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The latest news on Billionaires from Business Insider

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    mark cuban

    When Mark Cuban became the majority owner of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, the team hadn't had a winning season in 10 years. And because the team was awful, fans weren't showing up to games.

    It took Cuban until 2013 to make the Mavericks profitable, but since he took over, the Mavs have made the playoffs all but one year since 2001 and have sold out every game since December 15, 2001, for the longest sellout streak in American professional sports, according to Forbes. They won their first NBA championship in 2011.

    How did Cuban turn the franchise around? He approached the team like a startup rather than a legacy brand, Kirk Goldsberry argues in a new article for Grantland.

    We've highlighted some of the key ways the billionaire "Shark Tank" investor turned the Dallas Mavericks from a joke into a championship contender, using the same principles he used in his business career.

    He focused on the customer.

    "The hardcore fan is not who fills our arena, not even close," Cuban tells Grantland. "The people that listen to sports talk radio aren't the people paying our bills. It's the signal versus the noise. They're the noise, they're not the signal."

    Cuban says that it was heresy at the time to say they were selling an experience rather than basketball.

    The way he saw it, if he could sell a fun experience for less than a night out at a restaurant or a movie, he could fill the upper levels of the arena. And if he could establish the venue as a place to be seen, he could sell costly courtside seats to Dallas' celebrities and socialites.

    Eighteen months after buying the team, the Mavs moved to the new American Airlines Center. Cuban invested in a massive, state-of-the-art JumboTron that played videos emphasizing crowd interactions. He had the rims mic'ed up to get even casual fans excited about the games progression.

    He treated his players better.

    Cuban tells Grantland that the first time he met with the team, it was at the Holiday Inn they were staying at. Former Mavericks player Gary Trent told Cuban, "Mark, we get into Oakland, California, four in the morning, at the back end of a back-to-back, and we don't have room service in the hotel. How do you think we get food? What do you think we do?"

    Cuban immediately made sure that the team started staying at nicer hotels and quickly bought a better team plane.

    He helped build teams that clicked.

    Grantland's Goldsberry credits Cuban with retaining coach Don Nelson — now remembered as one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history — and fostering a culture of success with young players Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash at the helm.

    "It's hard to change the culture of an entire pro sports organization, but that's exactly what the quartet of Cuban, Nash, Nowitzki, and Nelson did,"Goldsberry writes.

    He recognized the value of analytics.

    The Mavericks were one of the first teams to use concepts from "Moneyball" in the NBA, crunching numbers to determine on-court success, and Goldsberry largely credits their 2011 championship run to the emphasis on analytics spearheaded by Cuban.

    The Mavs' front office hired stats guy Roland Beech in 2005, and as his influence grew, the team was able to make decisions about individuals' playing time that may have initially seemed strange, but were backed by Beech's analytics and turned out to be smart choices.

    You can Goldsberry's full profile on Cuban at Grantland.

    SEE ALSO: Mark Cuban shares his 12 fundamental rules for entrepreneurs

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Mark Cuban Explains How His Confidential Messaging App Cyber Dust Works


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    sergey brin

    It takes an army of workers to manage the private affairs of Google cofounder Sergey Brin.

    According to Bloomberg, Brin employs at least 47 people in his family office, called Bayshore Global Management.

    Among those 47 employees are philanthropy experts, former bankers, photographers, a yacht captain, a fitness coordinator, and an archivist.

    He also employs property managers, domestic staff, and a personal shopper.

    According to the LinkedIn profiles of some Bayshore employees, Brin's company has recruited people from Google, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs.

    For his security detail, Brin hired a former Navy SEAL, an ex-Secret Service agent, and a former SWAT team leader. Brin has two young children with Anne Wojcicki, his estranged wife.

    He has a home in New York City's West Village, in addition to the family's Los Altos Hills residence. Each house has a staff managed by Bayshore, which was named for the part of Mountain View, California, where Google is based.

    Brin also owns Passerelle Investment, a real-estate investment firm that has purchased a number of small businesses in Los Altos.

    According to Forbes, Brin is worth about $28.8 billion.

    SEE ALSO: Elon Musk's first wife explains what it takes to become a billionaire

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos Slams Silly Google Perks Like Massages


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    Anthony Ressler

    Private equity billionaire Anthony "Tony" Ressler is purchasing NBA basketball team Atlanta Hawks for $730 million, Bloomberg News reports.

    According to Bloomberg, Ressler's group will also take on approximately $120 million in arena debt.

    Forbes has previously valued the team at $830 million on its NBA Team Valuation list. The team also ranks No. 22 on Forbes' list. 

    The Hawks are currently the No. 2 ranked team in the league this season, with 60 wins and 22 losses.

    Ressler, 53, is the founder of publicly-traded private equity firm, Ares Management.

