those 53 super billionaires, the most common starting role was as a salesman (10), just ahead of being a stock trader (9), a software developer (5) and an engineer (5).
Again, a familiarity with making deals, with understanding how to sell something, is a big plus if you want to end up with a swimming pool filled with money a la Scrooge McDuck.
If you do manage to find yourself on the rich list, be warned that membership may only be temporary.
Forbes kicked 78 members of the 2016 billionaires list off as a result of falling fortunes, most notably Elizabeth Holmes whose net worth went from $3.6 billion (£2.67 billion) to a big, fat zero after her blood testing company Theranos was the subject of a scandal that has raised the prospect of liquidation.