Palm Beach, FL

The richest man in Florida

Matt Lillywhite

Thomas Peterffy is a businessman who lives in Palm Beach, Florida. He's also the richest person in the state, with an estimated net worth exceeding $20 billion, according to Forbes.

After immigrating to the United States from Hungary, Peterffy couldn't speak English for a while. However, he eventually worked as an architectural draughtsman before becoming a computer programmer. He also bought a seat on the American Stock Exchange in 1977 and was instrumental in developing the first electronic trading platform for securities.

"I think the way a CEO runs his company is a reflection of his background, Peterffy said while discussing his background in programming. "Business is a collection of processes, and my job is to automate those processes so that they can be done with the greatest amount of efficiency."

During a 2012 Presidential Election TV advertisement that Thomas paid for, he praised the importance of working hard to achieve the American dream. "America's wealth comes from the efforts of people striving for success. Take away their incentive with badmouthing success, and you take away the wealth that helps us take care of the needy." The ad was reportedly broadcast on CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg.

It's also worth mentioning that Thomas Peterffy owns over 500,000 acres of land, most of which is in his native state of Florida. His Four Rivers Land & Timber Company purchased the land, which is thought to be the largest contiguous piece of undeveloped private property east of the Mississippi River.

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