    He became a billionaire after the firm's 2014 initial public offering (IPO) thanks to his 31% stake in the company. According to Forbes, he has an estimated networth of $1.43 billion.

    Before cofounding Ares in 1997, Ressler cofounded private equity giant Apollo Management with his brother-in-law and fellow Drexel Burnham Lambert alum Leon Black. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 6 shortcuts in Excel that will save you a ton of time


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    Koch brothers

    The Republican presidential candidates are set to crucify each other on crosses of gold.

    GOP leaders exulted a few years ago when the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and other decisions invited the rich to pour unlimited sums into political campaigns — and they are, by the billions of dollars.

    But the Law of Unintended Consequences frequently rules the practice of politics, and it has once again. Republican candidates are hauling in so much money that the flood of cash has washed away the Darwinian system of natural selection that previously allowed parties to pick their nominees.

    In the past, there was a money primary: If candidates polled poorly, their fundraising would dry up and they'd have to drop out of the race. But such market principles no longer apply, because a large number of inviable candidates are artificially subsidized — kept in the race by a beneficent billionaire, or even a friendly multimillionaire or two. With no easy way to push weak candidates from the race, Republicans are being hoist by their own gilded petard.

    My Post colleagues Matea Gold and Ed O'Keefe reported Monday that no fewer than 15 White House hopefuls are being assisted by outside groups typically formed as "super PACs" and run by the candidate's allies. For the first time in the modern political era, political operatives say it's possible the eventual nominee need not win in either Iowa or New Hampshire.

    Still-undeclared candidate Jeb Bush, who is on course to haul in $100 million by the end of next month, boasted to donors Sunday night that his fundraising has been historic (so good that his too-successful super PAC temporarily limited contributions to $1 million).

    But Bush's take, Gold and O'Keefe noted, hasn't stopped groups from raising, in short order, $20 million or $30 million apiece for Ted Cruz, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio. With that kind of money available, you're unlikely to quit even if you're an asterisk in the polls.

    AP134828448148

    The outright acquisition of the primary process by the wealthy is the latest instance of the 1 percent taking over the American political system – although in this case it's more likely the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent. As the Center for Responsive Politics notes, the top 1 percent of donors to super PACS (about 100 people and their spouses) contributed 67 percent of super-PAC funds in 2012.

    Fred Wertheimer, a campaign-finance reformer who runs the group Democracy 21, predicts that, for the first time, spending by super PACs will exceed spending by candidates and parties combined in the 2016 presidential campaign, which is expected to cost some $5 billion.

    In the 2012 primary, billionaire Sheldon Adelson's money kept Newt Gingrich in the race long after he was a viable candidate (if he ever was). But if billionaires reached the moon in 2012, "this election will take us to Mars," Wertheimer says. "We have a political system that is pre-Watergate and allows relatively few people to keep candidates in the race for extended periods of time. It's going to create artificial candidates. . . . It's going to open the door for influence-buying and corruption, and we have the Supreme Court to thank for that."

    Technically, candidates can't coordinate with their super PACs, but the restriction is all but ignored. Bush is reportedly planning to use his super PAC to conduct operations that had traditionally been handled by candidate campaigns.

    Jeb Bush

    The Wild West nature of campaign finance would undoubtedly have a similar effect on the Democratic side if Hillary Clinton were facing a serious challenge. As it is, the anything-goes fundraising of Clinton and her husband has become a problem for the Democratic front-runner.

    In recent days, her campaign has been dogged by reports that the Clinton Foundation took money from foreign governments and entities that stood to benefit from decisions made by Hillary Clinton's State Department. The foundation admits it didn't account for the contributions properly in tax filings. And, as The Post's Rosalind Helderman reported, many donors to the foundation also paid Bill Clinton to give speeches — enriching the Clintons personally.

    But Republicans, before they can exploit Hillary Clinton's financial vulnerabilities in the general election, have to resolve a predicament in their primaries that once would have seemed enviable: Is it possible to raise too much money? As the likes of the Kochs and Adelsons sponsor candidates the way Medicis patronized Renaissance artists, there's a real chance voters, particularly in early primary states, will lose their traditional ability to shape the field.

    Thanks to the Roberts court, the sacred concept of one man, one vote has been replaced by a new reality: one billionaire, one ballot.

    SEE ALSO: The White House fires back at George W. Bush

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    nick woodman gopro

    Nick Woodman, founder and CEO of sports camera company GoPro, was the highest paid U.S. chief executive of 2014, Bloomberg recently reported.

    Woodman's financial success is more than a decade in the making. He founded GoPro in 2004, initially just making wrist straps for small cameras and then eventually branching out into building the hardware itself. 

