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How our richest Australians are getting richer

For the richest Australians, getting rich is only half the journey to achieving long-term wealth. The other half is maintaining and building their riches.

Australia has seen many billionaires over its history. But it’s those Australians able to keep and grow their fortunes who wind up having the biggest impact on our economy and cementing a lasting legacy.

The secrets of the rich are often hidden from us ‘ordinary people’.

But according to reporting in last week’s Australian Financial Review (AFR), it’s really not rocket science as to how the richest Australians have managed to not only keep their wealth, but increase it significantly over the past decade. In fact, the AFR reports that Australia’s top 20 richest people have collectively grown their wealth by almost 30% over the past year.

Who topped the list of richest Australians?

As reported in the AFR, mining baron Gina Rinehart regained the title of Australia’s richest person. Ms Rinehart clocked in with a fortune estimated at $21.2 billion, up a staggering 53% over the past 12 months. High iron ore prices have been exceedingly kind to Ms Rinehart, pushing her to the No. 1 spot for the first time since 2015.

But the second and third places went to 2 Australians who decided not to call Australia home. Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar are the co-founders of Atlassian Corporation PLC (NASDAQ: TEAM). Atlassian is a United States-listed company that develops software solutions for business. The company’s shares have exploded in recent months, propelling the fortunes of Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar to more than $18 billion each.

Hui Wing Mau, a Hong Kong-based property developer took out the fourth spot with a fortune of $17.8 billion.

Gina Rinehart’s fellow iron ore enthusiast Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest of Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) also chalked up a top year, achieving the fifth spot. His fortune is now estimated at $17.6 billion, an eye-watering 120.6% higher than this time last year.

What can we learn from these Aussie rich listers?

There’s not much point dissecting the list of richest Australians out of envy. Rather, consider the list with a view to the lessons we can draw. That is, what can we learn about how the rich get and stay wealthy? And how do we apply this to our own wealth creation?

Here is a common theme that has emerged. Two of Australia’s biggest wealth creation hotspots over the past year have been in mining and tech. Our country’s iron ore is cheap and abundant. I believe those companies that can harness it will continue to benefit from emerging markets like China and India. I also feel that to dismiss mining and ASX resources shares as ‘old fashioned’ is to do so at your own peril.

Turning to tech, we can see how just one Aussie tech company can build the fortunes of our second and third richest people whilst helping put Australia on the world stage. Atlassian isn’t even a large tech company by American standards, with its market capitalisation of US$45.48 billion. Nonetheless, it has succeeded in creating serious wealth for its founders and other share holders. If one Aussie company can achieve this, hopefully many others can follow in its footsteps!

Foolish takeaway

In my view, considering how and where the rich are making their money can be a very useful guide for your own investing. So don’t envy these rich Australians, instead take inspiration from them. Then perhaps one day you’ll join them!

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Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Atlassian. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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