Rags to Riches

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Success doesn’t always come easy to the rich and famous. Here are a few examples of some famous people who have overcome difficult situations and odds to offer real rags-to-riches stories.


According to the New York Times, Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox, “grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City when it was really bad, when the gangs were there and the drug addicts were there.” Ursula was raised in the projects of New York City by a single mother, and although they were impoverished, Ursula’s mother was adamant that her children go to college. Ursula went on to obtain a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU in 1980 and a master of science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University a year later.

Ursula is the first African-American woman to run a Fortune 500 company, and in 2009 Forbes rated her the 14th most powerful woman in the world.


St. Louis Rams famed quarterback, Kurt Warner, played collegiate ball at the University of Northern Iowa and was named the Gateway Conference's Offensive Player of the Year, yet he went undrafted in the 1994 NFL Draft.  Warner was invited to try out for the Green Bay Packers but was cut before the season. Warner stayed active in football as a graduate assistant coach for his alma mater, and during this time he also stocked shelves at a local supermarket.

Warner got his big break with the St. Louis Rams after spending time in the Arena Football League and a year in NFL Europe. He led the Rams to victory in Super Bowl XXXIV, and finished his career with the Arizona Cardinals leading them to their first and only Super Bowl appearance in 2008. During his career, Warner earned two NFL MVP awards, and a Super Bowl MVP, and is now considered the best-undrafted player of all time.


Oprah Winfrey was not born rich. In fact, the 59-year-old television personality came from a modest background. She was born in Mississippi to an unwed teenage mother and suffered from sexual and physical abuse during her adolescence. Oprah won the Miss Black, Tennessee beauty pageant at the age of 18 and that opened doors to a part time job at a radio station. She went on to host a Baltimore show called People are Talking. By 1986 her show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, was syndicated on over more than 100 channels across the country. According to Forbes.com, Oprah Winfrey’s net worth as of March 2013 is 2.8 billion.

It’s not necessary for children to endure the “school of hard knocks” or to have a rags-to-riches story to be financially successful in their lives. Parents can model financial responsibility to even the youngest of children and teach them the life lesson of financial literacy.

FamilyMint.com can make that lesson easier by providing a fun and educational way for children, with the help of their parents, to manage money and build financial literacy. Their easy and intuitive award-winning online money management application has helped thousands of parents raise money-smart kids by teaching them about financial goal setting, and forming the types of financial habits and behaviors that will lead to financial success.






Ursula Burns: http://www.gpo.gov/images/about/archive/ursulaburns2.jpg

Kurt Warner: http://flickr.com/photos/59158146@N00/456529985.

Oprah Winfrey: People.com