    Woodman's life hasn't slowed down since — he's an adrenaline junkie, Red Bull addict, snowboarder, mountain biker, race-car driver, and an avid surfer. 

    Woodman's high school classmates remember him as being immensely passionate, waking up at five in the morning to go surfing before classes. "Now professional content is inspiring kids around the world to pursue their passions, just like I was inspired by those Surfer magazine tear outs on the wall," he told UCSD's alumni magazine.

    Source: CNBC, UCSD Alumni



    After building his first startup, a web marketing company that eventually flopped during the dot-com crash of the early 2000s, Woodman decided to fund his next venture himself. He moved back in with his parents and traveled up and down the California coast in a Volkswagen Westfalia van called "The Biscuit," where he worked on the first GoPro wrist straps and cameras.

    Source: GoPro, YouTube

     



    Woodman sold his first GoPro cameras in surf shops and even on QVC, which he appeared on several times in GoPro's early days. Here he is on the home shopping network in 2005, three years after creating the first GoPro. "It was very humble beginnings for GoPro, but I think it's the right kind of beginning," he told Outside.

    Source: YouTube

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    warren buffett

    To say that Warren Buffett has a deep understanding of business — training himself with critical thinking exercises and a rigorous reading program— is a bit of an understatement.

    The proof is in the profits. His Berkshire Hathaway holding company has amassed a market cap over $300 billion. His personal fortune is upwards of $68 billion.

    So when he starts doling out career advice, we listen. 

    In a series on Fortune in which CEOs offer their best advice, the Sage of Omaha counseled young women on how to advance their careers. 

    But we think it applies to everybody. 

    "You do the same thing a male will do," Buffett said. "You follow your passions. You find something you love."

    By doing that, the logic goes, you'll bring more energy to your work than everybody else. 

    "The truth is, so few people really jump on their jobs, you really will stand out more than you think," Buffett said. "You will get noticed if you really go for it.”

    In this way, Buffett's advice parallels what comedian Steve Martin says to people who want to break into show business: "Be so good they can't ignore you."

    For five strategies for doing just that, go here


    NOW WATCH: 11 Words You're Mispronouncing All The Time

     

    SEE ALSO: 9 Books Billionaire Warren Buffett Thinks Everyone Should Read

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    buck island

    For the more adventurous of the 1%, finding your beach can sometimes mean buying your own. 

    There's an entire culture surrounding the purchase and management of private islands. Calling themselves "isolamaniacs," these people tend to be independent, intrepid travelers who aren't afraid of a challenge.

    Tech billionaires like Larry Ellison and Richard Branson have plopped down millions for their own slice of paradise in Hawaii and the British Virgin Islands, respectively. 

    But you don't necessarily have to be a billionaire to buy an island. Nearly a thousand islands come onto the market each year, and they vary greatly in terms of size and price — ranging from isles that cost $200,000 and measure less than an acre in Ontario to 117-acre islands that will set you back $8.5 million in the Bahamas

    RELATED: 16 islands you can buy right now>>

    Still, scooping up an island isn't something just anyone can do.

    You need some extra cash, the ability to travel to exotic locations, and plenty of time to invest in a project. A healthy sense of adventure is a must. 

    Got all those things? Here's how you could go about adding an island to your collection.

    Picking a region

    Any broker worth his salt will tell you that location should be your number one consideration.

    Consider what matters most to you: Do long flights bother you? Do you want an island you can visit year round, or are you looking for a summer retreat?  Would you rather be close to the mainland or somewhere more remote? What kind of outdoor activities do you enjoy? Is the local language important to you? Do you want a sunrise or a sunset? 

    "In British Columbia, for example, normal people might want an island just off the coast because it’s so crowded on the mainland," Chris Krolow, CEO of online marketplace Private Islands Inc. and host of HGTV's "Island Hunters" show, said to Business Insider. "Most of our clients do have more money than others, but not all of them are super wealthy. You have to make sure the island can do what you want it to do."

    Islands can be sold in two different ways. A freehold island, which is much more common in the Caribbean, North America, and Europe, can be bought outright. In Asia and the South Pacific, however, it's more common to buy an island on a leasehold basis, which means that you're purchasing the rights to own it for a set amount of time, usually between 30 and 99 years. 

    Leasehold islands are generally more moderately priced than those sold on a freehold basis, so they could be a great option if you've got your heart set on Asia.

    "Fiji is an amazing place to buy," Krolow said. "It's really up and coming." 

    macuata island

    These days, low-lying islands in the Bahamas and Belize are especially popular among the 1%.

    Getting there

    Buying some of the most beautiful islands on the market could require traveling long distances. You'll most likely need your own boat or helicopter to get there from the mainland. 

