According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, the world's 500 richest people grew their fortunes by 25% in 2019. Further, the combined net worth of the world's 2,816 billionaires totals $11.2 trillion. That's more than the total GDP of almost every single country in the world, except for the U.S. and China. Those numbers are absolutely staggering. What's even more impressive is the fact that most of the world's top 10 wealthiest people are entirely self-made. That means they didn't inherit their fortunes, but instead either founded major companies or made some incredibly wise investment decisions.
The owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers was the CEO of Microsoft from 2000-2014. Ballmer started with Microsoft in 1980, after attending Harvard with the company's co-founder Bill Gates and subsequently dropping out of Stanford's MBA program. His net worth is reportedly between $52.2-58.8 billion. Shortly after retiring, Ballmer purchased the Clippers for $2 billion. Fun fact: The late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen also owned an NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers.
Along with Larry Page, Sergey Brin created Google in a garage in California in 1998. In 2015, Brin and Page created another company, Alphabet, to serve as a "parent company" to Google as part of a corporate restructuring. Brin served as Alphabet's president until December 2019, when he stepped down to simplify the company's management structure. He still remains actively involved on the board and has a net worth of $53.8-59.6 billion.
It makes perfect sense that Larry Page would be right next to Google's other founder, Sergey Brin, on a list of the world's ten richest people. Like Brin, Page stepped down from his role as CEO of Alphabet in December 2019. Google is undoubtedly one of the most successful companies in the world, having originally started as a search engine but since expanding into innovative technology initiatives including self-driving cars. Page's net worth is $55.8-61.9 billion.
Mexican businessman and investor Carlos Slim Helú, commonly called Carlos Slim, owns the conglomerate Grupo Carso. Through the conglomerate, Slim owns substantial shares in a wide range of companies and brands, including real estate, energy, media, and healthcare. Slim has an estimated net worth of $54.4-64.1 billion. He was previously named the richest person in the world by Forbes magazine for four consecutive years, from 2010 to 2013.
Spanish businessmen Amancio Ortega founded the Inditex fashion group, best known for owning clothing retail brand Zara. Ortega and his wife opened the first Zara store in Galicia, Spain, in 1975 and today it's one of the most valuable retail companies in the world. In 2015, Ortega was briefly the wealthiest person in the entire world when Inditex stocks soared. His net worth is reportedly between $57.5-77.9 billion.
Facebook was famously started in Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room at Harvard back in 2004. It has become the world's most valuable social media company. In 2008, Zuckerberg was named the youngest-ever self-made billionaire at twenty-three years old. He was dethroned by 21-year-old Kylie Jenner in 2019. Today, Zuck's net worth is reported to be between $55.6-77.7 billion and he still serves as Facebook's CEO, chairman, and largest controlling shareholder.
Iconic American entrepreneur Warren Buffett is widely considered to be one of the most successful investors in history. Buffett is the CEO of conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway, which owns several large companies including Duracell, GEICO, Fruit of the Loom, and Helzberg Diamonds. Although Buffett has a net worth of between $73.-89.9 billion, he still lives in the same Omaha home he bought for $31,500 in 1958—long before he was a billionaire.
The wealthiest person in Europe and one of the wealthiest in the world is Bernard Arnault, CEO and chairman of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey. Arnault has been at the helm since 1989 and has helped turn the company into the largest manufacturer of luxury goods in the world. With an estimated net worth of $84.5-112 billion, Arnault was briefly the richest person in the entire world in late 2019.
In 1975, Bill Gates founded Microsoft with his childhood friend, Paul Allen. Gates dropped out of Harvard to focus on the software company and by 1978, it had made $1 million. Gates has been the world's richest person in several different years and today has a net worth of $100-108.8 billion. He is well-known for his philanthropic efforts. In fact, Gates stepped down from Microsoft in 2020 after 45 years in order to focus his efforts on climate change initiatives.
It's no surprise that the world's wealthiest person is the founder of one of the largest and most successful companies in the world: Amazon. Jeff Bezos started the company in 1995 in his garage, originally as an online bookstore. Today, Amazon is one of the most valuable companies on Earth and has made Bezos the richest man on Earth. His net worth is valued at $111.7-117.5 billion. Bezos is also the first man to ever reach a $100 billion net worth.
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