How Harold Simmons Rose From Poverty To A $10 Billion Tycoon

Harold Simmons

The other day I was fairly bored and began reading about the various billionaires in the world. Over the course of my reading, I began to notice a common theme among many of the individuals on the list: the vast majority of them inherited their wealth. We always like to hear success stories about self-made people, especially billionaires, but a large portion of the wealthiest individuals out there didn’t do a whole lot to earn their fortunes. Many of them happened to be born into it. Then I came across the story of Harold Simmons, an entrepreneur and businessman from Texas. Unlike a lot of the stories that I was reading where an individual was an heir to a fortune or acquired a majority stake in a company when a relative passed, Harold Simmons was a true self-made billionaire. When he passed away back in 2013 at the age of 82, he was worth $10 billion dollars. On it’s own that’s an impressive feat, however when you learn about his humble beginnings it’s even more impressive. Like a true Texan, he did things big and always lived life to the fullest.

Unlike many wealthy individuals that were born into prominent families, this was not the case for Harold. Mr. Simmons was born on May 13th, 1931 in the town of Golden, Texas. Today it is so small that it is actually described as an “unicorporated community”, so you can only image what it was like back in the 1930’s during the Great Depression. His parents were both teachers, and their home was practically a glorified shack as they had no running water or electricity. However despite the situation, Harold made the most of what he had. Instead of messing around as many young boys do growing up, he mostly stayed indoors studying. His parents taught him to value education, so he worked extremely hard at his studies. This turned out to be a great choice.

Harold would go on to earn his undergraduate degree (with honors) from the University of Texas in 1951. Instead of seeking a job, he stayed at school for another year and earned his masters degree in economics in 1952. After he was finally done with education, he was ready to take on the world.

After working a few different jobs throughout the 1950’s, the story of Harold Simmons really picks up in 1960. He had an interest in running and owning a pharmacy, so he worked hard to make that a reality. That year he would spend $5,000 of his savings and take out a $95,000 dollar loan from the bank to purchase University Pharmacy. That bank definitely took a gamble on him, however it would pay off immensely. Simmons worked really hard at running the pharmacy, however his eyes were set on even bigger things. Just 12 years later, Harold managed to open up 100 University Pharmacy stores and then sold the company for $50 million dollars. This sale was a defining moment for Harold, and it would begin his career as an investor.

He would then go on to purchase a variety of banks across Texas, using one bank to finance the purchase of the other. This would give him the nickname “Dallas’ Most Evil Genius”, and he kept doing this. Once he got bored with banking, he looked to even larger things. Next he would attempt to take over Lockheed Martin, and he eventually acquired a 20% stake in the company. From there, the list of companies that Simmons controlled or owned is pretty absurd: Muse Air, Valhi Inc., Amalgamated Sugar, Contran Corporation, and much more. These companies would eventually contribute to his massive net worth, and he would eventually become a multi-billionaire.

However it wasn’t all sunshine and daisies. Some of the methods Simmons used to make money and acquire companies were often dubious at best. He was known to find obscure tax-loopholes, attempted to liquidate pensions to pay stockholders and himself, was indicted a few times for various forms of fraud, and a variety of other questionable methods. Still the man did manage to accomplish a great deal in his lifetime, and was truly a successful man. Howard Simmons went from living in a shack in rural Texas, to a prominent investor and businessman that was worth $10 billion dollars, and that is a story you don’t hear everyday.

Photo from Dallas News

Add Comment

Actors Basketball Players Bloggers Boxers Celebrities Criminals Football Coaches Football Players Golfers Hockey Coaches MMA NASCAR Olympians Politicians Skateboarders Soccer Coaches Soccer Players Tennis Wrestlers
The Richest People in Europe - Liliane Bettencourt
20 of the Richest People in Europe
10 of the Most Fiscally Corrupt Politicians in History
The Top Five Richest Chefs in the World
Rolls Royce Dawn is Named Best Luxury Car
Shelby American’s 50th Anniversary Super Snake
Jaguar Will Unveil the re-worked F-Type 400 Sport in 2017
1966 Batmobile no. 5 Sold for $210,000
10 of the Most Luxurious Things To Do in Boston
10 of the Most Luxurious Things To Do in Boston
Top Five Hotels to Send Christmas Abroad
A $191,000 Flight is One Way to Ring in 2017
Five Luxurious Places To Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2016
WatchUWant
The Top 10 Sites to Buy Luxury Watches on the Internet
A Guide for the First-Time Rolex Buyer
Why We Love the The 2016 Rolex Air-King
Why We Love the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thing Squelette
The Top Five Women’s Sneakers Brands in 2016
Five Upcoming Sneaker Collections to Check out in August
Five of the Most Expensive Sneakers at Sneakerness Berlin
Five Sneaker Brands to Look for at New York Market Week
Cheese
The Most Expensive Cheeses in the World
$1,000 Ice Cream Sundae Serendipity 3
Here’s Where You Can Enjoy a $1,000 Ice Cream Sundae In Vegas
Mauro Camusso Creates his Wine in a Disused Mineral Mine
The Top Five Red Wines of 2016
Laucala Hilltop Estate
The Five Most Expensive Hotel Suites in the World
The Place to Stay During the Sundance Film Festival
Alpe d’Huez Voted Europe’s Best Ski Resort
The Four Seasons Gorgeous New Hawaiian Resort