Imagine being a multi-millionaire before your 20th birthday. How would your life be different? Would you be a spoiled brat, or use the money to invest in your education and philanthropy? Through talent, ingenuity and good looks, this list takes a look at people who amassed huge amounts of money while they were still very young.
Whether they’re a sports prodigy, software genius or famous actor – most of the people on this list share a good work ethic and a passion for what they do. They are, more often than not, iconoclasts who set themselves apart from their peers one way or another. Behind that skill set, though, is often a smart business sense. Even with the right gigs and the right opportunities, making a bad choice or a bad investment can literally cost you millions. This might be a credit as much to the people closest to these young stars as it is the young millionaires themselves.
This list balances people from different backgrounds and industries who managed to accumulate over $50 million at a young age. This usually means they earned that much before or around the age of 25. It also should be no surprise that many people on this list have only continued to earn more and more money as they grow older – who knows down the line how many more people on this list will become billionaires.
15. Emma Watson
Since starring in Harry Potter as Hermione, Emma Watson has continued to find success as both an actor and activist. Proving that not all child actors crash and burn, Emma Watson has not let the fame get to her head. She has pursued higher learning and used her platform to fight for wage equality and women’s rights around the world. She is able to do this in no small part to her accumulated net worth, which is estimated to be around $60 million. She has also worked as a model, working on campaigns for Burberry, Chanel and Lancome. Emma also has a degree in English Literature from Brown University.
14. Kristen Stewart
Many of us forget that Kristen Stewart was a thing long before Twilight. She was Jodie Foster’s kid in the mostly forgotten Panic Room, among others, when she was plucked to fill the role of Bella. While it never seemed that Kristen Stewart fully embraced her role in the franchise, she’s laughing all the way to do the bank now, with an apparent net worth of $70 million. Since Twilight is over, Stewart seems to have done everything she can to distance herself from her role, earning herself a lot of accolades for The Clouds of Sils Maria, which won her a Cesar (The french Oscar), making her the first ever American actress to win the award.
13. Miley Cyrus
Working with Disney is always a great bet for a big paycheck. While Miley Cyrus was born into a C-List celebrity household (sorry, not sorry Billy Ray), she quickly rose to A-list fame with her huge hit Hannah Montana. While honestly she never really had much acting talent, her musical career really took off and she has never looked back. While some were afraid she was heading down the same path as Lindsay Lohan as she chopped off her hair and started to break away from her old Disney persona, that turned out to be far from the case. Re-branding herself as an edgy and unpredictable pop star might be the smartest thing that Miley has ever done and her current net worth valuing over $165 million reflects that.
12. Justin Bieber
As much we love to hate Justin Bieber – he has a pretty enviable life. Picked from obscurity off YouTube, Bieber quickly became the artist to launch a million female puberties across the USA and Canada. A real rags to riches story, Bieber was raised by a single mom in Stratford Ontario, only to become one of the wealthiest and most popular singers in the world – all before his 16th birthday. While Bieber has gone through some well-documented growing pains, which has alienated some of his fans, he still continues to release hit after hit. Now 22, Bieber is worth a whopping $200 million!
11. Roger Federer
One quick way to make hundreds of millions of dollars is apparent to be one of the highest ranked athletes in the world – anyone can do it, right? In his early 30s now, Roger Federer has been winning prize money in the millions since the early 2000’s, thanks to his amazing skills on the court. This Swiss tennis marvel is now valued at a respectable $350 million thanks to his talents and the endorsements that they have secured. While Federer seems to be winding down his career due to a bad knee, he still has a few years left in him yet!
10. Jennifer Lawrence
Coming out of nowhere, one year Jennifer Lawrence was a breakout star for a small indie film called Winter’s Bone, and suddenly, became one of the biggest stars in the world. Born in 1990, she is among the richest young stars in Hollywood and only poised to be more successful. Though she’s finishing up the Hunger Games Franchise now, she still has a pivotal role in X-Men, with likely some other big franchises on the horizon. Making just $3000 per week on Winter’s Bone in 2010, in just five years, she is now worth a whopping $75 million! This starlet who has both mainstream and the critical appeal is likely here for the long haul.
For some of us, it is still cute that our favorite Degrassi: The Next Generation star is now one of the biggest rappers in the world. Drake, who just released his new album Views, is doing very well for himself. Since he has started releasing music, Drake has consistently been on the billboard charts and does extremely well on tour. Though he’s turning 30 this year, he’s already accumulated a net worth of $100 million. Drake’s fame and earnings can’t buy him everything, though – after sliding into adult actress Mia Khalifa’s DMs, she was quick to turn him down. It’s true what they say, money can’t buy happiness!
