• Former hedge-fund manager George Soros is the 178th-richest person on the planet, with a net worth of approximately $8.3 billion, according to Forbes.
  • Soros is well known for his philanthropy, having given away more than $32 billion, according to his personal website.
  • He has purchased a sprawling network of homes in the New York area, including a Southhampton estate and an Upper East Side townhouse.
  • The billionaire spends big on causes he believes in, including politics.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Conspiracy theorists accuse former hedge-fund manager George Soros of aiding Nazis, conspiring to fill Budapest with refugees, and trying to start a Civil War in the United States. While these theories lack support, little is actually known about how the 88-year-old billionaire passes his days.

Soros built his fortune running what was once the world’s largest hedge fund – Quantum Fund. After he passed his hedge fund to his sons in 2011, Soros has largely focused his personal goal of creating a more open society through giving to both his personal foundation and a variety of progressive politicians, according to his personal website.

Keep reading to see how George Soros built his fortune, how he spends it – and why.

Soros was born as Gyorgy Schwartz into a Jewish family in Budapest on August 12, 1930. They later changed their surname to Soros.

Foto: sourceAP Photo/James A. Mills

Source: Bloomberg

Soros and his family stayed in Budapest through the city's Nazi occupation from 1944–1945, using fake IDs to hide their Jewish heritage. "Instead of submitting to our fate, we resisted an evil force that was much stronger than we were — yet we prevailed. Not only did we survive, but we managed to help others,” Soros is quoted as saying on his personal website.

Foto: sourceAP Photo/Vincent Yu

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

Soros' family fled Hungary for London as the Soviets swept the country in 1947. In London, he worked part-time as a waiter in a night club and as a railroad porter.

Foto: sourceSovfoto/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

He later enrolled in the London School of Economics, graduating in 1954.

Foto: sourceWikimedia Commons / Mulloom2

Source: GeorgeSoros.com,Bloomberg

Soros moved to New York in 1956, and got a job trading foreign stocks for F. M. Mayer.

Foto: sourceAP Photo/Lindsay

Source: Bloomberg

Soros founded Quantum Fund in 1973. Quantum would later become the largest hedge fund in the world.

Foto: Soros and Stanley Druckenmiller, the former manager of the Quantum Fund, speak at a press conference in New York in 2000.sourceReuters Pictures Archive

Source: Bloomberg

Quantum's success made Soros a billionaire. His net worth is now $8.3 billion, according to Forbes.

Foto: sourceGetty Images / ChinaFotoPress

Source: Forbes

“My success in the financial markets has given me a greater degree of independence than most other people,” Soros said.

Foto: sourceSergei Guneyev/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

He retired from managing money for clients in 2011 and passed control of his firm to his sons.

Foto: sourceRalph Orlowski/Reuters

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Washington Post

Soros returned $1 billion to his investors and established a family office to manage his family's fortune and the assets of his foundation.

Foto: sourceAP Images

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Soros has been married three times, first to Annaliese Witschak from 1960 to 1983 and later to historian Susan Weber from 1983 to 2005. Soros married his current wife, Tamiko Bolton, in 2013.

Foto: George Soros and Tamiko Bolton.sourceGetty Images / Sean Gallup / Staff

Source: Biography.com

Soros has five children, although none with Bolton.

Foto: Soros's son, CEO of JS Capital Management Jonathan Soros (left), holds a picture of Albert Einstien with David Miliband and Soros in 2013.sourceREUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Source: Bloomberg, The New York Times

The Soros family has several homes, including the Southampton estate where the billionaire hosted his 80th birthday party in 2010.

Foto: Shinnecock Inlet, Southampton. Soros' estate not pictured.sourceGetty Images / Thinkstock

Source: The New York Post

Read more: Meet The Fabulously Rich And Famous Residents Of Southampton

He's also a longtime Manhattan resident. He once owned 116 East 70th St., a lavish Upper East Side townhouse, with his ex-wife Susan Weber.

Foto: sourceGoogle Street View

Source: Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Curbed

He now owns a duplex on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue that has a view of the Central Park reservoir.

Foto: sourceREUTERS/John Schults

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros also owns a residential compound in Katonah, New York.

Foto: sourceWABC 7 via AP

Source: AP

A pipe bomb was sent to that home on October 23, 2018.

Foto: The gate to George Soros's residential compound in the New York City suburb of Katonah, N.Y.sourceASSOCIATED PRESS

Source: AP

The bomb was later detonated by authorities in a secluded area. Prominent Democrats including Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, George Soros, former President Barack Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Former US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were also sent bombs. No one was hurt.

Foto: From left to right, starting from the top: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, George Soros, former President Barack Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Former US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.sourceREUTERS

Source: The New York Times

Soros is often vilified by conservatives for his large contributions to liberal politicians in the United States, Hungary, Russia and elsewhere.

Foto: sourceAP Photo/Francois Mori

Source: The Chicago Tribune

He identifies as an agnostic Jew.

Foto: sourceMark Wilson/Getty Images

Source: Chicago Tribune

Much of the criticism of Soros by media and political figures is anti-Semitic.

Foto: sourceYunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Al Jazeera

Soros was featured in ads sponsored by the far-right Hungarian government accusing him of colluding to bring Muslim immigrants into Hungary. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban campaigned on a promise to pass a "Stop Soros" bill aimed at silencing his critics, including Soros.

