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At 92, She Defies Age And Wealth Norms: Meet One of America's Wealthiest Self-Made Woman

At 92, Joan Payden, a self-made billionaire, co-founded Payden & Rygel, managing $162B. Her philanthropy leaves a legacy.
04:18 PM Jun 12, 2024 IST | Swechchha
at 92  she defies age and wealth norms  meet one of america s wealthiest self made woman
Joan Payden Billionaire Woman of America

According to Forbes, Joan Payden, a 92-year-old woman, is one of the wealthiest self-made woman of America, with an estimated net worth of $700 million. She was born in Derby, Connecticut in 1931 and spent her teenage years in Indonesia.

Upon returning to the US, Ms. Payden pursued a dual degree in mathematics and physics at Trinity College, graduating in 1953. This was an unusual accomplishment for women during that time.

In the 1950s, Ms. Payden was among the few women in engineering at a New Jersey-based company constructing oil refineries. However, she experienced a layoff, which proved to be a pivotal moment in her career.

Subsequently, Payden transitioned into finance. She then joined Merrill Lynch, an investment management company. "I was hired at a 25% discount because I didn't know the difference between a bond and stock," she candidly admitted to the Los Angeles Times in 1999.

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Over time, Payden's abilities drew notice at Scudder, Stevens & Clark, an investment counseling firm, where she achieved the distinction of being the first female partner. This milestone propelled her towards establishing her firm.

At the age of 52, in 1983, Ms. Payden collaborated with colleague Sandra Rygel to establish Payden & Rygel, specializing in fixed-income and global markets. "There are always concerns. When I established the company, I fretted about acquiring clients. However, that turned out to be no issue," she remarked to the Los Angeles Times at that juncture.

Over the course of more than four decades, the firm has expanded to become one of the nation's largest private money managers, overseeing $162 billion in assets.

She has contributed millions to various causes, including animal welfare and education, leaving a lasting impression on institutions such as Trinity College and universities in Los Angeles.

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