As soon as we hear the term startup, we often resonate with millennials. Also, more often than not, we recognize these startups as soon as unicorns as these companies go on to make millennial billionaires.
According to PhysicalGold.com, despite their astonishing ability to generate a huge amount of wealth at a relatively young age, there has not been much made about millennial billionaires.
The company recently analyzed the latest data from Forbes to assess which industry has the most millennial billionaires. It found that the technology space has the most number of millennial billionaires.
Being a millennial billionaire, born between 1981 to 1996, is not an easy feat (more on that in a minute). That is why there are only a limited number of people globally to reach billionaire status.
Which Industry has the Most Millennial Billionaires?
As noted, the technology industry has the most millennial billions with a total of 28 in numbers, and their combined net worth equates to an extraordinary 254.5 billion USD. The finance and investment sector has the next most significant number of millennial billionaires with eight personnel and a cumulative net worth of over 24.6 billion USD (1).
The automotive industry comes in 3rd place with six millennial billion holding about 17.2 billion USD in wealth. At 4th place comes the manufacturing industry with five millennial billions with a cumulative wealth of 14.1 billion USD. Mining and Metals have four billionaires at the fifth position with a total wealth of 6.4 billion USD. Finally, Energy Industry, at sixth rank, with two millennial billionaires holding 7.7 billion USD wealth in total.
The fashion and retail, healthcare, media, and entertainment sectors have six millennial billionaires. In contrast, the construction and engineering, casinos, gambling, sports, telecommunications, and logistics industries have no millennial billionaires.
All-inclusive, there are currently 78 millennial billionaires globally holding a collective net worth of about 418.6 billion USD.
It is worth highlighting that seven of the top ten millennial billionaires are from the technology industry (2).
Top Millennial Billionaires
It includes Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Nathan Blecharczyk, Zhang Yiming, Pavel Durove, and Evan Spiegel. Out of these billionaires, Mark Zuckerberg holds the top position with over 97 billion USD in wealth. As among the founders of Facebook, Zuckerberg is said to be the mind behind Facebook evolving into a lot more than a social media platform.
Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, a content media platform, is in the second position with a net worth of 35.6 billion USD. Dustin Moskovitz, the CEO of work management software Asana, is in the third position with a net worth of 17.8 billion USD. The popular messaging app, Telegram founder Pavel Durov (17.2 billion USD), is among the other millennial billionaires with a net worth of over 15 billion USD.
The other top ten millennial billionaires, holding a net worth between 8.7 billion USD to 15.6 billion USD, includes Lukas Walton, in the Fashion and Retail industry, Chen Yixiao from Media and Entertainment, Sam Bankman-Fried from Finance and Investments, Agnete Kirk, Thinggard from Manufacturing, and Nathan Blecharczyk, Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy from Technology sector (3).
Countries with the Most Millennial Billionaires
The country with the most millennial billionaires is the United States, 33.3%, followed by China at 20.5%, Germany at 10.3%, Russia, Brazil, and Hong Kong at 5.1%, Denmark and Australia at 3.8%, Sweden, Ireland, and Canada at 2.6%, Norway, United Kingdom, Finland, and India at 1.3% (4).
Cryptocurrencies and NFTs are Their Top Assets
According to a CNBC Millionaire survey (5), nearly half of millennial billionaires have at least a quarter of their wealth in cryptocurrencies, as the digital currency boom continues to generate wealth for these young and early adopters.
As per the survey of over 750k investors with investable assets of at least 1 million USD, 47% of millennial billionaires surveyed have over 25% of their wealth in cryptocurrencies. Meaning, over one-third of millennial billionaires own crypto assets.
The survey also highlights the difference between the young and veteran generation when it comes to wealth creation. For instance, according to the study, 83% of Americans using digital currencies had no wealth, and about 10% spent over 10% on crypto assets.
As a result, young investors quickly realized the value of creating wealth from cryptocurrencies and developed the tendency to make huge fortunes and grow their existing investments from soaring prices of Ether, Bitcoin, and other crypto coins.
The survey, further emphasizing the gap between the two generations, found that older billionaires are much less likely to invest or believe in crypto. For example, 83% of surveyed American billionaires have no crypto assets. Furthermore, only 1 in 10 has over 10% of their wealth in crypto assets. There are no older generations or baby boomers with more than 10% of their wealth in cryptos (6).
George Walper, Spectrem Group’s President (7), which conducted the online CNBC survey in April and May at that time, stated,
“New generation investors are more intellectually involved with the idea, even if it was new. Whereas, baby boomers and other older investors were mostly asking whether it is legal or not.”
The importance of crypto assets to young billionaires can change the wealth management sector, including brokers, banks, and other wealth management companies, as they would scramble to serve new crypto-heavy clients.
In the upcoming years, the key to attracting the young generation of wealthy clients could be more about crypto assets than conventional fixed incomes, equities, hedge funds, and other private equity funds.
“We are already witnessing the industry reaction. We have more and more companies providing access to crypto assets. They are evolving rapidly,” added Walper.
