Billionaire Secrets: The John D. Rockefeller Way


John D. Rockefeller 1885 Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


When studying successful businessmen, why not aim high? Why study a millionaire when you can study a billionaire? John D. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry in the late 1800’s. He consolidated a resource and controlled the industry. He was the first true “Monopoly” man, as the government sought to break up his company in his latter years. In modern dollars, he was worth $336 Billion Dollars! He is considered to be the wealthiest American in History. To put things in perspective, Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart would only be worth $108 billion in today’s dollars!

What Rockefeller Taught His Children:

In one of my favorite books, Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth!, by Robert G. Allen, we are told an interesting anecdote:

“John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was certainly not trying to save money when he decided to pay an allowance to his five sons. According to son Nelson, ‘We got 25 cents a week, and had to earn the rest of the money we got.’ To earn part of that extra money he raised vegetables and rabbits. . . ‘We always worked,’ according to Nelson. All the boys were required to keep personal account books. They were required to give 10 percent of their income to charity, to save 10 percent, and to account for all the rest. They had to balance their account books every month and to be able to tell what happened to every penny they earned. Nelson went on to serve as Governor of the state of New York for many years, and ultimately, became Vice President of the United States. One of his brothers, David Rockefeller, Chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank says, ‘We all profited by the experience, especially when it came to understanding the value of money.”

It is interesting that a billionaire father would take the time to instruct his sons in the value of money isn’t it? It is easy to imagine just the opposite, a bunch of spoiled, arrogant, entitled, and lazy kids running around using up rich daddy’s money. But not so in the Rockefeller household! I wish my father would have taught me value money as Rockefeller did, and I’m sure a lot of your reading this do too. But now it is up to us. We need to learn these billionaire secrets. Allow Rockefeller to adopt you as his financial son or daughter. After we have disciplined ourselves, let us pass along his teachings to our children. He taught four lessons according to Robert G. Allen:

  1. The Necessity of work:  When you earn it, you value it.
  2. The importance of charityGive away the first 10 percent.
  3. The need for savingPay yourself the next 10 percent.
  4. The power of accountabilityAccount for every penny.

In is interesting that yet again, the power of giving away 10% has come up in my studies (please refer to my previous post “How Giving 10% of Your Money Away Will Make You a Millionaire!”).


I want you to ask yourself, and I will do the same: Where are you in your financial life? How many of the four lessons above are you living by?

Powerful, isn’t it? And yet we complain about where we are in life. I personally struggle with the accountability portion of the lesson. I will make a separate blog post about what I’m doing to fix this. If you think about it, how can you accurately save 10% and give 10% if you do not account for every penny? How do you stack up against the 4 lessons?

Let us all make 2015 a more prosperous year and learn from the billionaire secrets of John D. Rockefeller.

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