    Guests to Branson's island, for example, can charter his 105-foot catamaran, "Necker Belle." Larry Ellison's "Musashi" yacht has been spotted in Hawaii multiple times, presumably making trips back and forth to Lanai, the island he paid $300 million to own 98% of in 2012. 

    Krolow says he gets hundreds of inquiries each week, and one of the ways he narrows down the field is to ask seemingly interested buyers what kind of boat they have. 

    "If they're asking questions about things like water depth, we know they're being serious," he said. "How are you going to get there without a boat?"

    You also have to know if the island you're interested in could accommodate your vessel of choice, or if you'll need to do some dredging work before you can build a dock. 

    necker belle

    Accessing the listings

    Krolow's site has more than 500 islands listed, but he says there are maybe a hundred that you won't be able to find online.

    "There are some owners who don’t want to publicly market their islands," he said. "Agents have access to islands that maybe no one else does."

    John Estephan is a Belize-based realtor who now specializes in selling private islands. He's perhaps best known for selling Blackadore Caye to Leonardio DiCaprio for $1.75 million in 2005.

    Estephan likes to take prospective clients out on his boat for the day. He charges about $200 for fuel.  

    "We spend the whole day out at sea, so people can get a feel of what they can do with an island," Estephan said to Business Insider. "It truly is a lot of fun, but most people who invest in real estate in Belize have thoroughly done their research and know what they’re looking for."

    Financing the purchase

    Once you've decided on your island paradise, you should be prepared to pay in cash.

    "You might be able to get a bank loan — usually about 60% if you can get one — in areas where the mainland has a lot of development, but banks don't typically finance private islands," Krolow said. "Banks don’t like to lend money because they have no idea how to appraise an island. If you have a business on the island, like a resort, you could go off its value, but an undeveloped island is a completeley different game."

    If you're not planning to move to the island full-time, adding a rental property could alleviate some of the financial burden. 

    "Even Branson rents out Necker Island," Krolow said.

    belle lune Ontario island

    Developing it 

    Most islands will require some sort of construction work.

    There are general infrastructure concerns — solar panels, backup generators, propane refrigerators, mobile communications — and then are more complicated projects. 

    You might need to clear part of the island to make a beach, for example. Or you might need to dredge the harbor so that it can accommodate your boat.

    "If you're going to develop the island, you'll need more money," Estephan said. "If you don't have the capital, you're better off buying a condo."

    Generally you should allow for at least an additional $200,000 to develop an island in the Bahamas or Belize. 

    But Krolow says that the typical island buyer is independent and looking for this kind of adventure. In fact, he says, islands that are already fully developed tend to be the most difficult to sell.

    Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, for example, spent nine years trying to sell his 292-acre island in the San Juans of Washington. Dubbed Allan Island, it was initially listed for $25 million in 2005 but eventually sold for only $8 million in 2013.

    A caretaker's log cabin already stood on the island, and Allen initially wanted to build a vacation home there. He decided he preferred a 387-acre peninsula on nearby Lopez Island. 

    "Most clients want a project, not just a real estate investment," Krolow said. "The island market tends to attract people with that kind of entrepreneurial personality."

    white island grenada

    Some people who buy islands are hoping to develop them into a resort or other tourist venture. This is especially common in the Bahamas, where islands tend to be low-lying and large. 

    Before you build, make sure you're clear on the legal guidelines in your area and whether any part of your island is protected because of ecological concerns.

    Krolow, for example, owns a small heart-shaped island in Fiji that has a protected turtle sanctuary on one side. He's decided to turn it into an ultra-private resort that can only be occupied by one couple at a time.

    "We'll do everything by helicopter, and we'll only build a villa on the opposite side of the island," he said.

    Your relationship with the local population should also be a top concern. If you're not going to be spending all of your time on the island, you might need to hire a caretaker.

    Krolow cites one example of an island owner in Nicaragua, where it's common to find old colonial homes guarded by a caretaker. 

    "This person didn't think they needed to have one, but when they left and came back they found that people had taken everything, from the walls of the house to the picnic table out front," he said. "You have to consider, realistically, how much time you can spend there. Are the locals comfortable with you?"

    READ THIS NEXT: 16 islands you can buy right now

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Richard Branson gets fresh water on his private island


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    daydream island

    For many people, buying a private island hideaway is the ultimate dream.

    Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison, and Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson are just a few of the billionaires who have added private islands to their extensive real estate portfolios.

    But you don't necessarily have to be a billionaire to buy an island. Nearly a thousand islands come onto the market each year, and they vary greatly in terms of size and price. 

    With the help of island marketplace Private Islands Inc., we've found a few that you can buy right now.

    Jewel Caye, a two-acre island in Belize, is on the market for $3.15 million. It comes with two houses (one at each end of the island), a duplex for guests, and a wide pier set up with a dining room and bar.

