Who are the richest people in the world? There’s no exact science to figuring it out, and most people aren’t telling. But there are ways to make educated guesses, whether it’s finding the major shareholders of successful public companies or seeing who has inherited great wealth. Regardless of how it’s calculated, these 15 people top the lists:
Jeff Bezos – Amazon.com CEO and the company’s largest shareholder has an estimated net worth of about $166 billion. After Amazon’s last two blowout earnings reports, Bezos shot way, way ahead of Bill Gates, who’d long been the richest. Based on Amazon’s track record, Bezos is likely to hold this spot for a long time to come.
Bill Gates – Estimated Net Worth: $97 billion. Despite giving away plenty of his wealth through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the billions keep piling up. Gates still owns about $12-15 billion in Microsoft stock, but he has spread his investments around since leaving the company and his investments have done quite well.
Warren Buffett – Sage of Omaha has built Berkshire Hathaway into a behemoth collection of companies and stock investments that has given him a net worth of somewhere in the neighborhood of $87 billion. Like Gates, Buffett has committed to giving away much of his wealth, but for now he still has enough to be #3 on this list.
Bernard Arnault – The richest man in France is the Chairman and CEO of luxury brand conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), which also includes brands Dom Perignon, Tag Heuer, Christian Dior, Fendi, Sephora and more. Estimated net worth: $78 billion.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook founder is easily the richest person under 40, and is Top Five overall, with a net worth estimated at $67 billion. Like others in this group, he is promising to give away a significant chunk of those riches during his lifetime.
Amancio Ortega – The richest person in Europe, Ortega is the founder and current chairman of Inditex Fashion Group, parent company of the wildly-successful Zara clothing store. Ortega’s net worth goes up and down with Inditex stock, but he is always in the mix as one of the richest in the world, as Ortega’s current net worth is estimated to be somewhere near $66 billion.
Carlos Slim Helu – The richest man in Mexico made the bulk of his estimated $62 billion in the telecom industry, as the head of America Movil, the biggest mobile phone operator in Latin America. He also holds significant stakes in other public companies, including a stake of over 15% in The New York Times.
Larry Ellison – Ellison founded the software company Oracle, which is best known as a creator of customer relationship management database software. He still owns about a quarter of the company and retains the title of Executive Chairman of the Board as well as Chief Technology Officer. Ellison also has many other business interests. Perhaps the most interesting holding of Ellison’s? His 97% ownership stake in the Hawaiian island of Lanai! Overall net worth: estimated $57 billion.
Larry Page – Page is one half of the “Google Guys” (along with Sergey Brin) who co-founded the dominant search engine. He is also the current CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, which also includes other businesses such as YouTube, Nest, Android and more. Page’s net worth is estimated to be $57 billion.
Sergey Brin – With a net worth of about $56 billion, Sergey Brin is the slightly poorer half of the Google Guys, but it seems unnecessary to shed any tears for him. He is president of Alphabet, which obviously is just slightly below CEO but close enough.
Michael Bloomberg – The co-founder of financial/media company Bloomberg still owns over 85% of his ultra-successful namesake company. Even after spending 10 years with his attention on his duties as mayor of New York City, Bloomberg still came out of it as one the 10 richest men in the world, at about $54 billion net worth. Bloomberg is another billionaire who has pledged to give away the vast majority of his wealth to charitable causes.
Charles Koch & David Koch – These brothers clock in at about $50 billion each. Their riches come from Koch Industries, a massive holding company which includes businesses engaged in oil refining & pipelines, paper products, chemicals, and much more. They are also known for giving millions of dollars to conservative political candidates.
Mukesh Ambani – The richest man in India with a net worth of approximately $48 billion, Mukesh Ambani runs Reliance Industries, a conglomerate that includes oil, a 4G wireless network across India, and more. He is said to have a stake of about 40% in the company.
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers – Meyers’ mother Liliane Bettencourt recently died, and Myers was the sole heir to the third (or so) of the L’Oreal cosmetics empire that her mother owned, making Meyers the richest woman in the world at about $47 billion.
Rob Walton – Son and heir of Sam Walton of Walmart fame, Rob Walton spent over 40 years at Walmart himself, including being Chairman of the Board of the company for over 20 years. He is the richest of the Walton heirs (though not by much), with an estimated net worth of $45 billion.