The richest person in the world is Bill Gates, but he’s trying to change that. Of the top ten richest, four have pledged to give away at least half their money. Some, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, will give away even more.
The table below shows the top ten richest people in the world. Eight are Americans. The other two are from Spain and Mexico. The list of richest people includes Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg. Larry Ellison is on the richest person list, as well as Michael Bloomberg and both Koch brothers.
1. Bill Gates: $75 Billion
The richest person in the world is Bill Gates, with a total wealth of $75 billion. Gates’ fortune comes entirely from the Microsoft corporation. Gates founded Microsoft in 1975. The company would become the world’s largest software company in the next ten years. Until 2014, Gates was the company’s biggest single shareholder.
Though Gates is the richest person in the world, he plans to change that. He has said he’ll give away most of his $75 billion by the time he dies. The software magnate will leave $10 million each to his three children. The other $74,970,000,000 will go to charity. Gates has reportedly already given away $28 billion. His mission after Microsoft is to get resources to the world’s poorest people. In a 2016 open letter, Bill and Melinda Gates said poverty isn’t about a lack of money. It’s about a lack of resources needed to realize human potential.
Gates claims being the richest person in the world comes with responsibility. The Gates Foundation aims to dramatically cut disease and provide clean energy to the world’s poorest people. The Foundation is currently using the Gates fortune to fight diseases like HIV, Malaria and certain neglected tropical diseases. Together, these diseases harm billions of people around the world. Another mission is to leverage technology to bring basic resources like food, water and electricity to the poor in places like Africa, Asia and South America.
2. Amancio Ortega: $67 Billion
The second richest person in the world is Amancio Ortega. Ortega’s $67 billion comes from his clothing business, Zara. Zara’s chain of clothing stores is owned by Ortega’s company, the Inditex Fashion Group. In 2015, Ortega was actually ranked by Forbes as the richest person in the world for just four hours.
As a child, Ortega worked for a shirtmaker, making clothes by hand. At the age of 36 he started his first clothing business. The business worked by pooling the labor of thousands of local women. Rather than bring all the women together in a factory, Ortega simply organized them into a massive sewing cooperative.
Ortega still owns nearly 60% of Inditex. The company has more than 6,000 stores and 90,000 employees. Despite being the second richest person in the world, Ortega shuns fame. Until 1999, there had never been a photograph published of the billionaire. He rarely gives interviews and refuses to wear a necktie.
The Ten Richest People in the World
The ten richest people in the world are in the table below. The richest person in the world is Bill Gates, followed by Amancio Ortega and Warren Buffet. Of the ten richest people in the world, eight are from the United States. The other two are from Spain and Mexico.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett created a “Giving Pledge” to encourage the world’s richest people to give away at least half their wealth. So far, of the top ten richest people in the world, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison and Michael Bloomberg have signed the pledge. They’re joined by a total list of 138 billionaires from around the world. If just the four billionaires on the top ten list follow through on the pledge, that will amount to over $100 billion in donations.[gdoc Error requesting data: cURL error 28: Operation timed out after 5000 milliseconds with 0 bytes received]
3. Warren Buffett: $61 Billion
The third richest person in the world is Warren Buffett. Buffett is considered the most successful investor on Earth. In 2008 he was actually listed as the richest person in the world. He has said that he’ll give away 99% of his wealth to charity. Most of that will happen through the Gates Foundation.
Buffett made his fortune in investing. His holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns Dairy Queen, GEICO and Fruit of the Loom. It also owns significant portions of Kraft Heinz, Coca Cola, IMB, Wells Fargo and American Express. Buffett has long been known for his ability to spot undervalued companies and buy their stock at bargain prices. He is called “The Oracle of Omaha” because his stock-picking sense appears almost clairvoyant.
Despite being the third richest person in the world, Buffett stays humble. He is a regular bridge player. He still lives in the same Omaha house he bought for $31,500 in 1957. Even his company’s website is extremely spartan for a multi billion dollar corporation. Buffett’s #1 piece of money advice? Don’t get into debt.
4. Carlos Slim Helu: $50 Billion
The fourth richest person in the world, Carlos Slim Helu made his fortune in the telecom industry. The Mexican billionaire owns the Grupo Carso telecom conglomerate. Through the conglomerate, Slim runs telecom companies América Móvil and Telmex. América Móvil is the largest mobile service carrier in Latin America. Grupo Carso has branched out in recent years into energy, health care, food and beverage and entertainment to name a few.
Slim’s childhood dream was to become a successful businessman. His father reportedly spent hours teaching him to be financial literate. Slim was just 11 when he made his first investment. The investment was a government savings bond that taught Slim about the power of compound interest. He became a professional stock trader by the age of 20. By the time he was 25, his personal investments were worth $400,000. He used the money to start his own investment brokerage.
