Billionaires play essential roles in shaping the political, social and economic world. Forbes magazine lists the number of billionaires worldwide at 2,755. But only a few — 10 to be exact — currently have more than $100 billion in net worth. Many of them are the founders of technology-related firms, with the bulk of their wealth residing in the businesses they founded.
It is important to note that billionaires may or may not pay taxes on their wealth. Most of their gains haven’t been realized, meaning they haven’t yet sold any stocks or equity, and therefore they haven’t been required to pay tax yet. In addition, while some billionaires have billions of dollars of cash in their accounts, the majority also invest in private assets like real estate, private firms or other public companies.
However, since a large portion of the wealth of the top billionaires is made up of publicly traded equity (or public stock), their wealth will fluctuate from year to year. For instance, Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla and the wealthiest person on earth at the time of his birth on Jan. 19 2022, saw his wealth increase in 2021 because of the rise of Tesla shares (where Elon Musk currently holds 18% of the company)–with the shares of Tesla climbing to 32% by 2021.
Below are the top 10 wealthiest people according to the last update Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This article was updated on Jan. 19, 2022.
- Elon Musk, the wealthiest person on earth with $269 billion, is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Tesla.
- In the background of Musk is the man who founded Amazon, Jeff Bezos, with an estimated net worth of $187 billion.
- Billionaires who saw the most significant gains in their wealth in 2021 included Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault (LVMH Chair and CEO), Google co-founder Larry Page along Francoise and Bettencourt Meyers.
- 8 of the 10 millionaires in Forbes’ top 10 are in the field of technology, and only the LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett are the outliers.
1. Elon Musk
- Age: 50
- Place: Texas
- CEO and co-founder of the company: Tesla
- Net Value: $269 billion
- Tesla Ownership Share: 18% ($186 billion)
- Additional Assets Space Exploration Technologies
($40.3 billion of private assets) and $4 billion in cash
Elon Musk invested in many different businesses throughout his career. While attending Stanford University, Musk deferred his studies to start Zip2, one of the first online navigation services. A big part of the profits from this business was later invested in developing X.com, an online payment system later renamed PayPal. Both of these systems eventually were sold to other companies; Musk has maintained his position as the CEO and chief creator of his third venture, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), which aims to enable space exploration to be more affordable.
In 2004 Musk became a major donor in creating Tesla Motors (now Tesla), which resulted in his retroactive designation as co-founder of the company and to his current role as the CEO of the electric vehicle company. Additionally to its lineup of electric vehicles, which include sedans and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and »Cybertruck, » Tesla also makes batteries for energy storage, automotive accessories, products and, with the help of the purchase of SolarCity in the year 2016 Solar power solutions.
the year 2020, Tesla’s share price soared by nearly 740%, helping propel Musk to the highest place among billionaires. In December of 2020, Tesla joined the S&P 500 in the same month, which is the biggest company to join the index so far.
In 2016, Musk founded two more businesses, Neuralink and The Boring Company, and he was also appointed as chief executive officer of the latter. Neuralink is working on brain-machine interfaces to aid paralysis and allow people to communicate with laptops and computers.
Musk in 2021
Meanwhile, the Boring Company creates boring equipment to drill tunnels to support underground transportation systems to reduce traffic congestion in cities. The company also (briefly) offered the handheld flamethrower.
On the 25th of October. 25 2021, Tesla’s shares Tesla increased by 12.7% and reached the $1 trillion mark in market capitalization following the announcement by car rental company Hertz announced plans to buy 100,000 electric vehicles. This led to Tesla President Elon Musk’s fortune increasing by more than $36 billion in just one day.
Because of the upswing in Tesla shares and the agreement with investors in the fall of 2021 that increased the Value of SpaceX, Musk’s status as the most wealthy human being in the entire world is continuing to grow. At the time of January. 19 2021, Musk’s wealth increased by $72 billion in the past year.
2. Jeff Bezos
- Age: 58
- Residency: Washington
- Executive Chair and Founder: Amazon
- Net Value: $187 billion
- Amazon Ownership Stake:10% ($162 billion)
Additional Assets: Blue Origin ($9.15 billion in private assets), The Washington Post ($250 million in private assets), and $16.1 billion cash.
