10 Kids Who Turned Rags into Riches

February 5, 2013 by Justin C5 Comments

Some people are born with fewer opportunities than others. This is just a sad fact of the world we live in. Children who are in foster care can have even more odds against them (see http://www.nyfoundling.org  for information on adoption). However, there are plenty of people who started from nothing who not only did well for themselves, but they exceeded all expectations (except their own, of course).

  1. Stephen King

He’s one of my favorite authors, and definitely an inspiration of mine.  He’s worth around $400 million now, but he was raised by a single mother in the early fifties, and had to live off of the generosity of relatives and move to wherever his mother could find work.

  1. Oprah

This media mogul started off in rural Mississippi and was cared for by her grandmother until she was six. They lived in extreme poverty, and Oprah suffered from abuse, and got pregnant at an early age (she miscarried the child). She started on a Chicago news show, and is now a billionaire with her own television network – which she created after 25 years of one of the most successful TV shows ever.

  1. Hillary Swank

For those who saw “Million Dollar Baby”, Hillary’s early life was much like that of her character. She lived in a trailer with her mother, and was homeless for a time (they lived in a van). She broke into acting in the heart-wrenching true story “Boys Don’t Cry”, and went on to win an Oscar for Best Actress for “Million Dollar Baby”.

  1. J.K. Rowling

The true hero of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling was a single mother on welfare and even lived in U.K. government housing while writing the first book in the series. She is now the only person on the Forbes’ billionaire list to lose billionaire “status” because she has donated so much money and paid so much in taxes in the U.K.

  1. Jim Carey

He’s funny, and he makes the absolute best faces ever. But, he dropped out of high school and had to work multiple jobs to help support his family. His father lost his job, and the family lost the house, and Jim Carey struggled for years on L.A.’s comedy circuit before striking it rich. To keep himself inspired, he wrote himself a check for $10 million for “acting services rendered” and kept it in his wallet.

  1. Ingvar Kamprad

This young Swedish farm boy grew up to make the successful home design company known as IKEA. It started with a mail-order business, and Kamprad works to keeps all of his products as reasonably priced and environmentally friendly as possible. His net worth is about $3 billion.

  1. Howard Schultz

If I had the funds, I would drink Starbucks daily (I’m craving one right now, actually). He might be the CEO of Starbucks now, but Schultz grew up in the projects in Brooklyn. He made it to college on a football college, and then left his job at Xerox to help the (then small) coffee company grow.

  1. Christopher Gardner

Will Smith played this man in the blockbuster hit “The Pursuit of Happyness”.  The now rich man started off as a young boy plagued by poverty, abuse, foster care and alcoholism. He became homeless while in training for a brokerage firm because he couldn’t support himself and his son on his “salary”. He stayed in various shelters whenever possible, and he went on to start his own brokerage firm and is now worth over $60 million.

  1. Justin Bieber

He has 33 million Twitter followers. He sold out Madison Square Garden in 22 minutes on his first tour. And he used to steal clothes from the “Lost and Found” at school when he was little. He was born to a single mother in Stratford, Canada, and the now-superstar didn’t forget his humble roots.  He might be a teenager, but he’s a millionaire as well.

  1. John Paul Jones DeJoria

This millionaire started working at age 9, hustling Christmas cards and newspapers to help his family. He was placed in foster care in Los Angeles and got involved with various gangs before setting out to prove all of his doubters wrong. He started hair-care giant company John Paul Mitchell Systems with his co-founder Paul Mitchell in his early twenties, and is now estimated to be worth $4 billion.


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