China's Richest Man Says He Was Happier Earning $12 A Month
They say that money doesn't buy you happiness - which is probably true, although being rich definitely helps. But one billionaire is on record as saying that he was happiest before he was loaded.
Jack Ma, founder and CEO of the e-commerce group Alibaba, has admitted that he was most satisfied when he was barely making any money just after he graduated from university. Know the feeling, mate.
Ma, who became the richest man in China after Alibaba's initial public offering (IPO) raised a record $25bn for the company, praised his first job as an English teacher at a local university after he graduated in 1988, calling it 'the best life I had'.
This was despite the job in his hometown of Hangzhou, China paying him a mere $12 a month, according to a documentary about his life, Crocodile in the Yangtze.
"If you have less than $1 million, you know how to spend the money," he said in a 2015 speech at the Economics Club of New York, according to Business Insider.
" [At] $1 billion, that's not your money...The money I have today is a responsibility. It's the trust of people on me."
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In his 2015 speech, Ma went on to explain that the responsibility of being in charge of a billion-dollar company is a hard burden to bear.
He said that he felt the strong need to use his wealth wisely 'on behalf of... society'.
"I spend it our way," he said. "It's a trust."
Ma's been spoken before about how stressful being a billionaire can be. CNN Money previously reported how Ma referred to his English teaching days as 'fantastic'.
Speaking on a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Ma is said to have called anyone with $1 million 'a lucky person', but adding 'you've got troubles' when that reaches $10 million. Weird, most people would probably say they're even luckier.
After Alibaba's IPO took the business public, Ma told CNBC that he was struggling with the new pressure, saying all he could do was try to shake it off.
"IPO is great because ... I'm happy with the results," he told the broadcaster. "But honestly, I think when people think too highly of you, you have the responsibility to calm down and be yourself."
You might not be that sympathetic given how minted and impressive Ma is, but it's reassuring to know that even billionaires pine for what money can't buy.
Featured Image Credit: PA