Believe it or not, we live in a world where the rich are getting richer and the poor even poorer.
As per Forbes magazine at least 87 billionaires mentioned in Forbes 2021 list – ‘vanished’ in the 2022 list of richest people on the planet earth due to war, pandemic, recession, and slump in the stock markets, but 40% of those who remained have become richer than before. Today there are around 2,668 billionaires’ on planet earth — collectively worth over $12.7 trillion.
Around 236 newcomers —including first-timers from Barbados, Bulgaria, Estonia, and Uruguay joined the Forbes list of richest people this year. America with 735 billionaires collectively worth $4.7 trillion leads the list followed by China with 607 billionaires (including Macau and Hong Kong) collectively worth $2.3 trillion retaining the number two position.
Here is the latest list of the richest persons in the world based on their net worth (calculated on the basis of stock prices and exchange rates on March 11, 2022) and financial performance.
1. Elon Musk – co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Net worth: $219 billion
In January 2021, Elon Reeve Musk the co-founder of Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company became the richest person in the world (a title he’s held since). Today, Musk is the wealthiest person in the world according to both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and the Forbes real-time billionaires list. Musk was first listed on the Forbes Billionaires List in 2012, with a net worth of $2 billion. Musk had a net worth of $27 billion in 2020 which spiraled upwards so fast (by $150 billion) that by the end of the year he overtook Mark Zuckerberg (the third-richest person in the world), Bill Gates (the second-richest) and Jeff Bezos (the then richest person in the world). Today, Musk does not receive a salary from Tesla but still, he derives around three-quarters of his wealth from Tesla because of a compensation plan that ties his personal earnings to Tesla’s valuation and revenue. As per the deal, Musk receives his compensation only if Tesla’s stock reaches a certain market value. It was the largest such deal — between a CEO and board.
In September 2021, Musk overtook Bezos to become the richest person in the world – and the third ever to be worth at least $200 billion. Time magazine featured Elon Musk as its Person of the Year in 2021. It is also a fact that the 51-year-old zillionaire does not own a house.
2. Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon, Net worth: $171 billion
Jeff Bezos founded e-commerce giant Amazon in 1994 out of his garage in Seattle. Way back in 1994, Bezos was a senior vice president at D.E. Shaw & Co., a Wall Street-based hedge fund firm when the idea behind Amazon (to sell books on the internet) came up in his mind. He was quite excited when he first suggested it to his boss and founder of the company, David Shaw who discouraged him. Jeff Bezos ignored his advice and decided to go ahead. Named after the South American river — the biggest river in the world, Amazon sold its first book in July 1995. The vision behind it was simply to be the biggest bookstore in the world. Today Amazon is a roaring success and a global eCommerce giant selling not just books but everything under the sun. Jeff Bezos is today the second richest person on the earth after divorcing his wife MacKenzie after 25 years of marriage in 2019 and transferring a quarter of his stake in Amazon to her. Bezos also owns The Washington Post and Blue Origin, an aerospace company developing rockets.
3. Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, Net worth: $158 billion
French business magnate, investor, and art collector Bernard Arnault is the third-richest person on the earth and the richest person in Europe according to Forbes as of March 2022. Bernard Arnault’s business empire –LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company includes some 70 fashion and cosmetics brands, including Louis Vuitton leather goods, TAG Heuer watches, Dom Perignon champagne, the DFS group (the world’s biggest duty-free chain), Hennessey, Marc Jacobs, and Sephora. LVMH spent $3.2 billion in 2019 to acquire luxury hospitality group Belmond, which owns or manages 46 hotels, trains, and river cruises. In January 2021, LVMH acquired American jeweler Tiffany & Co for $15.8 billion– the biggest luxury brand acquisition ever.
Most of Arnault’s wealth comes from his stake in Christian Dior SE, the holding company that controls 41.3% of LVMH. His shares in Christian Dior SE, plus an additional 6.2% in LVMH, are held through his family-owned holding company, Groupe Familial Arnault.
“Pope of Fashion,” Bernard Arnault is known to be a major patron of art in France. His collection includes pieces by Picasso, Yves Klein, Henry Moore, and Andy Warhol. In 2007 Arnault was named Commander of the Legion of Honour, one of France’s highest distinctions.