    See the listing »

     



    Over in the South Pacific, uninhabited Macuata Island will set you back $2.85 million. It's being sold on a freehold basis, which mean that the whole thing can be yours outright.

    See the listing »

     



    For only $400,000 you can buy the quarter-acre Isla Paloma on the northern side of Panama. It comes with a two-bedroom house, and, according to the listing, "no snakes or spiders."

    See the listing »



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sheldon adelson

    Sheldon Adelson is one of the 20 wealthiest people in the world, according to Forbes.

    But the casino magnate thinks his employees get paid too much.

    According to The Guardian, "while testifying on Wednesday in a civil suit rooted in allegations that his casino operation in Macao made improper payments to a Chinese official and had ties to Triad organized crime, Adelson unexpectedly enlightened the court on his feelings about the bonus culture."

    The casino magnate thinks even his own executives working abroad are paid too much:

    The billionaire complained that his expatriate executives, deployed to postings such as Macao or Singapore, were sending their children to school on the company shilling at $30,000 a year in fees for each child. Then some of them were getting Adelson's Las Vegas Sands company to pay $50,000 a year for college education. Adelson called that "offensive."

    On top of that there's the housing allowance — $25,000 a month in Singapore, he stressed — and a car.

    "Not a Toyota like they would drive here," he thundered.

    The judge listened in what looked like bemused silence as Adelson shifted to the high cost of flying executives' families around the world.

    "Sending whole families home four times a year is not acceptable," he said. "When it comes to flying, it has to be first-class when the whole family could fly coach."

    Adelson also had an interesting answer to a question from the opposing counsel about a signature irregularity on a form, according to The Guardian: "You want to send me to jail? I just bought a big home. I don't want to move to smaller quarters."

    Billionaires: You can't send them to jail because there isn't enough square footage.

    SEE ALSO: A new app will solve the problem of irregular paychecks

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    david karp

    While some tech executives are quick to splurge on yachts and mega-mansions, others aren't so flashy with their riches.

    Biz Stone, for example, says he's too embarrassed to drive anything more flashy than a dented Volkswagen Golf, while Sergey Brin likes to buy things in bulk at Costco.

    We've rounded up 11 tech executives who have made millions or even billions with their companies yet have chosen lives of frugality and charity.

    David Cheriton, Stanford professor

    Net worth: $2.9 billion

    Cheriton, a professor at Stanford and cofounder of Arista Networks, became one of the first investors in Google after Larry Page and Sergey Brin did a demo of their project on his front porch in 1998. That initial $100,000 check has obviously paid off, but Cheriton dislikes the thought of being a billionaire.

    "I'm actually quite offended by that sort of thing," he told the Edmonton Journal in a 2006 interview. "These people who build houses with 13 bathrooms and so on, there's something wrong with them."

    He drives a 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon, has lived in the same Palo Alto home for the past 30 years, cuts his own hair, and even claims to reuse his tea bags. He did, however, splurge on a Honda Odyssey for his kids back in 2012.



    Charlie Ergen, founder and CEO of Dish Network

    Net worth: $17.8 billion

    Ergen is notorious for being a frugal leader and micromanager — up until about 10 years ago, he insisted on signing every check that came out of Dish. 

    He packs a lunch of a sandwich and Gatorade before work every day, and until recently, he shared hotel rooms with colleagues during travel.

    "My mom grew up in the Depression," he told the Financial Times. "I don’t have a mahogany desk."



    Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba

    Net worth: $22.8 billion

    Ma is one of the wealthiest men in China, but he's made few splurge purchases and prefers to keep his personal life out of the spotlight. Ma grew up poor in communist China, failed his college entrance exam twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs.

    Even though he has become a bit of a celebrity in China, he still enjoys quiet meditation in the mountains and playing poker with friends.

    "Ma Yun's lifestyle is very simple and modest. His hobbies are still tai chi and kung fu novels," Chen, his friend and assistant, said to USA Today."I don't think he has changed much, he is still that old style."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Luxury Home Dallas Mansion

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The poshest of luxury homes are acquiring the cachet of a masterwork by Picasso or Matisse.

    Rather than settle for garages of antique cars or a museum's worth of paintings, billionaires are increasingly willing to pay $100 million for homes that can serve as showcases for their fortunes, according to an analysis issued Thursday by Christie's International Real Estate.

    "It tells you that there is a new class of collectible — they're trophies now," Dan Conn, CEO of Christie's real estate brokerage, said of the most lavish homes being acquired.

    The luxury housing market has shifted in the past year as the dollar has strengthened. Sales in Manhattan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and other global hubs are stabilizing after having rocketed in 2013, when many buyers cashed in on stock market gains. Now, multi-millionaires and billionaires are seeking estates overseas and at resort destinations, the report said.

