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Kent’s Richest People: How Do They Compare with the Rest of the World’s?

Those of you in the know may be aware that the Sunday Times recently released their much-anticipated annual Rich List for 2018, profiling the wealthiest people in the country. Unsurprisingly, this year saw no shortage of old and first-time entries hailing from the glorious county of Kent. There were no fewer than 15 Kent-based families who made it onto the gilded list this year, all of whom acquired their huge fortunes via a wide variety of interesting ways.

From rice production and drinks carton packaging on one side of the spectrum, to the old-school routes to wealth such as finance and construction on the other, the stories of Kent’s richest denizens are always worth reading. But the question is, how do they compare with the global super-rich? The world now has more billionaires than at any point in history, with that number almost tripling in the past decade. As the ever-growing ranks of the global rich continue to swell, let’s see how the journeys of the world’s wealthiest people compare to the gilded denizens of good old Kent.

The Traditional Way

The majority of the world’s wealthy tend to accumulate their fortunes through very similar channels, and the people of Kent are no exception. While according to Business Insider the most common route to riches is, unfortunately, to inherit your money, a huge number of the mega-rich of both Kent and the rest of the world tend to be self-made. With rising property prices around the world, real estate has become one of the most frequent routes to wealth, so it should come as no surprise to anybody who has experience with house prices in Kent that some of the county’s wealthiest deal in property. The Paulley family, with the well-known business figure Dennis Paulley at the helm, ran the prestigious Kent estate agents Ward and Partners back in the 1980s, and the family have now amassed a wealth of £152 million thanks to their real estate dealings.

Similarly, locally-based John Guthrie and his family, who reside over at Hever Castle, are now worth a staggering £286 million, thanks to Broadland Properties’ impressive real estate portfolio. These trends certainly aren’t anomalies; a significant number of the richest people on earth deal in real estate, with the Betway Casino rich list journey rankings showing a number of property tycoons in the ranks of the richest of the rich, including the publicity-hungry Hong Kong tycoon Lee Shau-Kee, who is now worth an estimated $30.3 BILLION dollars. Looks like some of Kent’s property magnates still have some catching up to do!

Not Your Average Millionaire

Kent is a pretty varied place, and there are of course some examples of wealthy Kent dwellers who made their money in less conventional ways, which means they stand out among the crowd of the global rich. A standout example comes from the Kent family who are highest up on the Times Rich List, the Rausings. This originally-Swedish family, headed by Hans Rausing, now live just outside Kent, and built up their immense £9.3 billion fortune through the invention of the widely used Tetra Pak carton, which is still used for packaging most drinks around the world. There’s also Michele Harriman-Smith, who built up the kids’ designer clothing brand Childrensalon, which has seen her family catapulted into the ranks of some of the wealthiest people in the county.

Niche businesses are still a frequent path to wealth, but most of the world’s billionaires tend to work in broader industries, such as Silicon Valley tech and wealth management portfolios. That some of the wealthiest people in the UK are Kent residents who built their own unique businesses is definitely something to be proud of.

Education is Key

If there’s one trend which is virtually guaranteed to be shared by wealthy people of all stripes across the globe, it’s education. Of the 2,124 billionaires in the world, only 30 of them do not have a degree. The most popular degree courses among the richest are engineering, business and economics, while the most popular places to receive an education are unsurprisingly elite Ivy League schools such as Harvard or Yale.

This also rings true of the people of Kent, with virtually all of the people who made it to the rich list having spent some time studying at either Oxford or Cambridge. Luckily, Kent is within easy reach to some of the best universities in the world, including the two mentioned, and that other training ground for the global elite, the London School of Economics (LSE). With this in mind, it’s not surprising that so many of the UK’s richest either hail from Kent or have decided to put down roots here, given the wealth of opportunities that exist in the county.

While we may not be millionaires, it’s always fascinating to learn about those who are, before, of course, drowning our sorrows at the pub afterwards!

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