Foto: sourceAP Photo/Pablo Gorondi

Source: AP, The Chicago Tribune

Closer to home, conspiracy theorists have accused Soros of attempting to start a civil war in the US and funding the violence at the 2017 "Unite the Right" protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Foto: sourceREUTERS/Jason Reed

Source: Al Jazeera

Soros is also often accused of collaborating with Nazis during the Holocaust. Comedian Roseanne Barr repeated this conspiracy theory on Twitter in 2018 in one of a series of tweets that resulted in the cancellation of her ABC sitcom.

Foto: sourceABC

Source: Al Jazeera

In response, Soros said that such allegations "annoy me greatly." He also said that they are "a total fabrication."

Foto: sourceMiguel Villagran/Getty Images

Source: Chicago Tribune

"The bigger the danger, the bigger the threat, the more I feel engaged to confront it," Soros said.

Foto: sourceNikolai Malyshev/ITAR-TASS

Source: Chicago Tribune

The controversy around Soros isn't limited to conspiracy theories, however. Soros is sometimes called "the man who broke the Bank of England," after he made $1 billion betting against the British pound as it crashed on "Black Wednesday" in 1992.

Foto: sourceAP

Source: Forbes

Soros has said that his opponents fuel him to fight for what he believes in: "I'm painfully aware that they are against the ideas that I stand for."

Foto: sourceAP Photo Manuel Balce Ceneta

Source: The Chicago Tribune

The billionaire spends big on causes he believes in, including politics. He spent at least $25 million on voter mobilization efforts to help Clinton and other Democrats during the 2016 elections, one of his spokespeople told the Chicago Tribune.

Foto: Soros and Hilary Clinton speak with Dr. Guy Theodore in Haiti in 1998.sourceAP Photo/Roberto Borea

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Soros was surprised by Clinton's defeat. "Apparently, I was living in my own bubble," he told The Washington Post.

Foto: sourceAndy Kiersz/Skye Gould/Business Insider

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Clinton lost because "she was too much like a schoolmarm," Soros said. "Talking down to people... instead of listening to them."

Foto: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) greets Anastasia Somoza (R) before speaking at a campaign event at Frontline Outreach and Youth Center on September 21, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida.sourceJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros also unsuccessfully supported several candidates during the 2018 midterm elections, despite donating $17 million. Several district attorney candidates he supported in California lost to incumbents.

Foto: sourceJessica McGowan/Getty Images

Source: The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian

Soros has also referred to President Trump as a "narcissist" who "considers himself all-powerful."

Foto: sourceDennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx via AP

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros said he and Trump had been friendly "decades" before Trump took office. The pair spent time together at the home of a mutual friend.

Foto: sourcePopow/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Source: Chicago Tribune

"I had no idea he had political ambitions, but I didn't like his behavior as a businessman," Soros is quoted as saying in June 2018 Chicago Tribune article.

Foto: sourceAssociated Press

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros hasn't publicly announced who he will support in 2020, but has said who he won't back: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Foto: Kirsten Gillibrand is one of numerous Democrats running for President in the 2020 election.sourceAP Photo/Charles Krupa

Source: Chicago Tribune

Soros takes issue with Gillibrand's calls for the resignation of former Sen. Al Franken.

Foto: sourceAndrew Harnik/Associated Press

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Soros has not always been liberal, however. He supported Republican candidates until the invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush in 2003 turned him against the party.

Foto: An American soldier runs for cover during a military operation in Tal Afar, Iraq in September 2005.sourceAP Photo/MNFI, U.S. Navy, Alan D. Monyelle

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Soros doesn't just give money to politicians. He is the founder and chair of Open Society Foundations, a non-profit that disperses grants for education, human rights, criminal justice, and journalism projects.

Foto: sourceMario Tama/Getty Images

Source: Open Society Foundations

Soros first became active in philanthropy in 1979, when he funded scholarships for black South Africans during apartheid.

Foto: George SorossourceAP Images

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

Soros has donated more than $32 billion of his own money to his foundation, according to his personal website.

Foto: sourcePopperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

Soros named the foundation after a book by Karl Popper, titled "Open Society and Its Enemies." In it, Popper writes how societies succeed only when they are democratic and protect human rights.

Foto: Philosopher Sir Karl Poper.sourceGetty Images / David Levenson / Contributor

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

In Hungary, the attacks on Soros are so vicious that the foundation announced that it would relocate from Budapest to Berlin in May 2019. "The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union," Open Society Foundations president Patrick Gaspard said in a statement.

Foto: sourceREUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Source: Al Jazeera

Central European University, a graduate school founded by Soros, also plans to relocate from Budapest to Vienna due to tensions with the Hungarian government.

Foto: sourceATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images

Source: Central European University

"It makes it very difficult for me to speak effectively because it can be taken out of context and used against me," Soros said about the conspiracy theories, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Foto: sourceROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Source: Chicago Tribune

Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed Soros' foundation out of Russia in 2017, where it had funded numerous projects, including an anti-torture program.

Foto: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow.sourceReuters

Source: Chicago Tribune

"He intervenes in things all over the world," Putin said of Soros in a 2018 television interview in Austria. "But the State Department will tell you that it has nothing to do with that, that this is the personal business of Mr. Soros."

Foto: sourceReuters

Source: Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg

Outside of his philanthropic work, Soros has also written 14 books on a variety of topics, including the European Union and the global financial crisis.

Foto: sourceGetty Images / Andia / Contributor

Source: GeorgeSoros.com

At his 80th birthday party, Soros told his 350 guests: "I am a philanthropist. Some maybe think I’m a philanderer. My philosophy is very simple. I like to make a lot of money, so I can give away a lot of money.”

Foto: sourceREUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Source: The New York Post