    The dollar has appreciated 20 percent against the euro in the past year, making pied-a-terres in Paris and wineries in Bourdeaux more affordable for wealthy Americans. Sales are also surging by averages of more than 20 percent along the beaches of Turks & Caicos and the slopes of Telluride, Colorado.

    Five homes sold around the world for more than $100 million in 2014, and a record 18 were listed for sale at that level, according to the Christie's report. Last year's purchases include a $146 million French Riviera mansion. Each square foot of the home cost $22,577 — roughly equivalent to a new Honda Accord.

    This is the new top tier for billionaires scouring the globe for signature homes, a market that Conn said should continue to prosper because the world minted 200 new billionaires from 2013 to 2014.

    "You've got this club of billionaires who just like to have unique assets," Conn said. "But it's also, truthfully, that they like to entertain their friends and say, 'This is mine.'"

    The luxury market contrasts with the still-struggling U.S. real estate market as a whole. Millions of homeowners still owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth — a vestige of the housing crash that triggered the Great Recession in late 2007. Buyers remain sensitive to changes in mortgage rates and price swings that could make ownership costlier. At the same time, access to credit remains tight for some. Sales have been running below a pace associated with healthy markets.

    "There's a deeper cultural shift where people aren't willing to get a house at any cost," said Glenn Kelman, CEO of the brokerage Redfin.

    Existing homes sold at an annual pace of 5.19 million in March, a sharp increase after a brutal winter curtailed buying in the Northeast, the National Association of Realtors said last week. Kelman warns that that sales pace isn't sustainable because demand has been driven largely by 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaging just 3.65 percent, compared with a 52-week high of 4.33 percent.

    Luxury Home Living Room Mansion

    Winter storms have also weighed on Manhattan sales, yet analysts view that market as remarkably stable. Sales in the borough during the first three months of 2015 fell 19.5 percent compared to the same period in 2014, while average prices have slipped by roughly $40,000 to $1.73 million, according to reports by the brokerage Douglas Elliman.

    "We had a horrible winter," said Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman.

    She said many new developments in Manhattan that would boost sales have yet to come onto the market.

    Herman is also seeing interest in second homes, something she attributes in part to wealthy baby boomers. Sales and prices have surged in winter hotspots such as Aspen, Colorado, where the average sales price jumped 55 percent in the past year to $4.15 million.

    "That's because of the baby boomers, who are not retiring early and are sometimes on their third wife at 65 and have little kids," Herman said.

    Still, other luxury developers say the stronger dollar has cut into sales. There has been a 25 percent drop in Manhattan's monthly sales pace and a 50 percent drop in Miami Beach, said Kevin Maloney, a developer whose firm, Property Markets Group, works on luxury buildings.

    Global buyers have become more patient. They are seeking value because their incomes, earned in euros, pesos, reals and other currencies, now buy less in dollars. Real estate magnates are coping with same challenge facing manufacturers who are trying to sell their products overseas.

    "If I had my druthers, I'd like to see the dollar weaken against other currencies," Maloney said.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's the most looked-up word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary


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    Executives who made their fortunes in tech are some of the wealthiest people in the world.

    Still, the men at the top are, as a whole, much wealthier than their female counterparts. 

    Using data from wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X and Forbes' billionaire list, we've compared the respective net worths of the wealthiest men and wealthiest women in tech.

    You'll notice there's a rather large gap. While the wealthiest woman in tech (HP CEO Meg Whitman) is worth $1.3 billion, the wealthiest man (Bill Gates) is worth a whopping $79.2 billion. 

    wealthy men women in tech

    SEE ALSO: 11 extremely wealthy tech executives who choose to live frugally

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    bill gates farm

    With a net worth that's estimated to be as much as $80.1 billion, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is the richest man in the world.

    Gates has exactly the kind of real-estate portfolio you would expect from a billionaire, from a Washington mansion worth $123 million to multiple horse ranches across the US.

    Gates has also made several secretive purchases through his ultra-private investment firm, Cascade.

    Gates spends most of his time at his 66,000-square-foot mansion in Medina, Washington. It took Gates seven years and $63 million to build this behemoth of a house, which is filled with lots of high-tech features. He purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988, but it's now worth an estimated $123 million.

    Read more about his house in Medina »

     



    Inside, a high-tech sensor system helps guests monitor a room's climate and lighting. There's also a trampoline room, a 60-foot swimming pool, six kitchens, and a dining hall that can accommodate up to 200 people.

    Read more about his house in Medina »

     



    In October 2014, Gates purchased the 228-acre Rancho Paseana for $18 million. The property includes a racetrack, guesthouse, office, veterinarian's suite, orchard, and five barns.

    Take a tour of the ranch »



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Fred MouawadWhat do most people think of when they hear the word 'Gen-Xers'?

