Five unlikely characteristics of billionaires

Good news for the old and the bald - you share key traits with billionaires

Jeff Bezos

What are your chances of making a fortune, entering the upper echelons of the wealthiest in the world, and never having to worry about money ever again? To be frank - they're not great - unless you happen to be on the verge of the next Amazon, Facebook or Microsoft. However, the statisticians have discovered some unlikely traits that billionaires have in common - and it could be good news if you're losing your hair.

See also: Do you live in one of the UK's hotbeds of inequality?

See also: Is Bill Gates set to be the world's first trillionaire?

See also: Ten rags to riches billionaires


1. Baldness
The GoCompare Billionaire League has discovered that a disproportionate number of the world's billionaires are bald - and that over the past two decades a larger and larger proportion of them have lost their hair. Unfortunately, they have highlighted that this baldness may not be behind their wealth. In most cases, it's due to the fact that billionaires are getting older. However, they also point out that stressful periods, such as the financial crisis, seem to have an impact on hair loss, which saw a sharp increase between 2008 and 2009.

2. Over pensionable age
Billionaires tend to acquire wealth throughout their life, and so hit their wealthiest point after retirement age. At the moment, the average age of a billionaire is just over 67 years. It's worth noting, however, that the average age of a billionaire has been rising for the past two decades - back in 1997 - it was just 43 years. This has much to do with the handful of tech geniuses who made their fortune in their 40s back in the 1990s, who are now in their 60s.

3. Marriage
Some 87% of the world's richest billionaires are married. This may be the result of two separate forces - first, marriage may provide entrepreneurs with a solid emotional base, which enables them to take risks and deal with the stress of running a huge enterprise. On the other hand, it could have something to do with the comparative attractions of a billionaire in the marriage market.

4. Big families
The most common number of children for a billionaire is three - as a quarter of all billionaires have produced three children. By contrast just 5% are childless and 9% have one child. Again, it's not entirely clear what comes first. Is it the large family that encourages the entrepreneur to push boundaries and forge ahead for the sake of their family - or is the family the result of a billionaire wanting to be able to pass on their wealth and their business to a family member?

5. History degree
Far from the stereotypical business-person, who leaves school with no qualifications, and builds a business empire from scratch, billionaires tend to be well educated. Some 56% of them have a Bachelor degree (compared to an average in the US of 28%). Meanwhile 23% have a Masters (compared to an average of 7%). Meanwhile, just 14% have no higher education (compared to an average of 62%).

The most common degree subject among billionaires is engineering, followed by business, economics and law. Interestingly, they are more likely to have a history degree (7%) than a computer-based degree (6%).

So who knew it? The richest in society may just be married, balding, historians over the age of 60. It's almost enough to give hope to us all.... almost.

Sadly the most common characteristic of billionaires doesn't make this list, because there's nothing unexpected about it - and it basically destroys all hope for half the population - regardless of their age or education.

Ever since Forbes started listing billionaires, the top 100 has been overwhelmingly dominated by men, and in the past 20 years, little has changed. GoCompare discovered that in 2016 there were just eight female billionaires in the top 100 - the same number as in 2001. The number actually peaked in the interim - at 13 in 2012 and 2013 - but it still means that if you have the misfortune of being born female, it drastically reduces your chances of earning riches beyond your wildest dreams.


The 10 richest people on the planet

The 10 richest people on the planet