World’s Richest Man (in Many Ways)

Here are the three who consistently jockey for top spot among the world’s richest. At #1 position is the middle guy, Carlos Hetu Slim (could be why he’s laughing so broadly), beating out #2, Bill Gates of Microsoft (bottom picture), and #3, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway.

What’s his formula? Check out article below, and by the way, he used the same principles in raising his family. Just some food for thought. Now, take in the scope of Carlos Hetu Slim’s empire that stretches throughout Mexico and continues on from Argentina to Jamaica. But that’s definitely not the most significant aspect of his wealth…

Mexico’s telecom tycoon occupies the no. #1 spot on the Forbes list of 164 billionaires, coming in at a personal value estimated at 53.5 billion dollars. He’s the first to achieve such prominence as a Latin American… and he’s the first on this list from a developing nation.

Incidentally, too, he’s the first non-American to occupy that spot in 16 years.

How’d he get all that money? Oh, he’s “grown it” over a lifetime, one begun early in his father’s store. That training culminated, in 1990, when he bought and privatized TelMex, the Mexican government’s national phone monopoly. He now controls cellular service from Argentina to Jamaica. He’s not in the cellular business alone, however. As with many successful tycoons, his investments are numerous and varied.

His own father migrated from Lebanon to Mexico to join up with 4 older brothers. Theirs was an escape route many Lebanese sought in the day, to avoid conscription in the Ottoman army. That man carved an empire for himself in Mexico beginning with a dry goods store. Later, he married a woman of half Lebanese/Mexican descent, and she bore him 6 children. Carlos Hetu Slim was one of these.

The children were raised with the ethic of “hard work brings success;” as such, they all worked in their father’s store, a business that grew in value over time. From the young age of 8, Carlos was already investing, buying bonds, plotting his future, and his formula worked.

As an adult, in the style of America’s robber barons of the likes of Carnegie and Rockefeller (who made their wealth in an era before anti-trust acts), Carlos bought companies cheap, turned them around, and ruthlessly drove out his competitors.

But here’s the kicker about Carlos Slim. Even as he amassed a fortune, he rejected the need to live large and continues today to occupy that modest home where he and his wife raised their 4 children (she’s now deceased.) In other words, when the rest of the world flaunted their wealth via McMansions and other trappings, Slim espoused the opposite philosophy.

As parent in those earlier years, he mandated the kids share bedrooms. That’s right, the two boys got one room, while the girls were assigned another. Why? He believed if they roomed together, they’d learn to share (and this was a family who never needed to share anything).

He felt the forced proximity would foster a tighter bond among his children. Today, his adult children and he are close, and Carlos Slim has remained a widower, despite the fact his wife died in 1990 and one might imagine: He’s had any number of contenders for his affection.

Another thing he did that was different? Each of his children worked in his employ. Those same kids who could have had anything were taught the value of hard work and saving for what they wanted. Dad never simply doled out the money. He taught them well that “material things don’t bring satisfaction.”

He spurns the notion of today’s younger parents who seek to provide all sorts of amusements and entertainment to their kids with the latest technological devices and toys. In fact, on the Larry King show, in the past year, Carlos Slim told King that he doesn’t understand today’s parents who try to buy affection from their kids. He never tried to get his kids to like him—that wasn’t his job—and Carlos Hetu Slim always knew his job.

Instead, he imbued his children with a sense of purpose and made sure they followed his parental dictates. Liking him would come later…or maybe not. It was more important that he produce respectful, hard-working, productive individuals who would take their place in society and contribute.

Being “entitled” was never an option.

Easy formula for success in parenting? Not in today’s narcissistic society. But Carlos Hetu Slim is a man who never forgot the values with which he was raised. That philosophy of life has stood him well and vaulted him to the #1 spot on the dais as “World’s Richest Man.”

The irony? It’s not merely worldly wealth he’s acquired. Judging by his relationship with his adult children (all of them), he’s richer by far in that regard, too, for each of his grown children bears him inordinate respect and affection.

But click on the following link to discover who (among the world’s richest) give the most to charitable enterprises..Any reaction to this list? (I know I was shocked and heartened, too.) Awaiting your comments. Hit that section in the lineup at end of post, just before icons for social networking sites.

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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