In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in an abandoned garage in Seattle just a few days after quitting D.E. Shaw, the largest hedge fund. He initially proposed ideas for an online bookshop to his employer David E. Shaw, who wasn’t keen.
While Amazon.com was initially a site for selling books, it has since evolved into a one-stop shop for all things globally and is perhaps the world’s biggest retailer. In any case, it is not difficult to defend its claim to be the « Earth’s most customer-centric company. » The constant changes of its offerings are evident in Whole Foods’ acquisition in 2017 and the launch of its brand of over-the-counter medicines in August. 2017.
In 2020, the price of Amazon’s shares increased dramatically due to the growing interest in online shopping after the lockdowns forced shoppers to stay at home. The shares were up 76% in the year 2020. On the 5th of July 2021, Bezos stepped down as CEO and took on a new job as executive chair.
Bezos initially decided to take Amazon public in 1997. He became the first person ever since Bill Gates in 1999 to attain an estimated net worth that exceeded $100 billion. Bezos’s other ventures include his aerospace business Blue Origin, The Washington Post(which was acquired by him in 2013) as well as the 10,000-year clock, which is also called »the Long Now.
2021, Bezos had his first successful flight with a crew with an altitude of just over 62 miles before safely landing.
3. Bernard Arnault
- Age: 72
- Place of living: Paris, France
- Chair and CEO: LVMH
- Net Value:$164 billion
- Christian Dior Ownership Stake: 97.5% ($137 billion in total)
- Additional Assets Moelis & Company equity ($24.6 billion of public assets), Hermes equity (undisclosed stake) and $11.2 billion of liquid cash
French National Bernard Arnault is the chair and CEO of LVMH, the world’s most prominent luxury goods firm. The company is well known for its brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Hennessey, Marc Jacobs and Sephora.
However, the bulk of his fortune is derived from his significant shareholding within Christian Dior SE, the holding company that owns 41.2% of LVMH. His stake with Christian Dior SE, plus an additional 6.2% of LVMH, is held by the holding firm he owns with his family, Groupe Familial Arnault.
An engineer by profession, his business acumen was made evident while working with his father’s construction firm, Ferret-Savinel, which he was able to control in the year 1971. He later changed Ferret-Savinel into a real estate firm called Ferinel Inc. in 1979.
Arnault was Ferinel’s chair for the next six years until he purchased and reorganized the luxury goods manufacturer Financiere Agache in 1984, ultimately selling all its holdings except for Christian Dior and Le Bon Marche. Arnault was invited to join LVMH in 1987 and was the majority shareholder and chairman of the board and the company’s CEO two years after.
4. Bill Gates
- Age: 66
- Home: Washington
- Co-founder: Microsoft Corp
- Net Value: $133 billion
- Microsoft Ownership stake:1.3% ($31.9 billion)
- Additional AssetsCascade Investment LLC ($60 billion in private and public assets), $56.5 billion in cash
While at Harvard University in 1975, Bill Gates went to work with his childhood friend Paul Allen to develop new software for the first microcomputers. In his senior year, gates dropped out of Harvard and later established Microsoft and Allen.
Microsoft also produces its range of computers for personal use; Microsoft Press provides email services via the Exchange server and offers video game systems and peripheral devices. Bill Gates later transitioned to the chair position in 2008. He was a member of the Berkshire Hathaway board in 2004. He was removed from both boards on March 13th, 2020.
Bill Gates has much of his net worth within Cascade Investment LLC. Cascade is a privately owned investment vehicle that holds various stocks, including Canadian National Railway (CNR), Deere (DE), and Republic Services (RSG)–as well as private investments in energy and real estate.
The year 2000 saw Gates two philanthropic organisations–the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation. With the help of this foundation, he’s invested billions in fighting malaria and polio. In addition, he committed 50 million dollars in 2014 to combat Ebola. By 2021 the foundation had committed more than $1.9 billion to fight the COVID-19 epidemic.
In 2010, along with Warren Buffett, Bill Gates announced the Giving Pledge campaign, which urged wealthy individuals to pledge to give the bulk of their money to charitable causes. Notably, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates announced plans to divorce on May 3rd 2021. It remains determined what Bill Gates net worth will change the following divorce.
