War, pandemic, a rising cost of living and the slowing global economy have led to many people struggling to make ends meet.
Even the world’s richest people are in a financial mess.
Although the Forbes Billionaires’ List ranks the world’s wealthiest 2,668 people, the list has lost 87 money men and women.
But don’t feel too sorry for them as more than a thousand billionaires ended 2022 richer than when the year started. The people on the list control $12.7 trillion – $400 billion less than the year before.
The most dramatic falls from grace were in Russia and China.
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One In Four Billionaires Come From USA
After President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, sanctions removed 34 billionaires from the rich list. In China, a government crackdown on technology companies saw the fortunes of 87 wealthy industrialists drop below the $1 billion mark.
Life’s not all bad for billionaires. Although 87 dropped off the list, Forbes welcomed 236 newcomers.
More than one in four billionaires (735/27 per cent) controlling $4.7 trillion come from the United States, followed by China, with 607 billionaires worth $2.3 trillion.
During the past 12 months, some familiar names have dropped from the top of the billionaire list.
Mercurial entrepreneur Elon Musk lost the title of the world’s richest man, slipping to second after his fortune dipped by around $70 billion to £140 billion.
Musk Loses World’s Richest Title
The slump was triggered by falling share values at electric car maker Tesla and rocket launcher SpaceX. The South African, aged 51, was criticised by Tesla shareholders for spending too much time with his take-over of the social media platform Twitter at the cost of the car company.
Explaining his investment philosophy, Musk said: “I operate on the physics approach to analysis. You boil things down to the first principles or fundamental truths in a particular area, and then reason up from there.”
Musk took the place of Amazon tycoon and newspaper owner Jeff Bezos, now the world’s fifth richest man, after paying a multi-billion dollar divorce settlement. Bezos, 58, is now worth $108, almost halving his wealth. Bezos also owns the aerospace company Blue Origin, which develops low-orbit rockets.
So, who tops the list as the world’s wealthiest person?
Who Is the World’s Richest Person?
French luxury brands magnate Bernard Arnault, chairman of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesey (LVMH) group of companies representing more than 70 prestige businesses, took the top spot.
In 2022, Arnault added New York jeweller Tiffany & Co to his empire for a reputed $15.8 billion – the largest luxury brand acquisition ever.
Arnault works in the business alongside four of his five children, who share his wealth.
Their fortune is worth $158 billion – an annual increase of $8 billion.
Making a stratospheric leap up the rich list is Indian entrepreneur Gautam Adani. In 2020, he was worth $8.9 billion with aspirations to become the world’s largest producer of green energy. By the end, Adani was worth $90 billion.
He controls Mundra, India’s largest port, while other recent acquisitions include a controlling 74 per cent interest in Mumbai airport and the purchase of India’s second-largest cement producer.
World’s Top 20 Wealthiest People
“Being an entrepreneur is my dream job as it tests one’s tenacity. I could never take orders from anyone,” he said.
Another surprise is the slow but steady fall down the listings of Microsoft technology entrepreneur Bill Gates.
Not so long ago, he reigned as the world’s wealthiest person, but due to divorce and charitable donations, he has lost around $75 billion.
Here’s the complete top 20 list of the world’s wealthiest people:
|Rank||Name||Net worth||Annual change||Age||Nationality||Source of wealth|
|1||Bernard Arnault & family||$190.0b||+$7b||73||France||LVMH|
|2||Elon Musk||$140.5b||+$3.5b||51||USA||Tesla, SpaceX|
|3||Gautam Adani||$125.5b||-$745m||60||India||Infrastructure, commodities|
|4||Warren Buffett||$109.3b||+$1.5b||92||USA||Berkshire Hathaway|
|8||Mukesh Ambani||$88.3b||-$1.5b||65||India||Diversified investments|
|9||Carlos Slim Helu & family||$83.0b||+$1.1b||82||Mexico||Telecoms|
|11||Michael Bloomberg||$76.8 B||$0||80||USA||Bloomberg LP|
|12||Steve Ballmer||$75.8 B||-$2.6b||66||USA||Microsoft|
|13||Francoise Bettencourt Meyers & family||$75.5 B||+$3.5b||69||France||L’Oréal|
|14||Sergey Brin||$74.2 B||-$749m||49||USA|
|15||Zhong Shanshan||$69.1 B||+$1.7b||68||China||Beverages, pharmaceuticals|
|16||Amancio Ortega||$66.4 B||+$1.8b||86||Spain||Zara|
|17||Jim Walton||$61.5 B||+$53m||74||USA||Walmart|
|18||Rob Walton||$60.2 B||+$52m||78||USA||Walmart|
|19||Alice Walton||$59.3 B||+$53m||73||USA||Walmart|
|20||Julia Koch & family||$57.7 B||$0||60||USA||Koch Industries|
Who’s the richest person ever?
The wealthiest person to live is thought to be the fabled Emperor Mansa Musa, who lived in the 14th century.
Musa’s empire stretched across North Africa, although the centre of his wealth was the modern country of Mali. He was famed for living extravagant gifts of gold on his travels. His wealth is estimated at $400 billion, and his empire owned half of the world’s gold.
In fact, his generosity was a curse. Musa gave so much gold away that he destabilised the economies of many countries for more than a decade by making supply exceed demand.
Who was the first billionaire?
American oil mogul John D Rockefeller was the first person to amass a billion dollars in 1916 thanks to the profits of the Standard Oil Company – better known today as Esso. The money represented around two per cent of the US economy.
Who is the oldest billionaire?
Beate Heister (71) and Karl Albrecht (75), the heirs to the $33 billion Aldi supermarket fortune, are the oldest living billionaires.
Who is the youngest billionaire?
The youngest billionaire is Kevin Lehmann (20), whose $2.2 billion fortune is tied up in the German drug store chain dm.
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