As recently as 2014, Slim was listed as the richest person in the world. His wealth in that year surpassed Armancio Ortega’s, Warren Buffett’s and Bill Gates’.
5. Jeff Bezos: $45 Billion
Jeff Bezos is the fifth richest person in the world. His billions come mostly from Amazon.com. Bezos founded the e-commerce giant in 1994. Based in Seattle, Washington, it’s the biggest online retailer in America. The company has revenue of $107 billion per year.
Bezos is relatively new to the list of top ten richest people in the world. His position on the list is thanks in part to the recent growth of Amazon’s stock value. He started his career with a job as a Wall Street computer scientist. He drew up the plans for Amazon during a road trip from New York to Seattle. The company was originally based out of Bezos’ garage.
The billionaire left a high paying job at a hedge fund in New York after he learned about the fast growth of internet usage. Recently, Bezos has branched out into space flight with his company Blue Origin. In 2015 the company achieved the first vertical take off and landing of a rocket after traveling to space.
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6. Mark Zuckerberg: $45 Billion
It may surprise some that Mark Zuckerberg is only the 6th richest person in the world. Zuckerberg famously dropped out of Harvard to start Facebook in 2004. The company now has nearly 1.6 billion users. It has annual revenue of $18 billion and is worth an estimated $245 billion. That’s more than Walmart.
Zuckerberg is the son of a dentist and a psychiatrist. Before he became the 6th richest person in the world, he showed skill in computers at a young age. By the time he entered Harvard he was known as a prodigy at programming.
Zuckerberg reportedly built the first version of Facebook while at Harvard, for fun. The site was so popular it overloaded the university’s internet infrastructure and had to be shut down. The school newspaper called Zuckerberg out for using people’s pictures without permission, calling the site completely improper.
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7. Larry Ellison: $44 Billion
Larry Ellison, the 7th richest person in the world, made his money in the software industry. Specifically, Ellison founded the Oracle Corporation. The company is a worldwide computer tech firm with its headquarters in Redwood City, California. Oracle has annual revenue of $38 billion per year. Ellison reportedly earns $64 million per year as the company’s head.
Ellison founded Oracle in 1977. The company started out selling database software to small and mid level companies. He was adopted at the age of nine months and has been divorced four times. Ellison appears briefly in the movie Iron Man 2. He is an exotic car aficionado and a licensed pilot.
Besides being the 7th richest person in the world, Ellison also famously dropped out of college. He has promised to give more than half of his fortune to charity. For a brief time in 2000, Ellison was listed as the #1 richest person in the world.
8. Michael Bloomberg: $40 Billion
Michael Bloomberg is the #8 richest person in the world. Bloomberg is a businessman, philanthropist and politician. He was Mayor of the City of New York for three terms from 2003 through 2013. Most of his wealth comes from Bloomberg L.P. The company is a media and financial data company. The company has annual revenue of $9 billion. Bloomberg owns 88% of its stock.
Bloomberg was a partner in the investment bank Salomon Brothers when it was sold off in 1981. Bloomberg received a severance package worth $10 million. He used it to start a company that used computers to deliver real time market data. By 1986, the company had grown into Bloomberg L.P.
Bloomberg is an environmental advocate and philanthropist. In 2015 he donated $30 million to a drive to retire more than 50% of America’s coal plants by 2017.
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9. Charles Koch: $40 Billion
Charles Koch and his brother David each own 42% of Koch Industries. The company is has annual revenue of $115 billion. It has over 100,000 employees and owns oil companies, manufacturing and investing companies. Charles and David Koch founded the company in 1940. Since then, the firm has made Charles the #9 richest person in the world.
Koch businesses have invented popular brands like Lycra, Stainmaster carpets, Dixie Cups and Quilted Northern toilet tissue. Koch believes in a free market economy and has donated hundreds of millions to libertarian causes and social welfare. He is thought of as one of the most influential conservatives in America.
Koch credits the book Why Wages Rise for his conservative beliefs. The core idea of the book is that the more an employee produces, the more money that employee should get.
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10. David Koch: $40 Billion
The 10th richest person in the world, David Koch built his fortune with his brother Charles. The pair founded Koch Industries together in 1940. The company is the second biggest private firm in America. David Koch’s title in the business is executive vice president.
David Koch has been described as both one of the most low-key philanthropists in the country and one of the most generous. He has donated money to the New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Museum of Natural History, the Lincoln Center and Sloan Kettering. He is New York City’s wealthiest citizen.
Aside from being the 10th richest person in the world, Koch is also a survivor. In 1991,he lived through the crash of USAir Flight 1493. The plane collided with a commercial turboprop plane as it was landing in Los Angeles. Koch’s plane caught fire. 23 people on his plane were killed, along with all 12 passengers on the other plane.