By Haddon Libby
Forbes Magazine just released their annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in the world.
Topping the list was Microsoft founder, Bill Gates clocking in with a net worth of $81 billion. For the last twenty-three years, he has been the wealthiest person in the world. To put his net worth into perspective, if Mr. Gates were to give his entire net worth to all of the residents of our fine Valley, each man, woman and child would receive approximately $324,000.
Coming in second this year is President Trump’s nemesis and Dr. Evil twin, Jeff Bezos, at $67 billion. His wealth comes from the explosive growth of Amazon – the killer of book stores and brick-and-mortar retailers alike. What you might not know about Mr. Bezos is that he was raised by his mother and Cuban immigrant stepfather. Back in 1994, Bezos left a lucrative job running a hedge fund to sell books online. In 2015, Amazon sold more than $100 billion in goods making them one of the largest retailers in the world.
The Oracle of Omaha, the ever cuddly Warren Buffett, fell from his rank as the second wealthiest person in the world to third as his net worth grew only $3.5 billion to $65.5 billion. Over the last year, he gave nearly $3 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. You might not know that he still lives in the house that he bought for $31,500 in 1958. He also states that his smartest investment was buying the Benjamin Graham book, “The Intelligent Investor” back in 1949.
Harvard dropout and guy you probably wouldn’t want to have a beer with, Mark Zuckerberg, moved up five notches to #4 as Facebook shares increased in value by 40% adding $15.5 billion result in a $55.5 billion net worth.
Coming in fifth is the owner of the tennis stadiums in Indian Wells and the private 19 hole Porcupine Creek residence in Rancho Mirage, Larry Ellsion. His net worth grew only $1.8 billion to $49.3 billion as the company that he founded, Oracle, grew at a much slower pace than Zuckerberg or Bezos. Ellison got his big break in building out databases for the CIA.
Sixth is the former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg with a net worth of $5 billion.
The seventh and eighth spots are held by the Satanic brothers of Charles and David Koch at $42 billion each. This silver-spooned pair got a nice start in life as their father invented a process by which heavy crude oil was converted to gasoline. Completely oblivious to the needs of the less fortunate, these two have been screwing with the political landscape for decades. Much of the ugly political climate in Washington DC can be attributed to their funding of many in the Republican Party.
Google (now Alphabet) CEO Larry Page comes in ninth at $38.5 billion. He is currently using some of his vast net worth to fund two flying car start-ups.
Coming in tenth is Russian immigrant and co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin. His family came to the United States when he was six due to anti-semitism in their homeland. Other notable immigrants include Hungarian, George Soros in 19th at $24.9 billion and Elon Musk in 34th at $11.6 billion.
The richest woman in the United States is Alice Walton who comes in at #13 with a net worth of $13.4 billion. Alice is the only daughter of Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton.
It is interesting to note that everyone in the top ten except for Satan’s siblings are self-made.
In case you were wondering, President Trump is worth $3.7 billion, down $800 million from last year as many of his properties declined in value.
Haddon Libby is the Managing Partner of investment management firm, Winslow Drake. His contact information can be found at WinslowDrake.com.