5. Larry Page
- Age: 48
- Home: California
- co-founder, Board member and Co-founder: Alphabet
- Net Value: $124 billion
- Alphabet Ownership: 6% ($107 billion in total)
- Other Assets $14.4 billion liquid cash 53
Like many tech billionaires, Larry Page’s claim fame began in a dorm room at a college. While at Stanford University in 1995, Page and his fellow student Sergey Brin came up with the idea of enhancing data extraction capabilities while surfing the Internet. They created a new kind of technology for search engines called « Backrub, » named after its ability to study « backing links. » From the beginning, Page and Brin went to create Google in 1998. Brin was the first to be the company’s CEO until he left in 2001.
Google is among the most used Internet search engines on earth, with greater than 92% of global web-based searches. In 2006, Google (the business) increased its reach by buying YouTube, the largest platform for videos uploaded by users. In 2008, we saw the debut of the first smartphone using Google’s Android operating system, which was initially in the hands of Android Inc. before Google purchased this company back in 2005. Today, Google is an affiliate of Alphabet, a holding firm with which Page was the CEO from 2015 until 2019.
Page was also the co-founder and investor in Planetary Resources, a space exploration and mining company for asteroid. The company was established in 2009, but Planetary Resources was purchased by blockchain-based firm ConsenSys in 2018 due to funding issues. Brin has also expressed that he is interested in investing in « flying car » companies, having made investments in Kitty Hawk and Opener. The shares of Google increased by nearly 50% in 2021, which helped propel both Page and Brin to the top of the billionaires’ list.
6. Mark Zuckerberg
- Age: 37
- Residency: California
- Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer chair: The Meta (FB)
- Net Value: $124 billion
- Part of the Facebook Ownership: 13% ($115 billion)
- Other Assets $3.5 billion cash
Mark Zuckerberg first developed Facebook (now Meta) alongside fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, along Chris Hughes while attending Harvard University in 2004. When Facebook began to gain popularity at different universities, Zuckerberg left Harvard to focus on his growing business. Presently, Zuckerberg is the CEO and chair of Meta, had greater than 2.9 billion active monthly users as of the third quarter of 2021.
Facebook is the world’s most popular social network, allowing users to set up an account for themselves to communicate with family and friends and join or create groups and many more. Most of its revenue comes from advertising since it is a free access site.
Meta was also hosted by several other brands, including the photo-sharing app Instagram, in 2012. In addition, cross-platform mobile messaging service WhatsApp and virtual-reality-headset producer Oculus, both acquired in 2014. Workplace, its enterprise-connectivity platform; Portal, its line of video-calling devices; and Novi, its digital wallet for the Diem payment system.
Zuckerberg and his spouse, Priscilla Chan, founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2015 and each being co-CEOs. The charity aims to use technology to tackle social issues like increasing the accessibility and level of educational opportunities, improving the system of criminal justice and the U.S. immigration system, making housing more affordable and eventually eliminating all illnesses.
7. Sergey Brin
- Age: 48
- Home: California
- Chairman and co-founder of Alphabet (GOOG)
- Net Value: $119 billion
- Alphabet Ownership: 6% ($102 billion in total)
- Additional Assets $14.7 Billion in money in cash 72
What distinguishes Google from the other companies listed here is that its co-founders are remarkably similar in terms of their total wealth. Sergey Brin’s involvement at Google follows a similar pattern as Page’s. Following the duo’s founding in 1998, Brin was co-president with Page until Eric Schmidt took over as CEO in 2001. In the same way, following the founding of Alphabet at the end of 2015, Brin was the holding company’s president until retiring in the year 2019 after Sundar Pichai took over as CEO.
Apart from being a well-known Google search engine, Google provides a range of tools online and other services, known as Google Workspace, including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Meet, Google Chat, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, Google Slides and many other. 75 In out of the software itself, Google also deals in various electronic devices, such as Pixel smartphones and Pixelbook tablets and computers, the Nest Smart Home devices, and the Stadia gaming console.
Brin was a significant contributor to 2019, working on X Moonshot, Alphabet’s moonshot lab, the source of innovative technology such as the Waymo self-driving car and Google Glass smart glasses. Brin has also contributed millions of dollars towards the search for the possibility of a cure for Parkinson’s disease. He has also teamed up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to devise new treatments for LRRK2, which is among the most significant genetic causes of the disease.