4. Bill Gates – founder of Microsoft, Net worth: $129 billion
American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University in 1975 to found Microsoft along with his late childhood friend Paul Allen and transformed it into the world’s largest personal computer software company. Gates served as CEO, chairman, and chief software architect of the company until stepping down as CEO in January 2000. Bill Gates eventually sold away much of his stakes in the company retaining just 1% of the shares and investing the rest in stocks and other assets. But apart from Microsoft, Gates holds shares in other companies like TerraPower (nuclear reactor design company), Coca-Cola, Canadian National Railway, AutoNation, Berkshire Hathaway, Deere & Co., Four Seasons hotels (in Houston, Atlanta, and Mexico), Strategic Hotels and Resorts, Branded Entertainment Network – an advertising company, and ResearchGate. This is besides Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — the world’s largest private charitable foundation.
5. Warren Buffet – Berkshire Hathaway, Net worth: $118 billion
Warren Buffet bought his first stock at the age of 11 and filed his first income tax return at the age of 14. At the age of 90 today he is one of the most successful investors of all time who owns over 60 companies including Berkshire Hathaway, Geico insurance, Duracell, Dairy Queen Restaurant, Disney, Gillette, and the Washington Post Company.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska Warren Edward Buffett has a net worth of over $125 billion as of April 2022, making him the world’s fifth-wealthiest person.
Popularly known as the Oracle or “Sage” of Omaha, Buffett has built his fortune by acquiring undervalued companies in insurance, energy distribution, and railroads as well as the consumer product segment. He is noted for his ethical values and frugality despite his immense wealth. Before investing in a company, he reads all of its annual reports – as many as he can to know how the company progressed and what strategy it followed. His penchant for long-term investments is reflected in his maxim: “You should invest in a business that even a fool can run because someday a fool will.”
Buffett has promised to donate over 99% of his wealth to the Gates Foundation and his kids’ foundations. He founded The Giving Pledge with Bill Gates– a platform where billionaires pledge to give away at least half of their fortunes to fund charitable causes
6. Larry Page – co-founder of Google, Net worth: $111 billion
Lawrence Edward Page a.k.a. Larry Page developed a fascination for computers from his father, Dr. Carl Victor Page – a professor of computer science and artificial intelligence at Michigan State University, and his mother, Gloria, also taught computer programming.
is one of the founders of Google, along with Sergey Brin while doing their graduation from Stanford. They called their expanded search engine Google. The domain google.com was registered on September 15, 1997, and formally incorporated as a company called Google—a name derived from a misspelling of the word googol –a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros—on September 4, 1998, from a friend’s garage in California. There was no looking back since then as within a year Google received $25 million of venture capital funding and was processing 500,000 queries per day.
Strange though it may sound, it is a fact that within three years of starting Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin received a million-dollar offer from Yahoo. They were both tempted to accept the offer but changed their mind and turned down the offer. Today Google can buy Yahoo a hundred times.
7. Sergey Brin – co-founder of Google, Net worth: $107 billion
Sergey Mikhailovich Brin or Sergey Brin co-founded Google along with Larry Page in 1998 which went public in 2004 and became Alphabet in 2015. His father retired as a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, while his mother worked as a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Brin’s family migrated from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1979 where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Maryland. After graduation, he enrolled for Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University where he met Lary Page with whom he built a web search engine. The rest is history as the program became so popular and they suspended their Ph.D. studies to start Google from a friend Susan Wojcicki’s garage in Menlo Park, California.
In 2004, he and Page were named “Persons of the Week” by ABC World News Tonight. In January 2005, he was nominated to be one of the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leaders”. In November 2009, Forbes named Brin and Page the fifth most powerful people in the world.
8. Larry Ellison – co-founder of Oracle, Net worth: $106 billion
A dropout from the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago Larry Ellison co-founded Oracle Corporation in 1977 and successfully led the company from a start-up with just three programmers to the largest software database supplier and the second-largest supplier of business applications in the world.
Ellison conceived of the idea to start Oracle while reading an IBM research paper on a new way of organizing and using a large volume of data. Although IBM was yet to take it seriously, Ellison realized the enormous potential of relational databases and roped in his former colleagues, Bob Miner and Ed Oates, to start Software Development Laboratories in 1977– which later came to be called Oracle. Over the next two years, Ellison and his team built the first commercial structured query language (SQL) — a standardized programming language to manage a large volume of data
He quit as the CEO of the company in 2014 and since then he functions as the chairman of the board and chief technology advisor of the company. Under his leadership, Oracle has grown into a mammoth firm that employs over 135,000 people and boasted annual revenues of $40 billion in 2021.
The Wall Street Journal called Ellison the world’s highest-paid executive in 2000, with total compensation of $1.84 billion. In addition to owning more than 40% share in Oracle, Ellison owns stakes in Tesla, NetSuite, and Leapfrog Enterprises. Ellison has also been on the board of Tesla since December 2018 after he purchased 3 million shares earlier that year.
