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Due to the popularity of the recent film by Martin Scorsese starring Leonardo DiCaprio, we felt it might be worth it to provide you with more details about Belfort’s background. In the following infographic, we’re shedding light on the truth behind one of the most famous and well-known real-life characters of Wall Street. We’ll start by outlining a bit about Jordan Belfort in his early years. Next, we’ll detail how he got started in the business of investing. Finally, we’ll explain when and why he got indicted, and what he’s been up to in recent years. Click here to read more
Wealth tends to create more wealth, but a rich background is not the only way to the top. Some of the world's wealthiest people started out dirt poor.
All from humble beginnings, these 15 people not only climbed to the top of their industries but also became some of the richest people in the world.
Although the rich do get richer, these rags-to-riches stories remind us that through determination, grit, and a bit of luck anyone can overcome their circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.
1. Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.
Net worth: $1.7 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance. He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a $3.5 billion deal.
He's now retired and invests heavily in racehorses.
2. Starbucks' Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor.
Net worth: $2 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
In an interview with British tabloid Mirror, Schultz says: "Growing up I always felt like I was living on the other side of the tracks. I knew the people on the other side had more resources, more money, happier families. And for some reason, I don’t know why or how, I wanted to climb over that fence and achieve something beyond what people were saying was possible. I may have a suit and tie on now but I know where I’m from and I know what it’s like."
Schultz ended up winning a football scholarship to the University of Northern Michigan and went to work for Xerox after graduation. Shortly after, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which at the time had only 60 shops. Schultz became the company's CEO in 1987 and grew the coffee chain to more than 16,000 outlets worldwide.
3. Investor Ken Langone's parents worked as a plumber and cafeteria worker.
Net worth: $2.1 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
To help pay for Langone's school at Bucknell University, he worked odd jobs and his parents mortgaged their home.
In 1968, Langone worked with Ross Perot to take Electronic Data Systems (HP) public. Just two years later, he partnered with Bernard Marcus to start Home Depot, which also went public in 1981.
4. Born into poverty, Oprah Winfrey became the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville.
Net worth: $2.9 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Winfrey was born into a poor family in Mississippi, but this didn't stop her from winning a scholarship to Tennessee State University and becoming the first African American TV correspondent in the state at the age of 19.
In 1983, Winfrey moved to Chicago to work for an AM talk show which would later be called "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
5. At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour.
Net worth: $3.8 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
He's now one of the richest people in the world, but when Khan came to the U.S. from Pakistan, he worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois. Khan now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham.
6. Mega-resort owner Kirk Kerkorian dropped out of school in the eighth grade to become a boxer.
Net worth: $3.9 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
To financially help his Armenian-immigrant family, Kerkorian dropped out of school in the eighth grade and later would become a boxer called "Rifle Right Kerkorian." During World War II, Kerkorian worked for Britain's Royal Air Force. He eventually turned his interest to constructing many of Las Vegas' biggest resorts and hotels.
7. John Paul DeJoria, the man behind a hair-care empire and Patron Tequila, once lived in a foster home and his car.
Net worth: $4 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Before the age of 10, DeJoria, a first generation American, sold Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family. He was eventually sent to live in a foster home and even spent some time in a gang before joining the military.
With a $700 dollar loan, DeJoria created John Paul Mitchell Systems and sold the shampoo door-to-door while living in his car. He later started Patron Tequila, and now invests in other industries.
8. Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang worked as a janitor, gas station attendant, and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America.
Net worth: $5 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
The husband-and-wife team — Do Won Chang and Jin Sook — behind Forever 21 didn't always have it so easy. After moving to America from Korea in 1981, Do Won had to work three jobs at the same time to make ends meet. They opened their first clothing store in 1984.
Forever 21 is now an international, 480-store empire that rakes in around $3 billion in sales a year.
9. Ralph Lauren was once a clerk at Brooks Brothers dreaming of men's ties.
Net worth: $7.7 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Lauren graduated high school in the Bronx, N.Y., but later dropped out of college to join the Army. It was while working as a clerk at Brooks Brothers that Lauren questioned whether men were ready for wider and brighter designs in ties. The year he decided to make his dream a reality, 1967, Lauren sold $500,000 worth of ties. He started Polo the next year.
10. Luxury goods mogul Francois Pinault quit high school in 1974 after being bullied for being poor.
Net worth: $15 billion (as of March 2013)
Pinault is now the face of fashion conglomerate Kering (formerly PPR), but at one time, he had to quit high school because he was teased so harshly for being poor. As a businessman, Pinault is known for his "predator" tactic, which includes buying smaller firms for a fraction of the cost when the market crashed. He eventually started PPR, which owns high-end fashion houses including Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent.
11. Leonardo Del Vecchio grew up in an orphanage and later worked in a factory where he lost part of his finger.
Net worth: $15.3 billion (as of March 2013)
Del Vecchio was one of five children who was eventually sent to an orphanage because his widow mother couldn't care for him. He would later work in a factory making molds of auto parts and eyeglass frames.
At the age of 23, Del Vecchio opened his own molding shop, which expanded to become the world's largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyeware with brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley.
12. Legendary trader George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary and arrived in London as an impoverished college student.
Net worth: $20 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
In his early teens, Soros posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture in order to stay safe from the Nazi occupation of Hungary. In 1947, Soros escaped the country to live with his relatives in London. He put himself through the London School of Economics working as a waiter and railway porter.
After graduating, Soros worked at a souvenir shop before getting a job as a banker in New York City. In 1992, his famous bet against the British pound made him a billion dollars.
13. After his father died, business magnate Li Ka-shing had to quit school to help support his family.
Net worth: $31 billion (as of March 2013)
Ka-shing fled mainland China for Hong Kong in the 1940s, but his father died when he was 15, leaving Ka-shing responsible for supporting his family. In 1950, he started his own company, Cheung Kong Industries, which manufactured plastics at first but would later expand into real estate.
14. Harold Simmons grew up in a shack with no plumbing or electricity.
Net worth: $40 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
As one of the richest people in the world, Simmons grew up in a "shack" without plumbing or electricity. He managed to get accepted to the University of Texas where he earned a bachelor's and masters in economics.
Simmons got his first big break buying a chain of drugstores, which would later sell for $50 million. He went on to become an expert in corporate buyouts.
Simmons recently passed away at the age of 82.
15. Oracle's Larry Ellison dropped out of college after his adoptive mother died and held odd jobs for eight years.
Net worth: $41 billion (as of Sept. 2013)
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to a single mother, Ellison was raised by his aunt and uncle in Chicago. After his aunt died, Ellison dropped out of college and moved to California to work odd jobs for the next eight years. He founded software development company Oracle in 1977, which is now one of the largest technology companies in the world.
AMATEURS Have tons of ideas, are excited about all of them and see none to fruition. PROFESSIONALS Have tons of ideas, pick one and do their best to make it happen.
AMATEURS Think they can do everything. PROFESSIONALS Know it’s almost impossible to achieve one thing.
AMATEURS Think they know everything. PROFESSIONALS Are always learning.
AMATEURS Start with no preparation. PROFESSIONALS Do research, they want to know where the bodies are buried, what the landscape holds. Better to take all these factors into account before you start, because trying to adjust on the fly is so much more difficult, it wastes time and energy and it’s hard to put a fourth wheel on a car you designed with three.
AMATEURS Don’t finish. PROFESSIONALS Are all about execution. Sure, they occasionally abandon a project when they see further effort is fruitless, but the mark of a pro is someone who begins and ends. If you notice someone can’t complete a task, run from them!
AMATEURS Are worried about image. PROFESSIONALS Let their work do the talking.
AMATEURS Demonstrate insecurity. PROFESSIONALS Are extremely confident.
AMATEURS Can only see what’s in front of them. PROFESSIONALS Are all about the big picture.
AMATEURS Hold those above them in contempt. PROFESSIONALS Hold no one in contempt, but they haven’t got much time for losers. If you’re an amateur trying to graduate to professional status and you have the good fortune to encounter a pro, DON’T WASTE THEIR TIME! Give just one or two compliments and ask your question. But most amateurs are so busy being sycophants the professional tunes out, or goes on at such length that the professional excuses himself.
AMATEURS Have no idea what dues are. PROFESSIONALS Have paid their dues, and are still paying them.
AMATEURS Believe in instant success. PROFESSIONALS Know anything worth accomplishing takes a long time, and what might look like overnight success is rarely such.
AMATEURS Boast. PROFESSIONALS Never slap their own backs, and are often times uncomfortable with others slapping their backs.
AMATEURS Get nervous. PROFESSIONALS May be anxious, but they've performed the task so many times they let instinct take over, they go on their experience, nervousness never comes into the equation.
AMATEURS Are looking for their one big break. PROFESSIONALS Know that life is about a series of breaks.
AMATEURS Are afraid to fail. PROFESSIONALS Don’t like to fail, but when they do they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back in the game.
AMATEURS Interrupt. PROFESSIONALS Listen.
AMATEURS Demonstrate their bile, they get frustrated or angry and it’s easy to see. PROFESSIONALS Are cool, calm and collected. You may read about the crazy owner/operator/entrepreneur, but if they’re truly nuts, they don’t last, their board replaces them, and the truth is most are not that nuts, it just makes a better story in the press to portray them as such.
AMATEURS Bristle. PROFESSIONALS Show empathy.
AMATEURS Are always telling you how busy they are and how hard they’re working. PROFESSIONALS Show up and stay as long as it’s interesting and profitable, bitching gains them nothing, so they don’t.
AMATEURS Believe what people say. PROFESSIONALS Believe what people do.