Virgin Group’s Richard Branson says being called a billionaire is insulting

For most entrepreneurs, reaching billionaire status is a sign that you’ve made it. But not for Sir Richard Branson; in his eyes, it is “very sad” when people use their wealth as a measure of how well they are doing in life.

The British entrepreneur insists he even finds it “offensive” to be presented as “billionaire Richard Branson” rather than as the co-founder of multinational conglomerate Virgin Group, he said. CNBC Make it.

“Maybe ‘billionaire’ is a sign of success in America, but that worries me,” says Branson, who has an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion.

Instead of individuals defining themselves by the amount of money they make, Branson said ambitious people are better judged by whether they make the world a better place.

“Paying the bills at the end of the year is important, but what entrepreneurs do all over the world today – and the only reason they succeed – is because they make a difference in the lives of other people,” Branson added. “And that’s all that really matters.”

That’s why the father of three advises even those who aren’t their own bosses to look for opportunities that make them happy – rather than just wanting to get rich.

“We only have one life,” Branson says. “We spend a lot of time at work and it would be sad if we did that just for our paycheck.”

Can it make a real difference in the world?

Whenever Branson launches a new venture – including airline Virgin Atlantic in 1984 and communications company Virgin Mobile in 1999 – he says his approach boils down to just two questions:

  1. “If I create this, can it be better than what everyone else is doing?”
  2. “Can it really make a difference in the world?”

While financial success did indeed follow, Branson doubled down on the fact that money has never been his driving force – emphasizing that this has been the case since his first venture. Student magazinewhich he launched at the age of 16.

“I wanted it to survive. And yes, I wanted enough advertising to pay the printers and paper manufacturers,” he recalls. “But money was certainly not the motivation to run a magazine.”

Branson’s representatives at Virgin refused Fortune’s request for comment.

Money doesn’t buy happiness – to a point

Branson isn’t the only billionaire to advise against tying your self-worth to your wealth, with Gymshark’s founder and CEO Ben Francis agreeing it’s “a hugely unproductive way to live”.

Despite being Britain’s youngest billionaire, Francis is adamant that money is not a ‘true’ measure of success because it is linked to assets that can fluctuate in value.

“It could double, it could (halve),” the millennial entrepreneur pointed out, adding that once you are able to comfortably pay your bills and then some, “the link between happiness and wealth diminishes.”

Researchers put the threshold between money and happiness at $100,000 for people dealing with personal problems such as grief, heartbreak and clinical depression. That figure rises to $500,000 for those who say they are already happy and would need large sums of money to further improve their prospects.

“Success isn’t necessarily how much money you have,” repeated serial entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban on LinkedIn’s “The pathpodcast from last year.

“Success is simply setting a goal and waking up every morning feeling good about what you have accomplished.”

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