8. The Olsen Twins
Chances are, if you were born at any point after 1985, you grew up with The Olsen Twins. Whether it was on Full House or through their movies, books or tapes – the Olsen Twins have more or less been omnipresent since they were 6 months old. While they have since more or less abandoned film and television, pursuing instead careers in fashion, the pair accumulated most of their wealth long before their shared 20th birthday and are now valued at $300 million. Unlike most of their former Full House co-stars, they had the luxury of declining to appear in the show’s Netflix reboot Fuller House, which had less than stellar reviews (to say the very least).
7. Mia Wasikowska
While Mia Wasikowska might not be the household name that some of the other people on this list are, most readers are very familiar with her biggest movie franchise, Alice in Wonderland. As evidenced by many young actors on this list, the easiest way to get a lot of money fast is to be cast in a huge blockbuster series – especially if it is geared towards young adults. Mia, who is turning 27 in October, has already accumulated a staggering net worth of $275 million. Aside from Alice in Wonderland, she has also starred in Jane Eyre, Crimson Peak and Tracks.
6. Daniel Radcliffe
This should be a big fat duh! Daniel Radcliffe was not only the star of one of the most popular film franchises of all time, he has maintained the momentum from those movies and established a very healthy acting career. Turning 27 later this year, Daniel Radcliffe is already worth $110 million, having earned a significant chunk of that money as Harry Potter (For the two Deathly Hollows films, he earned $39 million). Surprisingly, in spite of being in the spotlight most of his life, Daniel Radcliffe not only seems pretty down to earth but willing to take risks. He’s one of those guys we’d love to have a beer with.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo
This Portuguese footballer has won the hearts of millions – and has the money to show for it. By the time he was just 22 years old, he was already one of the highest ranked players in the world and has only been doing better since. While Ronaldo is quite famously generous with his money, donating millions to charity and different causes, it has little to put a dent in his ever-climbing net worth. At the time of his 2009 transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid, he was the most expensive player in the world as the trade was valued at $132 million – Ronaldo was still under 25 years old at the time! Now 31 years old, Ronaldo is reportedly worth $310 million.
4. Taylor Swift
This blonde bombshell may have started as a clean-cut country star, but has since expanded into the mainstream music industry with a bang. Taylor Swift might be turning just 27 this year, but she’s already carved out a nice retirement fund and has a total net worth of $200 million. Honestly, she never has to work another day in her life and she’ll be worth more than all of us for decades to come. Swift has not only demonstrated great musical talents but a keen business sense, as she has consistently looked to protect her rights as an artist. This includes removing her music from Spotify in a bid to raise awareness into how the music streaming service shortchanges artists.
3. Lebron James
Considered the best basketball player in the league right now, Lebron James has been the league’s golden boy since he made his debut in 2003, after being chosen as the number one draft pick of that year. Since then Lebron has earned scores of fans and enemies, as well as huge endorsement deals. His salary alone is $24 million a year, and now in his early 30’s, he has accumulated a total net worth of $425 million. While he still has never reached the basketball heights of Michael Jordan, it was recently announced he will star in the remake of Space Jam. So, once Lebron James finishes his sports career, he might continue making money on the big screen.
2. Elon Musk
The man behind SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk is very young for a multibillionaire. Valued at $14.2 billion as of April 2016, Musk is exceptionally bright – earning most of his fortune on his own. At just 24 years old in 1995, he earned 22 million dollars for selling Zip2 – he would go on to build that money in a variety of ventures, including building up Paypal to what it is today. From there, Musk would start SpaceX, a rocket program aimed to begin the colonization of Mars. Unlike many billionaires, Musk is always searching to make the world a better place and has done some very radical things with his business, including releasing the patents for Tesla in the hopes of eliminating our dependency on fossil fuels.
1. Mark Zuckerberg
This list was more or less made for Mark Zuckerberg, the boy genius behind Facebook. Mark is just 31 years old and looks about a decade younger than that – already he is worth a respectable $35.7 billion, putting him in very unique company. Zuckerberg wasn’t even 30 years old when David Fincher’s The Social Network starring Jesse Eisenberg was released, depicting the trials and tribulations of his success. Imagine you haven’t even hit mid-life yet, and someone made a Citizen Kane like a movie about your life? That, my friends, is the next level of rich and famous.