    Slackers with little respect for authority, right? Impatient. At least that’s what the media would have you believe.

    What about millennials? Narcissists with a huge sense of entitlement. 

    Stereotypes, you say? You’re right, and like all stereotypes, they’re one-dimensional portrayals.  

    Gen-Xers have a number of good points. They’re “detail-oriented and will work if they have focus,” to borrow from Wisegeek.

    And actually, millennials are thought to be “more open-minded, and more supportive equal rights” — a few positives listed by LiveScience

    In truth, no one generation is better than any other, and we can all learn a few things from each other. As a serial Generation X entrepreneur leading eight businesses, including a 120-year-old family jewelry business and my latest venture, Taskworld, I’ve picked up a few productivity tips along the way. 

    Here are suggestions for millennials on how to work more efficiently and live your best life:

    1. Determine your priorities.

    Often, many of us find ourselves consuming hours without real purpose. Without purpose, we lose our way on the path we’ve set until one day we realize we are in a place far different from where we wanted to be. We start regretting our choices and reflecting on what we should or should not have done. 

    It’s critical to understand what we value at a young age, and to keep in mind that these priorities may shift as we age or their roles in our lives change.

    The key is to find the right balance in life by effectively dividing our time among learning, contributing, dedicating time to friends and family, and spending time on our own to rejuvenate. Be clear on your top three priorities, and dedicate more time to them without ignoring your other responsibilities.

    2. Get the most out of the time you invest.

    Although the impact of our efforts can be hard to measure, we usually achieve the best results in 20% of our time. So what do we do with the remaining 80%?

    By being aware of that 80-20 rule, we can try to beat the odds by identifying the areas in which we should invest more time. Instead of just investing time trying to accomplish a goal, reflect on how the amount of time you spend will impact the outcome. More time does not necessarily equate to more productivity; maximizing impact-per-hour-invested does.

    3. Measure your performance. 

    To improve performance, you need hard data to see how well you’re doing. To measure your performance, find metrics based on the type of work you do.

    For example, if you’re an analyst, count the number of reports you’re able to generate weekly. Budget the time it will take to accomplish tasks, and measure the actual time spent versus the time you projected it would take. Use a software tool like Taskworld to measure performance in order to make adjustments and improve performance. 

    4. Experiment with different approaches.

    To continuously enhance your productivity, you’ve got to raise the bar with each task you undertake. Either you’ve got to be faster at what you’re doing or change your approach.

    In most cases, the best way to improve performance is the latter. Constantly think about what you can improve, and try different methods to achieve that goal. Keep on doing what works and drop what doesn’t. Never stop experimenting.

    5. Minimize your time-wasters.

    Everyone has time-wasters they’re often blind to. We’re simply not aware that certain activities consume so much of our time. There are activities we like doing that don’t add value, or those we think we should do but could delegate. These sap time and energy and are counterproductive.

    Try logging what you do for a week, and then identify how you’re spending your time. The results may surprise you. By eliminating time-wasters, your productivity will get a boost.

    Entrepreneurship is not easy, and managing your time and productivity is one of its biggest challenges.  Then again, if being an entrepreneur were easy, everyone would do it.  

    Fred Mouawad’s is founder and CEO of Taskworld, which provides productivity software.

    SEE ALSO: From dirt poor to a $7 billion fortune — the incredible rags-to-riches story of Ralph Lauren

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    Georg Schaeffler

    Europe's wealthiest people are a bit of a mixture.

    There are some that come from old money- centuries-old dynasties - as well as self-made billionaires from pretty much every business sector you can think of.

    Different parts of the continent have different stories — from the old money of Western Europe to the plutocrats who've made their fortunes navigating the markets that opened up in the east as the Iron Curtain fell. 

    We've used the Forbes rich list the richest people in each European country — ranked from the least wealthy upwards — in some countries, no-one was ranked by Forbes, or there was no picture available of their reclusive top billionaire. 

    Romania's richest man, Ioan Niculae, made his money from agriculture and fertiliser businesses in eastern Europe. He was sentenced to two years in prison for reportedly paying a bribe to a political official. NET WORTH: $1.15 billion (£760 million)



    Lebanese-born art mogul David Nahmad is Monaco’s richest man, and is part of a family of renowned art dealers. In 2013 the Nahmads sold Monet’s ‘Le Palais Contarini’ for $30.8 million at Sotheby’s. NET WORTH: $1.85 billion (£1.22 billion)



    Antti Herlin, Finland's richest man, made his money in an unlikely way — the escalator and elevator business. He's the great-grandson of Harald Herlin, who purchased the KONE engineering company in the 1920s. NET WORTH: $3.6 billion (£2.37 billion)



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Benjamin Duke House mansion

    Billionaire business magnate Carlos Slim put his Manhattan townhouse up for sale on Tuesday, and he's asking for a hefty $80 million.

