World's richest prove wealth does not come at expense of family

World's richest prove wealth does not come at expense of family
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan hold their newborn Max Chan Zuckerberg.
PHOTO: Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg

Forbes released its 2017 Billionaires List Monday morning, showcasing the world's richest people. For the fourth year in a row, Bill Gates topped the list, with a net worth of US$86 billion (S$120 billion).

Joining him in the top five are Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Amancio Ortega, and Mark Zuckerberg. Like Gates, they're all fathers.

Zuckerberg, the 32-year-old co-founder and CEO of Facebook, is the youngest dad of the elite group. He and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, have a one-year-old daughter and recently announced that they are expecting a second.

"Having kids does change how you think about the world in a pretty dramatic way," Zuckerberg told students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan hold their newborn Max Chan Zuckerberg.Photo: Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg

Longtime friends Buffett and Gates have three children each - and similar ideas about how much money they're going to leave each one. Spanish business tycoon Ortega also has three kids, and Amazon founder Bezos is a father of four.

The fact that the five richest men in the world all have kids challenges one of the most common middle-class beliefs: "The mistaken idea that you have to choose between world-class success and a happy family life," writes Steve Siebold, who compares the thoughts, habits, and philosophies of the middle class to the rich in his book, "How Rich People Think."

Rich people know you can have it all, says Siebold, while average people believe they must choose between a great family and being rich.

The belief that wealth must come at the expense of family time is a "cop out," he says: "If you love your family, get rich and give them more of your time, plus opportunities only money can buy. Figure out a way to be more efficient with your time so you have plenty to spend with them while you're doing it."

Siebold continues: "Instead of using your family as an excuse, use them as your primary motivation for making it happen."

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