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Money News

Find Out What It Takes to Be A Billionaire

March 08, 2019

4 min read

There are fewer billionaires in the world, and their collective net worth keeps dropping.

That’s according to Forbes magazine, which released its 2019 list of the wealthiest people in the world. The magazine’s annual ranking is considered a definitive list of the world’s richest people.

But don’t feel too sorry for today’s billionaires. They represent a combined $8.7 trillion in wealth, a decrease of $400 billion from 2018, when Forbes last updated its list of the most affluent people.

As of March 2019, Forbes counts more than 2,153 billionaires globally, about 55 fewer than in years past. And this year, the roster includes the youngest billionaire ever, the social media phenomenon and reality TV star Kylie Jenner, in addition to a record 242 women.

While many of the names on Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world inherited their riches from family elders, quite a few—including Jenner—are considered self-made, meaning they didn’t inherit money to start their business, and they accumulated their wealth primarily through their own efforts.

You might recognize the names of many of the billionaires, as many either control or founded the companies you may shop or invest in today.

Here’s a look at some of the names, and their rankings.

Forbes Billionaires

Name: Jeff Bezos
Company: Amazon
Net worth: $131 billion
Rank: 1

Bezos founded e-commerce company Amazon in 1994 as an online bookstore in his Seattle, Washington garage. Amazon, which now offers a variety of services ranging from providing cloud storage space to delivering groceries, reportedly had a record profit of $10 billion in 2018. Amazon also recently announced it would ditch plans to build a new headquarters in New York City.

Name: Bill Gates
Company: Microsoft
Net worth: $96.5 billion
Rank: 2

Gates founded the software firm Microsoft with business partner Paul Allen in 1975. Gates and his wife, Melinda, operate the largest philanthropic organization in the world—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on health and poverty in the developing world. Gates has sold 99% of his stake in Microsoft, and has given $36 billion worth of Microsoft stock to his foundation.

Name: Warren Buffett
Company: Berkshire Hathaway
Net worth: $82.5 billion
Rank: 3

Buffett, known as the Oracle of Omaha because of his legendary stock-picking abilities, controls conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire owns or has a significant ownership stake in 60 companies. Buffett reportedly bought is first stock at age 11, and he’s donated $3.4 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett has also pledged to donate much of his wealth upon his death.

Name: Mark Zuckerberg
Company: Facebook
Net worth: $62.3 billion
Rank: 8

Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2004, in his Harvard dorm room. The social media network, which has 2.3 billion users globally, went public in 2012. Zuckerberg owns 17% of the company’s stock. In recent months, Facebook has run into difficulties over customer privacy concerns and its potential role influencing the 2016 presidential election.

Name: Larry Page
Company: Google
Net worth: $51 billion
Rank: 10

Page co-founded the search engine giant Google with Sergey Brin, who ranks 14th on the Forbes list, with a net worth of $49.8 billion. Brin and Page met at Stanford as computer science engineers. They took Google public in 2004. Google restructured in 2015, forming a parent company called Alphabet, reflecting the company’s expanded reach into cloud storage, fiber optics, advertising, and smart home devices.

Name: Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
Company: L’Oreal
Net worth: $49 Billion
Rank: 15

Bettencourt is the richest woman in the world. She inherited a 33% stake in cosmetics giant L’Oreal from her mother Liliane in 2017. Her grandfather founded the company in 1909. Cosmetics products are part of the consumer discretionary sector.

Name: Jim, Alice, and Rob Walton
Company: Walmart
Net worth: approximately $44 billion each.
Rank: 16, 17, 18

The children of Walmart founder Sam Walton and other family heirs own about half of all Walmart stock. Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, with annual sales of $500 billion. The company announced in January 2018 that it would raise its minimum wage to $11 an hour. Jim and Bob Walton have held executive or board positions at Walmart, while Alice has focused on curating and collecting art.

Name: Daniel Ek
Company: Spotify
Net worth: $2.3 billion
Rank: 1,057

Swedish-born Ek is the co-founder of the popular music streaming service Spotify. The company has 180 million users, including nearly 90 million paying customers. Spotify had an IPO in April 2018, roughly a decade after it launched in 2008.

Name: James Monsees and Adam Bowen
Company: Juul Labs
Net worth: $1.1 billion each
Rank: 1,941

Monsees and Bowen reportedly became billionaires in 2018, after a new round of investment money valued Juul, the e-cigarette company they founded in 2017, at $38 billion. Cigarette maker Altria invested $13 billion in Juul in November 2018.

Name: Kylie Jenner
Company: Kylie Cosmetics
Net worth: $1 billion
Rank: 2,057

At 21, Jenner is the youngest billionaire ever, beating Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who achieved the milestone at 23. Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian siblings, built her cosmetics empire with just five full-time employees and $250,000 that Jenner says she earned from modeling. Kylie Cosmetics has reportedly pulled in more than $630 million in sales since it launched in 2015. Jenner is equal parts social media phenomenon and entrepreneur, leveraging 175 million followers across Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Despite her family connections, Forbes considers Jenner’s fortune self-made.

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By Jeremy Quittner
Jeremy Quittner is the senior writer for Stash.

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