Known for his extravagant spending Ellison owns practically the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai, in Malibu, and a luxury yacht worth $194 million.
9. Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, Net worth: $91.4 billion
After briefly trying to write screenplays in Hollywood, Steven Anthony Ballmer a.k.a. Steve Ballmer dropped out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was pursuing an MBA program to join Microsoft on June 11, 1980. He was Microsoft’s 30th employee and the first business manager hired by Bill Gates, a friend from Harvard who had dropped out of school to start Microsoft. Over the next two decades, Ballmer held various posts as Microsoft grew into one of the most powerful and profitable companies in American history and became the second CEO of Microsoft Corporation (2000–14) after Gates stepped down to become chairman. Over time Ballmer became more prominent as the public face of Microsoft after Gates started focusing more and more on his philanthropic interests and withdrew from day to day running of the Company.
Ballmer drew a salary of $50,000 as well as a 5-10% stake in the company. When Microsoft was incorporated in 1981, Ballmer owned 8% of the company. In 2003, Ballmer sold 39.3 million Microsoft shares equating to approximately $955 million, thereby reducing his ownership to 4%. In this manner, Ballmer became the second person after Roberto Goizueta to become a billionaire based on stock options received as an employee in a corporation in which he was neither the founder nor relative of a founder.
In 2014 Ballmer retired from Microsoft and was succeeded by Satya Nadella. He was awarded the Legion of Honour – the highest French order of merit, both military and civil established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.
10. Mukesh Ambani, Net worth: $90.7 billion
A Stanford dropout, Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani the chairman, and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) with interests in petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecom, and retail — is the richest person in Asia and the 10th richest person in the world.
Mukesh Ambani was born on 19 April 1957 into the lower-middle-class Gujarati family of Dhirubhai — a gas station attendant and Kokilaben Ambani in present-day Yemen. A year later his father decided to move back to India in 1958 to start a trading business of spices and textiles which was originally named “Vimal” but later changed to “Only Vimal”. His family lived in a modest two-bedroom apartment in Mumbai until the 1970s.
After completing his BE in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mukesh Ambani enrolled for an MBA at Stanford University but left it midway in 1980 to help his father build Reliance, which at the time was still a small but fast-growing enterprise. Even though his father Dhirubhai Ambani was the ‘boss’ Mukesh Ambani had to report daily to Rasikbhai Meswani an executive director in the company.
Today Mukesh Ambani resides at the Antilia building- one of the world’s most expensive 27-story private residence worth over $1 billion.
11. Gautam Adani, promoter of the Adani Group, Net worth: $90 billion
Gautam Adani the promoter of the Adani Group — a multinational conglomerate dealing in port development, aerospace, energy, logistics, agriculture, and other sectors is the second-richest billionaire in Asia.
Son of Shantilal Adani a small-time textile merchant, Gautam Adani enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in commerce at Gujarat University, but dropped out after the second year and moved to Mumbai to find a fortune at the age of 18 with only a few hundred rupees in his pocket. In Mumbai, Adani found himself a job and started working as a diamond sorter before starting his own diamond brokerage business at Zaveri Bazaar a popular jewelry market.
In 1981, his elder brother Mahasukhbhai Adani bought a plastics unit in Ahmedabad and invited him to run it profitably. This proved to be a turning point in his life and introduced him to the global trading market through polyvinyl chloride (PVC) imports. The economic liberalization in 1988 helped Adani establish the Adani Group and there was no looking back.
As things stand Adani Group is the largest port operator in India – controlling Mundra Port – the largest private sector port in India, with the capacity of handling close to 210 million tons of cargo per annum. Adani Power is the largest private thermal power producer in the country with a capacity of 4620MW thermal power. In 2006, Adani entered the power generation business and soon acquired Abbot Point Port in Australia and Carmichael coal mine in Queensland. In September 2020, Adani acquired a 74% stake in Mumbai International Airport, India’s second busiest after Delhi. Fortune marketed by the Adani Group is the largest selling edible oil brand in India with a 22% market share.
Today Gautam Adani owns 2 private jets– a Beechcraft jet purchased in 2005 and Hawker purchased in 2008. Adani defines his long-term vision and corporate ethos as– “Growth with Goodness”. In other words “Growth is incomplete without goodness. From building assets of national relevance to transforming lives through self-reliance and sustainability, our vision is balancing growth with goodness.”
12. Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P., Net worth: $82 billion
“Being an entrepreneur isn’t really about starting a business. It’s a way of looking at the world: seeing opportunity where others see obstacles, taking risks when others take refuge.” – Michael Bloomberg. One of the richest self-made billionaires Michael Bloomberg served as mayor of New York City for 12 years from 2001 to 2013. He is one of just four individuals to serve that long.
