Power Players

These sisters were the world's youngest billionaires before Kylie Jenner—but they still drove second-hand cars

Sisters Alexandra (left) and Katharina Andresen each own 42.2% of their family business, the multibillion-dollar investment company Ferd.
Source: Frédéric Boudin | Ferd

It's hard to imagine becoming a billionaire as a teenager, but that was the reality for a Norwegian heiress who inherited a fortune that's currently estimated at $1.4 billion, well before her 20th birthday.

Alexandra Andresen, who is now 23, first appeared on Forbes' billionaires list in 2016, when she was just 19. Forbes declared her "the youngest billionaire in the world" at the time, though reality TV star Kylie Jenner and her growing cosmetics empire have since taken that title, according to Forbes. But while Jenner famously flaunts her collection of luxury vehicles (including two Range Rovers and a Rolls Royce), Alexandra and her sister, Katharina, 24, who also inherited her own billion-dollar fortune in her teens, reportedly have more modest guidelines when it comes to choosing a car.

Katharina said in 2016 that their parents taught the sisters not to live too extravagantly, especially when it comes to their vehicles.

"Dad has a rule that we can buy a nice car, but it must be second hand," Katharina said of her father, Johan Andresen Jr. He runs the family business, investment company Ferd, which is one of the largest private companies in Norway, according to The Telegraph. As such, in 2016, Katharina was driving a used Audi she'd bought as a replacement for a Volkswagen Golf previously driven by her grandmother. (Though Katharina was reportedly fined $30,000 for drunk driving in an Audi Q3 in Norway in 2017 and apologized for her mistake.)

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Meanwhile, Alexandra has said she actively looks to save her money despite the fact that she possesses more wealth than nearly anyone her age.

"I actually save all the time, I have always done," Alexandra said in a 2014 interview with a corporate magazine published by Ferd. "I save when I get my weekly allowance, and I save the cash prizes I win in competitions or if I get money as a gift for my birthday. It means I can buy myself things I really want, like a bag or a pair of shoes, without having to ask mum or dad for money."

While she admitted that money "is a necessity," Alexandra also said in that interview that she doesn't want money to be "something I need to use in abundance." Alexandra noted that her family's wealth, and in recent years, her own, has afforded her many opportunities, including supporting her career as a professional dressage horse rider. "It costs money to ride a horse," she told the Ferd corporate magazine.

And while the sisters have maintained that their parents taught them not to flaunt their wealth too much, they still manage to enjoy their billionaire status, as evidenced by their social media profiles that show the two sisters enjoying Mediterranean vacations or flaunting luxury clothing (like a Louis Vuitton purse), and engaging in activities like horseback riding, skydiving and yachting.

Today, Alexandra Andresen is a professional equestrian who has won multiple international dressage awards and is sponsored by equestrian brands Kingsland and Samshield.

Meanwhile, Katharina is reportedly the more likely of the two to follow in their father's footsteps running the family business, though their father has said he's intent on not forcing his daughters to be involved. ("I'll give them the opportunity to choose as people and not as pre-programmed robots," Johan Andresen told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten in 2016.) Katharina reportedly studied social sciences at the Amsterdam University College and interned with Ernst & Young, and she currently works as a marketing coordinator at Norwegian sporting goods company Brav, which is owned by her family's investment company.

Called Ferd, the family business is an investment company that owns hedge funds along with an array of private equity holdings and real estate assets. The Andresen family previously made its money as one of Scandinavia's leading cigarette manufacturers, dating back to 1849, but the family sold its tobacco interests in 2005 for almost $500 million.

The Andresen sisters each own 42.2% stakes of Ferd, while their father still runs the company. Their stakes in Ferd became public knowledge when they each turned 17 years old, as Norwegian tax authorities publish tax return figures for citizens once they reach legal age. (Katharina said she received hundreds of new Facebook friend requests when her personal wealth became public knowledge in her teens, according to Forbes.) In 2016, Forbes wrote that the Andresen family likely saw some tax benefits by handing down large amounts of wealth to their daughters at a young age, based on wealth tax laws in Norway.

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Sisters Alexandra (left) and Katharina Andresen each own 42.2% of their family business, the multibillion-dollar investment company Ferd.
Source: Frédéric Boudin | Ferd
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