Michael Milken Net Worth, Career & Full Bio (2024 Updated)

Written By Charles Eames
Last updated: February 11, 2023

Michael Milken is a billionaire financier and philanthropist who rose to fame in the 1980s for his role in popularizing high-yield bonds, also known as “junk bonds,” at investment banking firm Drexel Burnham Lambert.

Despite his success and wealth, he faced criminal charges in 1989 related to insider trading and securities fraud, eventually serving 22 months in prison and paying $600 million in fines.

After his release, Milken founded the Milken Institute, a think tank focused on economic issues and public health.

He has also become known for his philanthropy, particularly in medical research and education. He is currently estimated to have a net worth of $6 billion.

Michael Milken’s career began at Drexel Firestone (later Drexel Burnham Lambert) in 1970, where he quickly rose through the ranks to become head of the firm’s high-yield bond department.

He pioneered the use of junk bonds as a means for companies with high risks but the potential for high returns to raise capital.

In addition to his work with the institute, Milken has become known for his philanthropy through the Milken Family Foundation.

He has donated millions to medical research, education reform, and Jewish causes. He received the Felix P.

Rohatyn Prize for Leadership in Public Finance in 2014 for his work in municipal finance reform. Milken is currently married to Lori Anne Hackel and has three children.

Thus, we say that Michael Milken’s story is one of great success, legal troubles, and, ultimately, redemption through philanthropy.

He remains a controversial figure in the world of finance, but his impact on the industry cannot be denied, and his current success and wealth are a testament to that.

Michael Milken Net Worth and Wiki

Full NameMichael Robert Milken
Net Worth$6 billion
Date of BirthJuly 4, 1946,
Place of BirthEncino, California, United States
Height5 ft 8 in
EducationBachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley; MBA from the University of Pennsylvania
EthnicityAshkenazi Jewish
Marital statusMarried to Lori Anne Hackel
Notable Companies/InvestmentsDrexel Burnham Lambert, MCI Communications Corporation
AwardsFelix P. Rohatyn Prize for Leadership in Public Finance (2014)
Years active1970-Present

Net Worth

As of (2024), Michael Milken’s net worth is estimated to be $6 billion. He first gained fame and wealth in the 1980s as the head of high-yield bonds at the investment banking firm Drexel Burnham Lambert.

Michael Milken Net Worth

He faced legal troubles in 1989, leading to a conviction for insider trading and securities fraud and a $600 million fine.

In addition to his career in finance, Milken also founded the Milken Institute and is known for his philanthropy through the Milken Family Foundation.

He has donated millions to causes such as medical research and education reform.

Despite his past legal troubles, Milken’s success continues to grow, with a current net worth of $6 billion.

Also Read: April Ross Net Worth & Full Wiki

Early Life and Education

Michael Milken was born on July 4, 1946, in Encino, California, to Bernard and Roberta Milken.

He grew up in a middle-class Jewish family and had an interest in the business from a young age, selling greeting cards door-to-door and running a market research firm with his younger brother Lowell while still in high school.

Michael Milken attended the University of California, Berkeley, for his undergraduate degree before earning his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

During his childhood and education, Milken also showed an interest in philanthropy and giving back to the community, volunteering for fundraising campaigns for various local organizations.

His early life and education set the foundation for Milken’s later success in finance and philanthropy.

His interest in business and giving back to his community would shape his career and personal pursuits.

As a result, we may say that Michael Milken’s upbringing and education laid the groundwork for his success in banking and philanthropy, with a current net worth of $4 billion.

His career and philanthropic pursuits continue to make a significant impact on the world today.


Michael Milken began his career at Drexel Firestone, later known as Drexel Burnham Lambert, in 1970. He quickly rose through the ranks to become head of the firm’s high-yield bond department and was dubbed “The Junk Bond King.”

Michael Milken Career

Milken pioneered the use of junk bonds, which allowed companies with high risks but the potential for high returns to raise capital.

In 1989, Milken faced legal troubles related to insider trading and securities fraud. He pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $600 million fine, leading to a 10-year ban from the securities industry.

Despite this setback, Milken continued to make impactful contributions to finance by founding the Milken Institute. A think tank focused on economic issues and public policy.

He also remains active in philanthropy through the Milken Family Foundation, which has donated millions to causes such as medical research and education reform.

In 2014, he received the Felix P. Rohatyn Prize for Leadership in Public Finance for his work in municipal finance reform.

Throughout his career, Michael Milken faced challenges but continued to make a significant impact on the world of finance and beyond through his innovative thinking and philanthropic efforts.

Also Read: Naomi Scott Net Worth

Personal Life

When it comes to his personal life, Milken is married to Lori Anne Hackel and has three children.

Michael Milken Personal Life

In addition to his career success and philanthropic pursuits, Milken is also known for his love of collecting art, with works by Picasso and Monet in his collection.

In 2000, Milken announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

He has since become a prominent advocate for cancer research through his foundation’s support of organizations such as Stand Up To Cancer and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which he founded in 1993.

His personal life also includes his involvement in Jewish organizations, such as the Birthright Israel Foundation and the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance and Library.

Overall, Michael Milken’s personal life reflects his passion for not only business and philanthropy but also art and Judaism. His experiences with cancer have shaped his commitment to supporting research and finding a cure.

Thus, we can say that his personal life showcases his diverse interests and dedication to making a difference in a variety of areas, alongside his continuing success in finance and philanthropy.

Also Read: Joe Manganiello’s Net Worth

Awards and Nominations

Awards are an important recognition of success, and Michael Milken has received notable accolades throughout his career.

In 1985, he was named the Financial World’s CEO of the Year; in 1989, Time Magazine named him one of America’s 200 Biggest Influentials.

