How a middle class man became a billionaire: Little known facts about Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

·5 min read
INDIA - DECEMBER 25:  Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, an equity investor, poses at an outdoor location in Mumbai, India. Potrait  (Photo by Umesh Goswami/The The India Today Group via Getty Images)
INDIA - DECEMBER 25: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, an equity investor, poses at an outdoor location in Mumbai, India. Potrait (Photo by Umesh Goswami/The The India Today Group via Getty Images)

If you thought Indian business magnate and investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, you couldn't be more wrong. On the contrary he was born into a middle class family on July 5, 1960.

Here's a look at how he started his journey in trading & investing and rose to be formidably rich, worth Rs 34,000 crore ($4.60 billion) as of 2021.

His father was an Income Tax officer and it was due to him that he developed an interest in the stock market. He would listen to his father talk about stocks and gradually started developing an interest.

(Yahoo Finance tip: educate your children about the importance of money and finance and how economy works in their impressionable years; after all 'home is where children receive their first education)

Jhunjhunwala is also a certified Chartered Accountant and completed his education in 1985. After completing his CA, he wanted to enter the stock market but received no financial support from his father.

Jhunjhunwala's investing journey began in the year 1985, at a time when the Sensex was around 150 points (now trading over 52,000). Although he has explored stocks while still in college, his first real investment was with a capital as low as Rs 5,000, which may now seem like a negligible amount, but back in the day, it was a big amount. Entire middle-class families would run on Rs 5,000 and even as on today those living below poverty line probably don't earn that much.

Within a year in 1986, he made a profit of Rs 5 lakh through his investment in Tata Tea. He bought 5,000 shares of the company at Rs 43 and sold them for Rs 143 per share.

Even today his most valuable listed holding is watch and jewellery maker Titan, part of the Tata conglomerate. Buying 8 crore shares of Titan Ltd in 2002-03 proved to be the most profitable investment for Jhunjhunwala. The stock today is trading at roughly Rs 1,751 as compared to an average price of Rs 5 when Jhunjhunwala first bought the stock.

This proves that Jhunjhunwala believes in the concept of long-term investing as he still holds the Titan Ltd stocks. It also shows how getting a head start in the art of identifying stocks at a very early stage helped him grow his wealth.

(Yahoo Finance tip: Learning and earning are both habits that take time, patience, aptitude and risk appetite. Assess your own dedication to the purpose before you question your bank balance or envy someone else's)

But even rich men have normal lives (and normal problems). Rakesh got married to Rekha Jhunjhunwala on February 22, 1987. His wife gave birth to their daughter Nishtha on June 30, 2004, after six cycles of IVF. His twin sons, Aryaman and Aryaveer, were born on March 2, 2009.

His favourite food includes the much relished South Indian creation—'the dosa' and his favourite actors are Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Waheeda Rehman.

In 2013, he reportedly purchased half of a sea-facing building, comprising six plush apartments, in Mumbai’s upmarket Malabar Hill area owned by Standard Chartered Bank, for Rs 176 crore. He is also said to own a holiday home with 7 bedrooms, a pool, a jacuzzi, gym and discotheque in Lonavala.

He has stakes in privately held companies such as Star Health Insurance, Metro Brands and Concord Biotech.

Between the years 1986 to 1989, Jhunjhunwala made large investments in blue-chip companies including Tata Power Ltd, the price of which rose to Rs 1,200 each and more than doubled the assets of the veteran investor from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 55 lakh.

One of his early investments also includes Sesa Goa, which is now called Vedanta Ltd. He had bought almost 400,000 shares of this company which was under severe stress due to fall in the prices of iron ore.

In 2017, he reportedly earned more than Rs 875 crore in a single day thanks to the hike in share price of Titan.

Today, Jhunjhunwala is the chairman of Aptech Limited and Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt Ltd and sits on the board of directors of Prime Focus Limited, Geojit Financial Services, Bilcare Limited, Praj Industries Limited, Provogue India Limited, Concord Biotech Limited, Innovasynth Technologies (I) Limited, Mid Day Multimedia Limited, Nagarjuna Construction Company Limited, Viceroy Hotels Limited and Tops Security Limited.

He also does a lot of philanthropy in the areas of nutrition and education. He contributes to St Jude, which runs shelters for cancer-affected children, Agastya International Foundation and Arpan, an entity that helps create awareness among children on sexual exploitation. He also supports Ashoka University, Friends of Tribals Society and Olympic Gold Quest.

In his own words, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala believes that his greatest knowledge is the fact that 'he made mistakes in the market but learnt from them'.

He has always believed the markets to be supreme. But also strongly believes that the right principles are what help you either make it or break it in the long run.

Jhunjhunwala has consistently been a big part of India’s growth story and believes that the bull market is here to stay.

His advice to the investor community is to cling to the thought of not judging a stock by a one-day correction or one bad quarter, but only judge a stock by its performance in the long run.

He is popularly referred to as the 'Warren Buffett of India' and the 'King of Bull Market'.

In an interview with The Economic Times, he had once famously stated, "Markets are like women, always commanding, always mysterious, always volatile."

We hope the women agree and here's wishing the Big Bull a very happy birthday!

Ref source: Financial Express, Economic Times, Wikipedia,,