8. Warren Buffett
- Age: 91
- Residence: Nebraska
- CEO: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)
- Net Value: $117 billion
- Berkshire Hathaway Ownership Share: 16% ($115 billion)
- Other Assets $1.13 billion of cash
The most well-known ever value investor living, Warren Buffett filed his first tax return in 1944, at age 14. He declared his earnings earned from his early paper route. He began buying shares in an apparel company named Berkshire Hathaway in 1962, becoming the largest shareholder by 1965. The company includes insurance and other investments in the year 1967. Today, Berkshire Hathaway is a half-trillion-dollar business and has one share (Class A shares) worth over $477,000 in January. 18 2022.
Widely referred to as the « Oracle of Omaha, » Buffett has made the bulk of his money by buying shares of companies that are easy to understand operations. Although many investors are investing in tech firms, Buffett has opted for an approach that is more prudent and only buys shares from businesses that are simple to comprehend, like IBM and Apple. Buffett is also a renowned Bitcoin doubter. In addition, Buffett has also outright purchased a long list of businesses over the years, including Dairy Queen, Duracell, GEICO, and Kraft Heinz.
Buffett has directed much of his money to charitable projects, apart from making investments. Between 2006 in 2020, Buffett has donated over $41 billion. The majority of this went to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or his children’s charities. Buffett introduced The Giving Pledge alongside Bill Gates in the year 2010.
9. Steve Ballmer
- Age: 65
- Residency: Washington
- Owner: Los Angeles Clippers
- Net Value: $111 billion
- Microsoft Ownership Share: 4percent ($101 billion in total)
- Additional Assets Los Angeles Clippers ($2.63 billion of private assets), $5.03 billion in cash
Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 following Bill Gates convinced him to leave Stanford’s MBA program. Ballmer became Microsoft’s thirtieth hire. Ballmer was promoted to the chief executive officer of Microsoft in 2000 and took the role following the departure of Bill Gates. He was CEO until his resignation in the year 2014.
In the course of his term, He was responsible for the 2011 acquisition by Skype in exchange for $8.5 billion.
Ballmer is estimated to own 4.4% of Microsoft shares, which makes him the biggest shareholder of the tech firm. In 2014, just a few months after his resignation as Microsoft Chief Executive Officer, Ballmer purchased the L.A. Clippers basketball team for $2 billion.
Ballmer lived across the hallway to Bill Gates while both were at Harvard University. They had a « brotherly » relationship, as was described by Ballmer; however, it became strained after Ballmer began insisting on the company’s involvement in devices (e.g., Surface, Windows phone, etc.).
10. Larry Ellison
- Age: 77
- Home: Hawaii
- Co-Founder, CTO as well as Chair Oracle (ORCL)
- Net Value: $107 billion
- Oracle Ownership Part: 40% ($71.3 billion)
- Other Assets Tesla Equity ($15.5 billion of public assets) and $17.2 billion in cash
After leaving the University of Chicago in 1966, Larry Ellison moved to California and became a computer programmer for various businesses. In 1973, Ellison joined the electronics firm Ampex which is where he met his future co-workers, Ed Oates and Bob Miner. A few years after, Ellison joined Precision Instruments and was the company’s vice-president for research and development.
In 1977, Ellison founded Software Development Laboratories (SDL) and Oates and Miner. The company two years later came out with Oracle, the first relational database commercial program that utilized Structured Query Language. The database program was so popular that SDL changed its name to Oracle Systems Corporation in 1982. Furthermore, Ellison joined Tesla’s board in December. 2018.
Oracle is the second-largest software firm and offers many cloud computing applications and other software like Java and Linux and its Oracle Exadata computing platform. Oracle took over several major companies such as PeopleSoft in 2005, Siebel in 2006, BEA Systems in 2008, and Sun Microsystems in 2009.
Ellison has spent a lot of money on luxurious real estate over the past decade, primarily in California. Perhaps his most memorable investment, Ellison bought nearly the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai for $300 million and constructed an aquaponics farm and a luxury spa on the island. Ellison has also contributed many millions to charities, mainly for medical research. Recently, in 2016, Ellison gave $200 million to the University of Southern California for an upcoming Cancer research centre.