All billionaires under 30 have inherited their wealth, research finds

All of the world’s billionaires younger than 30 inherited their wealth – the first wave of “the great wealth transfer” in which more than 1,000 billionaires will pass on more than $5.2tn to their heirs over the next two decades.

There are already more billionaires than ever before (2,781), and the number is expected to soar in the coming years as an elderly generation of super-rich people prepare to give their fortunes to their children.

Research by Forbes found there are 15 billionaires aged 30 or under. However, none created their own wealth, instead benefitting from huge inheritances.

Among them are Ireland’s Firoz Mistry, 27, and his brother Zahan Mistry, 25, who each have an estimated $4.9bn from their stakes in the family’s Tata Sons Indian conglomerate, which owns car brands including Jaguar Land Rover. They inherited their 4.6% stakes in the company in 2022 following the death of their father, Cyrus Mistry, who died less than three months after their grandfather Pallonji Mistry.

Three children of Leonardo Del Vecchio, the founder of luxury sunglasses company Luxottica, became billionaires after their father’s death in 2022. Leonardo Maria Del Vecchio, 28, Luca Del Vecchio, 22, and Clemente Del Vecchio, 19, each inherited a 12.5% stake in the family’s Luxembourg-based holding company Delfin, which owns nearly a third of EssilorLuxottica, the company behind Ray-Ban and Oakley. Each is estimated to be worth $4.7bn.

The youngest billionaire is Livia Voigt, 19, who has a $1.1bn fortune thanks to a 3.1% stake in WEG Industries, a Brazilian electrical equipment producer co-founded by her grandfather Werner Ricardo Voigt. He died in 2016. Her older sister Dora Voigt de Assis, 26, is also on the list.

Even more young billionaires are expected to be created in the next few years as many of the very richest people on the list prepare to hand over their companies and wealth to the next generation.

Experts at Swiss bank UBS said: “During the next 20 to 30 years, over 1,000 of today’s billionaires are likely to transfer more than $5.2tn to their heirs. How do we calculate this number? Simply by adding up the wealth of the 1,023 billionaires who are aged 70 or more today.

“Looking to the longer term, the exceptional wealth resulting from the boom in entrepreneurial activity since the 1990s has established a foundation for future generations of billionaire families.”

The richest person on the planet is the majority owner of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, Bernard Arnault. He is 75 and has recently promoted his children to key roles at the business. Arnault has an estimated fortune of $233bn, a 10% increase on last year.

Charles Koch, the elder of the American billionaire industrialist brothers, is 88. His brother, David, is 79. Phil Knight, the billionaire co-founder of Nike, is 86.

A total of $70t is expected to be inherited by the next generation over the next 20 years, according to estimates by consulting firm Cerulli Associates. The transfer is expected to make millennials the “richest generation in history” according to research by real estate agent Knight Frank.

One of the youngest billionaires to have made – rather than inherited – their fortune is Ben Francis, 31, the British founder of athleisure brand Gymshark. His wealth is estimated at $1.3bn.

The Guardian