    Slim bought the Fifth Avenue mansion, which faces Central Park at East 82nd Street, for $44 million back in 2010.

    If he gets his $80 million, that would make it the most expensive mansion ever sold in the city, the New York Daily News reports.

    The eight-story, 20,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts building is one of those landmark mansions that has its own name – or, in this case, names.

    Known as the Benjamin N. and Sarah Duke House, the Duke–Semans Mansion, or the Benjamin N. and Sarah Duke House, it's one of the last private mansions on Fifth Avenue, according to the Sotheby's listing.

    Built from 1899-1901, the townhouse has a French Renaissance interior and was originally owned by an American Tobacco Company tycoon, according to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    It features high ceilings, hand-carved wood paneling, and gold-leaf trimmed fixtures, and plaster friezes, as well as a "sweeping" staircase, according to the listing.

    SEE ALSO: Bill Ackman bought an apartment for $90 million, and he's pretty sure it's a steal

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    justine muskThis answer by Justine Musk originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question:

    "Will I become a billionaire if I am determined to be one and put in the necessary work required?"

    No.

    One of the many qualities that separate self-made billionaires from the rest of us is their ability to ask the right questions.

    This is not the right question.

    (Which is not to say it's a bad question. It just won't get that deep part of your mind working to help you -- mulling things over when you think you're thinking about something else -- sending up flares of insight.)

    You're determined. So what? You haven't been racing naked through shark-infested waters yet. Will you be just as determined when you wash up on some deserted island, disoriented and bloody and ragged and beaten and staring into the horizon with no sign of rescue?

    We live in a culture that celebrates determination and hard work, but understand: these are the qualities that keep you in the game after most everybody else has left, or until somebody bigger and stronger picks you up and hurls you back out to sea. Determination and hard work are necessary, yes, but they are the minimum requirements. As in: the bare minimum.

    A lot of people work extremely hard and through no fault of their own -- bad luck, the wrong environment, unfortunate circumstances -- struggle to survive.

    How can you *leverage* your time and your work?

    Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential. Choose one thing and become a master of it. Choose a second thing and become a master of that. When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.

    The world doesn't throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.) The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life. There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you'll have to figure out how it doesn't apply to you because you're coming from an unexpected angle. And you'll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you.

    Have courage. (You will need it.)

    And good luck. (You'll need that too.)

    SEE ALSO: These are the richest billionaires in 18 European countries — and how they made their money

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    Mark ZuckerbergThere may be some truth to the old adage that with age comes wisdom. If you're in tech, however, youth is no obstacle to success. 

    Some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs of the last decade have taken their companies public or sold them for millions before their 30th birthdays. 

    With the help of Forbes' billionaire list, we've ranked the youngest tech executives to accrue billions of dollars of wealth.

    Each billionaire appearing on the list is under 40 years old.

    18. Nick Woodman

    Age: 39

    Net worth: $2.5 billion

    Nick Woodman is the founder and CEO of sports-camera company GoPro. With an estimated compensation of $284.5 million, he was the highest-paid U.S. CEO of 2014.



    17. Jan Koum

    Age: 39

    Net worth: $6.8 billion

    Jan Koum is the cofounder and CEO of WhatsApp, which Facebook bought for $19 billion in February 2014.



    16. Yoshikazu Tanaka

    Age: 38

    Net worth: $1.14 billion

     Yoshikazu Tanaka is the founder and CEO of Gree, a Japanese gaming and social networking company.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Today, Bill Gates is one of the biggest philanthropists in the world.

    Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he donated a total of $1.5 billion in 2014 alone, mostly towards efforts to improving health and education around the world.

    Gates credits his philanthropic spirit to his late mother Mary, who died of breast cancer in 1994. 

    Microsoft's 1986 IPO made 30-year-old Gates a billionaire. According to a 2009 Wall Street Journal article, after he struck it rich, Mary urged him to give some of the money away.

    "I'm just trying to run my company!" he reportedly said to her, not wanting to be distracted from his work at Microsoft.  

    She eventually convinced him to start a program at Microsoft that would help raise money for the United Way, whose board he would join in later years. May was the first female president of King County's United Way and served as the director of First Interstate Bancorp, U S West Inc., and KIRO-TV of Seattle.

    Gates has often spoken about a letter Mary wrote his then-fiance Melinda the day before their wedding. 

    "From those to whom much is given, much is expected," the letter read. Mary passed away six months later.

    Gates still has the letter today. 

    A few months after his mother's death, Gates, with the help of his father, allocated about $100 million for what would become the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch Microsoft's Insane Holographic Computer In Action


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