Born in Boston Massachusetts on February 14, 1942, Michael Bloomberg enrolled for a degree in electrical engineering from the John Hopkins University and joined Harvard Business School for a master’s degree in business administration. After graduating from college in 1966, he took a job at Salomón Brothers – a Wall Street investment bank, and moving up the hierarchy eventually became a partner is 1973. In 1981 the bank was purchased by Phibro Corporation, but he was fired and received a $10 million severance package.
Using the money, he started ‘Innovative Market Systems’ his own financial data service firm, and roped in Merrill Lynch — the wealth management division of Bank of America as a customer. The venture came to be called Bloomberg L.P. in 1987. This was soon followed up by Bloomberg Message and Bloomberg News which also turned out to be huge success stories. Soon Bloomberg went on to pursue a political career and was elected Mayor of New York in 2002, 2005, and 2009.
As Michael Bloomberg himself said, “Entrepreneurship is having an idea to do something great and not entirely have a plan on how to do it but the drive and willpower to make it work.”
In 2014 he was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE).
13. Carlos Slim Helu, Founder, Grupo Carso, Net worth: $81.2 billion
Mexican business magnate and investor Carlos Slim is the richest person in Latin America and owns well over 200 businesses worldwide. Slim Helu’s father Khalil Salim Haddad Aglamaz, migrated from Lebanon to Mexico in the early 20th century. This is where earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico before venturing into a wide variety of retail and real estate businesses.
Slim started young and learned a number of tricks of the trade from his father who paid him 200 pesos a week for helping in his business. He was 11 when he invested in a government savings bond, purchase his first stock at 12, and became a shareholder in Mexico’s largest bank by 15. He derives his fortune from his extensive holdings through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso in education, health care, industrial manufacturing, transportation, real estate, media, energy, hospitality, entertainment, high-technology, retail, sports, and financial services sector. He accounts for 40% of the listings on the Mexican Stock Exchange. His net worth is equivalent to about 6 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product.
The 82-year-old Mexican billionaire is the single largest shareholder of The New York Times Company and America Movil, the largest mobile-phone operator in Latin America. One of the main reasons behind Slim’s phenomenon success is that after purchasing the controlling interests in a variety of companies at rock bottom prices, he managed them so well that within a span of a decade each of their aggregate value soared.
However, despite all his wealth Slim hasn’t let his financial success go to his head and continues to lead a simple lifestyle. He doesn’t own any exorbitant yachts or planes and he’s lived in the same house for more than 40 years.
14. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, L’Oréal, Net worth: $90 billion
French businesswoman Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the granddaughter of Eugène Schueller – the founder of L’Oréal Paris and the richest woman in the world for the second year running. She is not only one of the richest people in the world but also the world’s wealthiest female billionaire.
She is the only daughter and heiress of Liliane Bettencourt the majority shareholder of L’Oréal S.A. – the world’s largest cosmetic company. She inherited her mother’s fortunes after her death in 2017. Meyers and her family still own a 33% stake in L’Oréal one of the biggest and most recognizable cosmetics brands in the world.
Meyers is president of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation that she founded along with her mother Liliane and father Andre Bettencourt, a politician. The Foundation aims to contribute to a better French society, promote inclusivity and boost France’s influence in life sciences and arts.
The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation has awarded about 620 laureates and supported more than 1,000 projects of talented individuals, teams, associations, and organizations.
Meyers who has been known to shy away from media attention has written several books on Jewish-Christian relations and Greek mythology.
15. Mark Zuckerberg, Net worth: $67.3 billion
Mark Zuckerberg the son of psychiatrist Karen and dentist Edward Zuckerberg is the co-founder as well as chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder of social media website Facebook and its parent company Meta.
His great-grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Austria, Germany, and Poland. Zuckerberg began using computers and writing software in middle school. In high school, he built a program that allowed all the computers between his house and his father’s dental office to communicate with each other.
Zuckerberg was still studying in Harvard University, when he launched Facebook along with his roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes in February 2004. It was initially meant as a platform for college students but expanded rapidly and eventually reached one billion users by 2012. There was no looking back as Zuckerberg became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at age 23 in 2007.
He now owns about 12% of the company’s stock. In December 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, pledged to give away 99% of their Facebook stake over their lifetimes.
Forbes magazine ranked him among the most powerful people in the world. Even Time magazine listed him among the 100 most influential people in the world and recognized him as the Person of the Year in 2010.