“Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can poverty” – Leo Rosten (German humorist)
Who are the top ten richest people in the world? Often, determining who is on the list is a matter of whether stock markets have opened up or someone has had an overnight investment that augmented quickly. Yes, money makes the world go round and below are the wealthiest people who are at its axis. There are many similarities among the world’s richest people, but every billionaire below has had a unique route to their success. Some have had to face tragedies or hardships, while some inherited their beginnings then had to work hard to keep their wealth. Here are the ten richest people in the world, counting down to number one…
10 JIM WALTON
Walmart Family Business and Chairman of Arvest Bank
Native Country: U.S.A.
Net worth: $26.7 billion
James “Jim” Carr Walton is the youngest son of the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton. Jim Walton was born in Arkansas in 1948. He first joined the real estate section of Walmart, but left in 1975 to join the Walton family’s business called Walton Enterprise.
He is the Chairman and Board Member of Community Publishers, Inc., as well as a Director of Arvest Bank Group, Inc., including serving as a Board member of Walmart, with over four hundred million shares. Today, Walmart is the world’s largest retail company, with over 7,000 stores.
9 SHELDON ADELSON
Las Vegas Sands Corporation (casinos)
Native Country: USA
Net worth $37.5 billion
Sheldon Adelson is the king of casinos. He made his wealth as head of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns a string of famous casinos around the world. They include the famous Venetian hotel and casino and Sands convention centre in Las Vegas, as well as casinos in Pennsylvania, China and Singapore.
Adelson also owns Israeli daily newspaper Israel HaYom. When he was younger, Adelson dropped out of the City College of New York before he went on to make his fortune. And he has experienced massive highs and lows during his career. After the 2008 stock market crash, Adelson’s net worth plunged by an astonishing 93 per cent from $30billion to just $2billion as the value of his shares in Las Vegas Sands Corp plummeted.
But he just shrugged off, saying: “There is no such thing as fear — not to an entrepreneur”. In 2009 he was ranked 178th on the list of the world’s richest people. But just six years later his wealth had soared again and he was back in the top ten richest people in the world. Adelson has given money to a lot of charitable causes over the years, much of it through the Adelson Foundation set up by his wife Miriam.
8 CHRISTY WALTON AND FAMILY
Walmart Family Business
Native Country: USA
Net worth: $37.6 billion
She inherited John’s fortune — then worth $18.2billion — when he tragically passed away in June 2005. Her wealth has since grown mainly due to the increase in value of the shares she holds in Wal-Mart. She also owns shares in solar panel maker First Solar, which her husband John invested in before he died. Christy lives in Jackson, Wyoming, and has one son named Lukas. She is well known for being extremely charitable, and gives more as a proportion of her wealth than any other woman in the world.
She is involved in many charitable causes including the San Diego Zoological Society and the Walton Family Charity Support Foundation. In 2009 she set up a production company to finance a film adaptation of Rudolfo Anaya’s book Bless Me, Ultima. You can see an interview with her about the film, above.
7/6 THE KOCH BROTHERS
Owners of Koch Industries
Native Country: USA
Net worth: $40.1 billion each
Koch Industries runs oil refineries in Alaska, Texas and Mexico, and owns Brawny paper towels, Stainmaster carpets, Georgia-Pacific Lumber, Lycra, and Dixie cups. Koch Industries was founded by their entrepreneurial father, Fred C. Koch, who invented a new method for refining heavy oil into gasoline. Koch Industries was originally called Rock Island Oil & Refining.
Three of Fred Koch’s four sons joined the company. After his death in 1967, the company was renamed Koch Industries in his honor, with Charles and David at the helm. You can see an interview with Charles Koch talking about his father, above.
5 LARRY ELLISON
Oracle Corp., Co-Founder and CEO
Native Country: USA
Net worth: $48.9 billion
Larry Ellison, real name Lawrence J. Ellison, was the co-founder of Oracle Corp and has been CEO since 1977. He was a 2013 sponsor of the America’s Cup sailing team under the Oracle name. Mr. Ellison was born in Bronx, New York, to an unmarried mother of 19 who gave him to an Aunt and Uncle in Chicago. As a young boy, he showed an aptitude for math and science, but displayed a rebellious spirit.
