Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 491 John Paulson $4.40B

Random fact: Graduated in top 5% of class at Harvard Business School.


Paulson is the founder and owner of Paulson & Co., a New York-based investment adviser that manages about $9 billion. The hedge fund focuses on four main strategies, including global merger and event arbitrage, and is probably best-known for making $15 billion in 2007 on a bet against mortgage bonds.

As of :
Last change No change
YTD change No change
Industry Finance
Biggest asset Paulson & Co.
Citizenship United States
Age 64
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

John Paulson's net worth of $4.40B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Paulson's fortune is derived from his assets in hedge funds he owns and manages through Paulson & Co. The funds focus on four main strategies, according to its 2018 Form ADV filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission: global merger and event arbitrage, financial restructuring, real estate and credit opportunities in financial instruments.

Paulson probably had about $5.8 billion invested in the funds as of April 2019, based on a Bloomberg News report. About $1.5 billion of those funds probably belong to the Paulson Family Foundation, according to a 2017 form 990 filing, and those funds are deducted from the total.

Paulson declined to comment, through spokeswoman Dawn Dover in October 2019.


Birthdate: 12/14/1955
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: New York University, Harvard Business School

John Alfred Paulson was raised in the middle class Beechhurst section of Bayside, Queens. By his own admission, Paulson was an exceptional student, finishing his undergraduate years at New York University as valedictorian and graduating near the top of his class at Harvard Business School.

After stints working in risk arbitrage at Bear Stearns, Odyssey Partners and Gruss Partners, Paulson founded Paulson and Co. in 1994, with $2 million in money from friends and family.

Paulson's adeptness at mastering new ideas enabled him to capitalize on a suggestion by one of his analysts, Paolo Pellegrini, to use credit derivatives as a way bet against on what they correctly saw as a housing bubble in the U.S. in the mid-2000s. The result: Paulson's fund earned $15 billion in 2007, 20% of which he personally kept. That series of investments was praised as the greatest trade ever in a book about Paulson by Gregory Zuckerberg.

But the firm's performance over the next decade disappointed some investors. In 2018, the firm shut a number of its funds and laid-off staff after its assets under management dropped from a peak of $38 billion to about $9 billion, most of which belong to Paulson and employees. In July 2020, the firm announced it was converting into a family office.

The billionaire lives in New York, with residences in Manhattan and the South Fork of Long Island.

  • 1953 John Alfred Paulson is born in Queens, New York.
  • 1978 Graduates summa cum laude from New York University.
  • 1980 Finishes in top 5 percent of class at Harvard Business School.
  • 1982 Lands job with risk arbitrage firm Odyssey Partners.
  • 1984 Becomes a managing director at Bear Stearns.
  • 1994 Starts Paulson & Co.
  • 2007 Makes prescient bet against subprime debt.
  • 2011 Advantage Plus fund loses 51 percent on U.S. recovery bet.
  • 2400 Paulson & Co. announces conversion to a family office.