The same study highlights that the age split is much larger with NFTs, which has taken the younger generation by storm worldwide. At the time, virtually all the older generation wealthy didn’t know about NFTs in the United States; more than two-thirds of millennial billionaires think they will be the “the next big thing.”
Notably, one-third of them believe that NFTs are a gimmick and overhyped.
Nearly half of the 750k millionaires indicated that they own NFTs, while about 40% indicated they don’t own it but have explored deep about it and are considering it. Compared to the generation born between 1946 and 1964, a staggering 98% of the category of millionaires didn’t own NFTs and did not consider it. Walper stated that NFts have only started to be part of the media coverage; hence, their understanding is further behind.
According to the CNBC survey, millennial billionaires have a huge share of crypto assets.
While several concerns around Bitcoin, the most popular and the oldest globally traded crypto coin, the globe has seen its value expand over the past few months despite constant critics, warnings, doubtful reviews, and skeptics.
In April, Bitcoin had witnessed a massive spike in its valuation, of more than 450% in six months when it had reached the all-time high price of 65k USD. However, since then, there has been a tumble in its prices, losing more than half its value. These massive fluctuations have become a hallmark of crypto trading in 2021.
Millennials are Perhaps the Wealthiest Generation
According to a Bloomberg report (9), millennials are the wealthiest generation compared to their older counterparts.
There has been a huge evolution in the world since boomers were young adults and the value of education, housing, and a steady job.
Millennials had spent their early adulthood dogging two large recessions, rising property prices and exploding education debt. So it is no wonder they are less tied, even as they approach their 40s, with several conventional trappings of adulthood such as homeownership and marriage.
However, a closer look at the data and a more inclusive definition of the term wealth would reveal that the often-maligned group is doing pretty well. And in most cases, even better than their previous generations.
However, it is also hard to compare generations. Each generation has typically been more wealthy than the last in modern history. And if millennials fall behind, it would mean an end of a multi-generational boom in prosperity.
That is mainly because the world changes at a rapid pace. And so do the success markers, as we make different choices to grow.
Things are not the same since the baby boomers were young.
Today, we can’t get a decent salary and stable finance without education or training beyond high school. For most, a thriving career means living in large metro cities that offer better career options and a large network of talented connected peers that further the skill-set.
Millennials also need to make investments and savings for their retirement. Hence, it is debatable whether all these changes are good. However, we consider the generation as a whole; their portfolio is not so bad. Millennials have made choices according to the new era.
Consider the massive debt levels. Millennials have twice as much debt as their parents had at their age. However, it is mostly student debt, highlighting that they invested in their future earnings. As the world changes, more education is becoming necessary for higher pay. As per the data from the Federal Reserve bank, more than 69% of millennials had some education after high school compared to 54% of boomers.
It is also true that Millennials have paid higher tuition than their parents, and the salary premium from going to university has dropped since the 1980s as more people are getting a degree, making them less valuable. There is also evidence that starting wages are lower and may rise more slowly when one controls education (10). However, that income has become more valuable.
Even in finance, an asset is worth more when it is more predictable, and wages are fewer variables than before (11). Previously, wages swung around as people worked more hours and changed jobs. However, over time, people changed jobs less frequently and worked less. It explains why there have been stagnant wages because people driving around more and less secure positions were partially driving the increase in the past.
An asset that offers predictable income each year is more valuable than a riskier asset since knowing how much you will get paid or how to pay each year is more desirable, whether one is a worker or an investor. It is why junk bonds cost less compared to treasuries. Hence, a millennial’s reliable 1 USD wage today is worth more than an erratic boomer wage in the 1990s, which might swing from 0.5 to 1.5 USD.
Now, what has contributed to that stability? Education. The more education one has, the shorter or less frequent periods of unemployment one faces. In the new world, we have traded risk for stability. We can debate if it is worth the tradeoff; however, we can not deny the value of less risk. And in this new economy, investing in oneself or education is the smartest investment one can make (12).
True, millennials are less likely to have a house; 48% of 26 to 38-year-olds are homeowners today, compared to 52% in 1989, as per the Fed Data, and home prices are significantly high (13).
However, it also reflects some reasonable decisions. Previously, at least before the pandemic, better skills development and higher wages were found in large urban cities. However, these places also had higher home prices because of the demand in part and development limiting policies.
It means, if one lives somewhere one can’t afford to purchase a house, it might be because he lives somewhere that puts one’s career on the fast track.
Even though millennials have more debt, they have more financial assets, about 25%, than their parents did at their age. Again, it is because they are more likely to have a retirement account. While one could argue that conventional pensions were better, they were harder to come by. Notably, 86% of millennials have some form of retirement plan, compared to 73% of boomers at that time.
There has been a dramatic change in the world since the 1980s. Investing in financial assets and skills make more sense than owning a house because getting ahead needs more education and living in a better city. Again, one can argue whether much of that transformation is positive or whether it is driven by policy changes like housing restrictions or only changes in the worldwide economy that put a higher premium on skills we learn in educational institutes.
Maybe the coronavirus pandemic will change some of these trends. However, one can’t blame or pity millennials for making decisions that reflect the economy they live in. Owning a house is overrated anyway.