Larry did not seem to show any initiative and his adopted father thought that he would never amount to anything. He later moved to Berkeley, California, where he landed a job as a programmer with the Amdahl Corporation and was a team member who built the first IBM mainframe computer.
As a result, Ellison and a partner won a contract to build a system for the CIA, under the code name Oracle. IBM acquired the Oracle, which made Ellison a millionaire. Oracle continued to grow, acquiring various hardware and software acquisitions, and it became the largest business software company in the world.
4 WARREN BUFFETT
Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Native Country: USA
Net worth: $63.3 billion
Warren Buffett was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1930. His father was a Congressman and a successful stockbroker, who moved his young family to Virginia. Buffett was always interested in investments and fund management. At age 11 he had completed his first financially successful investment and at age 13 he was running a successful business.
At his expert hands, undervalued companies have become his wealth cornerstone. Warren Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1956, which was failing. Berkshire Hathaway is today’s most traded stock on the New York Stock Exchange.
He has also acquired larger insurance companies like National Indemnity and Geico. Now in his 80s, Buffett recently purchased H.J. Heinz company and partnered with a Brazilian private equity group that owns Burger King and part of brewing company Anheuser-Busch.
3 AMANCIO ORTEGA
Chairman of Retail Giant “Inditex”
Native Country: Spain
Net worth: $64.2 billion
Amancio Ortega is the tycoon behind Inditex, a Spanish fashion retail giant best known for its Zara chain of high street stores. Inditex is the biggest fashion group in the world, and owns lots of other smaller brands. This fashion retail giant has more than 6,200 stores in over 90 countries, many in well-to-do locales, and Ortega owns 59 per cent of its shares.
Amancio Ortega’s history is a rags to riches story. Ortega left school at 12 to work for a shirt maker to help support his poor family. He learned the clothing trade and quickly began to create his own designs. He copied fashions that he saw on catwalks and opened his first shop in 1975 and began growing design stores. Ortega also has major holdings in various investment funds.
2 CARLOS SLIM HELU
CEO and Chairman of America Movil (the largest mobile phone carrier in the Americas)
Native Country: Mexico
Net worth: $68.8 billion
Carlos Slim Helu is a Mexican business tycoon, who owns more than 220 companies in banking, railways, telecommunications and restaurants. He also owns more than 6 per cent of the USA’s New York Times Company.
His father, Julian Slim Haddad, moved to Mexico from Lebanon in 1902 to escape military mandatory enlistment. Julian Haddad created a million dollar real estate and import business. Carlos Helu was born in Mexico in 1940 and is noted to be very frugal, because he still lives in the same small home he purchased 30 years ago.
He is an expert in financial strategies. As a teenager, Carlos purchased shares in a Mexican bank. He became an equity trader, and later owned his own brokerage company. Carlos also garnered more companies in varying industries, calling his conglomerates Grupo Galas. He has acquired several companies in the US like Tracfone and Telmex USA.
1 BILL GATES
Founder of Microsoft
Native Country: USA
Net worth: $76.7billion
William Henry “Bill” Gates III was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. He was the second of three children who grew up in an upper-middle class family. He was always very competitive in games and Bill loved to read.
Public school did not give him the challenges that he needed, therefore his family sent him to Lakeside School where he excelled in math, science, drama and English. At age 13, he became enthralled with computer programming, and he created a tic-tac-toe program in his school, using BASIC, the first computer language.
At Lakeside School Bill met Paul Allen, who also loved computers. Later they would hack into the school’s computer and were denied computer privileges until they showed his teachers how they did it. Bill and Paul remained friends and started a software company in Albuquerque, but later moved it to Bellevue, Washington, which they called Microsoft. IBM shortly afterwards contacted Bill and asked him to write a new software program to run their computers and the rest is history. Microsoft began to grow rapidly from 25 employees to over 90,000 employees today.
In 2006 Bill announced that he was cutting back his involvement at Microsoft to concentrate on the charitable foundation he runs with wife Melinda Gates. Bill Gates also has successful investments in Ecolab, Republic Services and FEMSA.
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