Back in the day, the richest man in the world was Microsoft principal founder Bill Gates. And even though he has now given a large part of his fortune away to charity, he’s still the world’s second richest man with a net worth of over $90 billion. And while Gates legendary status can be credited to the early successes and meteoric rise of Microsoft in the 1990s, today’s generation looks up to a different entrepreneur – Jeff Bezos.
Currently the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos has a combined fortune of $141 billion. He is also the first person to have crossed the $100 billion mark. And while the combined wealth of the Walton family – the owners of Amazon’s biggest rival Walmart – is higher, that fortune is split among seven people. Bezos’ huge fortune and rise has a lot to do with Amazon’s rise to the top of the e-commerce industry.
Jeff Bezos graduated from Princeton University in 1987, and worked a successful career employed by various organizations till 1994. While Amazon originally started out as an online book store, it later expanded into selling all kinds of products online. Today, the company has a significant presence the world over. From being ranked at 492 in the Fortune 500 list in 2002, Amazon is today number 8 on the list, mounting a rapid challenge on Walmart for the lead.
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It’s worth noting that having a fortune of $141 billion doesn’t actually mean that Jeff Bezos has that much money in his bank account. The total fortune figure takes into account total assets, and while Bezos likely has a lot of liquid money at his disposal, the majority of his fortune is in the form of ownership shares in Amazon.
The company’s growth and increase in value over the years has obviously meant that his shares are worth more as well, which has led to his becoming the richest man in the world. However, share values are often very volatile, and depend heavily on the company’s performance, market conditions and the general financial atmosphere prevailing at the time. As such Bezos’ net worth could go up or down, gaining or losing billions of dollars overnight.
But for now, with a lead of around $49 billion over the world’s second richest man, Jeff Bezos is the undisputed richest man in the world. And as long as Amazon continues to grow at the same pace, that won’t change any time soon.