Carlos Slim Helú (born January 28, 1940 in Mexico City) is a Mexican business magnate, investor and philanthropist.
Making Time for Family
At various times in the last decade, Carlos Slim of Mexico has sat atop Forbes’ The World’s Billionaires list. His days are jam packed with business, but when he walks through his door, he makes sure that he reserves the evening time for his six children and his numerous grandchildren. Many of the world’s wealthiest people could easily work on their business from sun up to sun down, but instead some consciously make the time to read their children or grandchildren a story, catch up with their adult children, or have date night with their spouses. Family time can’t be bought with money, so many of the world’s wealthiest make it a priority in their schedule.
Carlos Slim has a knack for knowing when to get in or get out of a business. He became a billionaire after the economic crash of 1982 when he purchased investments at low prices that would later be extremely valuable. His confidence in his country remained when other Mexican investors rushed to expatriate their capital. As the economy recovered, Slim’s fortune grew and his acquisitions accelerated. Again in 2008, Slim surprised the world with his purchase of a 6.4% stake in New York Times. In 2009, as the global recession grew worse, he further helped New York Times steady its finances with a $250 million loan which the Times repaid plus 14% interest ahead of schedule.
Slim’s father, Julian Slim, taught his children how to manage their finances. He encouraged them to record all their income and expenditures very early. Carlos Slim learned very fast and at the age of 12, he bought his first shares in the Bank of Mexico. Slim also learned very early in life that he needs to teach his own kids exactly what his father taught him. His three sons have taken reigns of the major components of his holding company, Grupo Carso.
W. Clement Stone once said, “If you cannot save money, the seeds of greatness are not in you.” Carlos Slim and his family lived modestly at the early stages of his career. He reinvested earnings from his businesses in expansion and more acquisitions rather than on fast cars and a gigantic house. There is little wonder why he is so great today.
Slim’s holding company, Grupo Carso, is formed from the combination of the first letters of his and his late wife’s name, Carlos and Soumaya. He loves his family, acknowledges them and spends time with them. His family still dines together every Monday night.
When Slim’s company purchased Telefonos de Mexico (Telemex) with French and American partners, Slim had an idea for building the customer base for cell phone service in Mexico’s struggling economy. He sold handsets with a month service prepaid and rather than sending the customers a monthly bill, and he enabled them to buy prepaid phone cards using their minutes as needed, an idea now adopted by nations all around the world. As it happened, the prepaid program filled an enormous need and the customer base grew by 66% every year for the next fifteen years. His company is now the largest wireless services provider in Latin America.
Carlos Slim so far has invested in real estate, a construction equipment company, mining, tobacco, retail stores and telecommunications which eventually made him very rich and famous. This lays emphasis on the fact that you should not put all your eggs in one basket.
Slim is a giver. He has given to a number of charitable foundations. He has a foundation himself, which concentrates on developing Mexico’s human capital through education and training programs. Apart from his efforts to improve health, nutrition and disaster relief, he has provided university scholarships for hundreds of thousands of students.