He is incredibly wealthy now after creating the company Amazon, but did Jeff Bezos come from the world of trust funds?
Jeff Bezos was not born rich. Bezos’ mother had him when she was seventeen years old and his father Ted was eighteen. The teen pregnancy meant that the two had barely any money to their names. Jeff’s biological father worked at Walmart. His mother was a bank teller and high school student at the beginning of his life.
Read more below about Jeff Bezos’ financial means growing up.
Jacklyn Bezos’ Pregnancy and Career
Jeff Bezos’ mother Jacklyn was pregnant with him in 1964 at the age of seventeen. As Jeff recalls in this Business Insider interview “I can assure you that being a pregnant teenager in high school was not cool in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at that time.”
His grandfather had to even put up a fight in order for Jackie to not be kicked out of school.
Jacklyn pushed through the adversity and managed to graduate from high school. She gave birth to her son Jeff on January 12, 1964.
As teenage parents, Jacklyn and Ted did not have much and their marriage quickly fell apart.
When Jeff was four years old, Jackie remarried to Mike Bezos. Mike was still in university, but even while helping to support the family, he graduated and landed a job with Exxon.
Grandparents in Texas
While Jeff Bezos was not born rich, his grandparents did own a ranch in Texas. It was here that Bezos attributes learning about the value of hardwork.
He started helping his grandfather on the farm when he was a toddler and did so every summer until he left for Princeton.
Bezos has recalled doing everything from fixing windmills to performing surgery on cattle while helping out on his grandparents’ ranch.
He even learned the lesson that it is “harder to be kind than it is to be smart” from his grandfather. From interviews, it is clear that Bezos looks back at these memories fondly and as a key part of his eventual success.
You can watch Jeff Bezos talk about his “rags to riches” story at the Amazon Smbhav summit by following the below YouTube link.
Jeff’s Adoptive Father Mike
If Jeff Bezos’ beginnings were humble then his adoptive father’s beginnings were monumental. Miguel “Mike” Bezos immigrated to the United States from Cuba when he was only sixteen.
He didn’t speak a single word of English and lived at a refugee camp for three weeks before being sent to attend high school in Wilmington, Delaware.
In Delaware, Mike learned English and graduated from high school.
Mike found that the work opportunities for a Cuban immigrant with only a high school diploma were destitute in America. This insight brought him to the decision to attend University so he could get a better job.
It was while attending university in Albuquerque, New Mexico that he met Jackie. The two were married and he adopted Jeff as his son.
Jeff Bezos has stated that his father’s story has provided him with a lot of inspiration over the years.
Hearing what his dad went through as an immigrant to the United States surely provided Jeff with some of the grit needed to get him to where he is today. That and all of the crazy farm work he was exposed to by his time spent on the ranch.
It is pretty clear that Jeff Bezos was not born into a rich family. Although his childhood was not filled with poverty or destitution, he was born into the working class.
Like many of the world’s billionaires, Bezos is a self-made man who had an idea that he was able to turn into one of the world’s largest companies.