Colombian born singer-songwriter Shakira didn't have an easy path to the top as her first few albums didn't attain much commercial success. However, by pressing on she slowly rose in prominence in Latin America. She really broke out when she entered the English-language market with her fifth album, Laundry Service, featuring "Whatever, Whatever," which became the best-selling single of 2002.

Shakira was no one-hit wonder either as she has now sold more than 125 million albums worldwide making her the second best-selling Latin singer of all time behind only Gloria Estefan. That commercial success has enriched Shakira as her net worth is an estimated $220 million. However, as rich as she has become she hasn't forgotten her roots as she continues to use her wealth to enrich the lives of those in her home country.

Stacks and stacks of $100 bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

How Shakira made her millions
As a singer, song-writer, producer, celebrity, coach, and entrepreneur, Shakira has enjoyed the benefits of earning multiple income streams over her career. For example, throughout her career she has earned around a dollar for every album sold, which alone adds up to more than $100 million in lifetime earnings. In addition to that she earns a lot of money performing concerts having signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with concert company Live Nation (NYSE:LYV) in 2008. However, even prior to that deal she earned well over $150 million from earlier tours. More recently, she has taken her talent to TV staring in The Voice, where she earned an estimated $12 million in 2013 on the show.

Clearly, Shakira has earned a lot of money in her lifetime, however, her net worth is much lower than the entertainment income she has generated. Not only has she had expenses associated with that income including taxes, but she has not been shy in spending her wealth. She has several pricey homes, which actually count toward her net worth, as well as a pricey Mercedes Benz car collection, which is a drag on her net worth due to the fact that cars depreciate in value.

Shakira the philanthropist
All that being said, while Shakira's career has enriched her life, she has made it a point to enrich the lives of those less fortunate. Not only does she support several charities, but at the age of 18 she founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation (Barefoot Foundation), which raises money to build schools for children in her home country of Colombia as well as providing early education systems. Currently the organization has five schools in the country that provide education and meals to 4,000 children.

Shakira isn't content to stop there as last year she announced a global partnership with Mattel's (NASDAQ:MAT) Fisher-Price brand to develop a 12-part Web series and new line of toys. Her compensation from the deal will be donated directly to her Barefoot Foundation to benefit early childhood development programs in Latin America. Further, she's secured Fisher-Price as a sponsor for her foundation. It's actions like these that will enable her foundation to future expand its reach.  

Shakira's entertainment career has enriched her life more than just monetarily. That's due in large part to the fact that early on in her career she sought to give back to those less fortunate. Because of that she has created an organization that's overseeing the well-being of more than 4,000 children in her home country, which undoubtedly brings more richness to her life than having all that money in the bank. It's a reminder to the rest of us that true richness is more than just a dollar figure in a bank account.