In addition, he has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts with awards such as The Atlantic Philanthropies’ Leadership Award in 2005 and UCLA’s Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy in 2007.

Michael Milken has also received multiple nominations for prestigious awards, including being a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 1992 and receiving a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work with cancer research.

These awards and nominations demonstrate that Michael Milken’s impact and success have been recognized not only within the financial industry but also in his philanthropic pursuits.


Milestones are always worth mentioning because they can show the progression and success of a person’s career. Following are some of the highlights of Michael Milken’s career:

  • In 1969, Milken graduated from Berkeley with a BA in Business Administration.
  • He joined Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1970 and was named a partner by age 29.
  • Milken founded the Milken Institute in 1991.
  • In 1993, he established the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
  • In 2000, Milken announced his cancer diagnosis and became an advocate for cancer research through his foundation’s efforts.

These milestones show how Milken has achieved success throughout his career in finance and philanthropy and how he has used personal experiences to make an impact on important causes.

Overall, these milestones highlight the progression and accomplishments of Michael Milken’s career.

Also Read: Kristin Davis Net Worth, Career + Full Bio

Where does Michael Milken spend most of his money?

When it comes to his spending habits, Milken is known for being a fine art collector, having spent millions on paintings by Picasso and Monet.

He also invests heavily in philanthropic efforts through his foundation, with notable donations, including $50 million to UCLA’s medical school and $40 million to the University of Southern California’s business school.

In addition, Milken spends his money on supporting cancer research organizations and Jewish organizations.

He also spends a lot on real estate, owning multiple homes in places such as Aspen, Los Angeles, and New York.

He also collects vintage cars and has been known to spend millions on rare models, such as a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.

Milken’s spending reflects his diverse interests in art, philanthropy, real estate, and collectibles.

How does Michael Milken make his money?

Milken made his money in the finance industry, specifically in high-risk bonds known as “junk bonds,” according to his sources of income.

He was highly successful at Drexel Burnham Lambert and later founded his investment firm, M.D. Sass Investors Services, Inc.

In addition to his income from investments and business ventures, Milken also earns money through speaking engagements and advisory roles and sits on the boards of multiple companies.

He also earns a lot on interest from investments and his assets, such as his real estate properties and art collection.

His sources of income also include the dividends and profits from his philanthropic foundation, the Milken Family Foundation.

Michael Milken’s income is derived mostly from his achievements in the finance industry, speaking engagements, consulting roles, and philanthropy.

Also Read: James Charles’s Net Worth

5 Success lessons to learn from Michael Milken

Success lessons are always worth mentioning because they can provide valuable insight into how someone achieved success and may apply to others.

Following are five success lessons we can learn from Michael Milken:

1. Be willing to take risks and try new things in your industry: Michael Milken made his fortune through high-risk bonds, known as “junk bonds,” which were not popular at the time, but he saw potential in them.

2. Always focus on improving and learning: Before joining Drexel Burnham Lambert, Milken worked tirelessly to improve his math skills and understand financial markets. He also continued learning throughout his career by seeking advice from mentors and studying successful investors.

3. Have a strong work ethic: Michael Milken was known for his long work hours and intense drive to succeed, but he also made sure to prioritize his health by exercising regularly.

4. Use personal experiences to make a positive impact: Michael Milken’s experience with cancer led him to become a major advocate for cancer research through his foundation’s efforts.

5. Give back through philanthropy: Milken founded the Milken Family Foundation in 1982 and has donated millions towards education, medical research, and other causes important to him. He believes in using his success to better society and improve lives.

Overall, these lessons highlight Milken’s drive, focus, and willingness to innovate in his industry as well as use personal experiences for philanthropic efforts.

Favorite Quotes from Michael Milken

Favorite quotes are always worth mentioning because they can provide motivation and inspiration. Here are a few of Milken’s notable quotes:

  • “The world rewards those who relentlessly pursue their passions.”
  • “The most important lesson I’ve learned is that there is no substitute for hard work, perseverance, and continual learning.”
  • “No one can predict the future, but we all have the power to shape it.”
  • “Philanthropy isn’t about writing checks; it’s about making a difference in people’s lives.”
  • “Don’t let anyone define your limits because of where you came from. Your only limit is your soul. What are you capable of?”

These quotes highlight Milken’s passion, determination, and belief in the power of giving back and making a difference. They inspire readers to pursue their passions, work hard, and not let others limit them.


He is married to Lori Milken, and they have three children together. He also has close relationships with fellow finance industry leaders and influential individuals in politics and philanthropy, such as Rupert Murdoch and former President Bill Clinton.

Michael Milken Relationships

He serves on the board of multiple companies, including Aurora Capital Group LLC and Vistage International Inc., as well as various healthcare organizations.

Milken has strong personal and professional relationships with influential individuals and organizations.

He also serves on the boards of various philanthropic organizations, such as the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Milken Institute. In addition, he is friends with influential individuals such as former President Bill Clinton and broadcaster Larry King.

Also Read: Rachel McAdams Net Worth, Relationship & More


When it comes to controversies, Milken’s involvement in the 1980’s insider trading scandal is notable.

He pleaded guilty to violating securities and reporting laws, leading to a 10-year ban from the finance industry and serving 22 months in prison.

However, he has since been pardoned by President Donald Trump, and his reputation has been somewhat redeemed through his philanthropic efforts.

He also faced criticism for receiving a high salary while serving his prison sentence, as well as various lawsuits and investigations related to his business activities.

Overall, Milken has encountered criticism in the past, but he has attempted to redeem himself through his philanthropic endeavors and good impact on society.

Charles Eames

Hey, My name is Charles Eames, I am a designer, filmmaker, and lover of photographic arts. And I usually write about movies, Famous/Influential People. I am running this blog with my girlfriend Bernice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram