The Richest Men in America Have This 1 Thing in Common

Bill Gates. Warren Buffett. Mark Zuckerberg. You probably recognize these names — they belong to some of the richest men in America, and around the world.

What you might not know is that the founders of tech companies like Microsoft and the investment and retail masterminds of the world actually have a lot in common. They share similar educational backgrounds, charitable endeavors, and luxury vacation homes — and much more.

Most have made their fortunes in tech

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Tech is the driving industry for these men. | David Ryder/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), and Larry Ellison (Oracle) have all made billions founding and holding long-term shares in their own tech-based companies.

Next: They have similar educational backgrounds.

Many never finished college

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is a famous Harvard dropout. | David Ramos/Getty Images

College isn’t for everyone — and plenty of America’s billionaires have created successful career paths for themselves without it. Both Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard. Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, also left school before graduating.

Next: Could this have shaped some of their futures as founders?

Many attended Montessori schools

Larry Page and Sergey Brin both went to Montessori schools. | Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images

Sergey Brin,¬†Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page all attended Montessori schools growing up. These schools follow the “Montessori method” of education, which structures a child’s school day in such a way that they control their own learning environment instead of following a strict curriculum.

Could this form of early education have shaped these founders’ successful futures? Some research suggests students who receive Montessori education do tend to excel in math and science at higher rates compared to those who don’t.

Next: They actually don’t keep all of their money for themselves.

Most are major financial donors

Bill Gates

Bill Gates devotes much of his time to philanthropy. | Thomas Peter-Pool/Getty Images

The Giving Pledge encourages wealthy individuals and families to make a commitment to donating most of their money to philanthropic efforts. Buffett, Gates, Zuckerberg, and Ellison have all made the pledge, sharing their wealth with charities and foundations to fund research and give back.

Next: This might surprise you,

They’re all men

There’s a huge gender gap among the world’s richest people. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

From Gates to Buffett to Zuckerberg, America’s richest men are all — you guessed it — men. Many of them started companies in their garages — and women haven’t quite caught up yet. In 2017, TechCrunch reported that only 17% of startup founders that year were female.

Next: They’ve built houses in paradise.

They have homes in Hawaii

Waipio valley lookout on Hawaii Big Island

If we were billionaires, we’d probably live here too. | Vacclav/iStock/Getty Images

When you’ve earned your way to success, it’s hard to argue you deserve some scheduled time away in paradise. Zuckerberg and Ellison both own land in the state of Hawaii. Rob Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, purchased 1,500 acres of land there to build his own resort.

Next: They’re not just rich by American standards.

Most are also the richest men in the world

Jeff Bezos is officially the richest man on the planet. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As if holding top spots among the richest men in America isn’t enough, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg are also among the richest people around the world. Bezos surpassed Gates as the richest person in the world in July 2017.

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