They say the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and if the latest Forbes Billionaires List is anything to go by, it’s easy to see why.
Forbes has released its 32nd annual list of the biggest billionaires in the world and this year they’ve named a record-breaking 2,208 people to the roll call. While most people would be happy winning $100 on a scratchy, these billionaires have a net worth US$9.1 trillion (AU$11.69 trillion), an 18 per cent increase on the previous year.
Amazon chief Jeff Bezos topped this year’s list with US$127.3 billion, while Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who ceded the top spot for only the sixth time since 1995, came in at number two with a net worth of US$90 billion.
Once again several Aussies made the cut, proving they can splash cash with the best of them.
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart was named Australia’s richest and the 69th richest person in the world. She’s worth a cool US$27.4B thanks to her role as executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting. The mining mogul took control of her late father Lang Hancock’s estate after his death and turned it into one of the most successful companies in the world.
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Rinehart’s joint-venture with Rio Tinto earns her the big bucks, along with her stake as one of the biggest cattle producers in the country.
She even out-ranked Rupert Murdoch, who with US$15B to his name, is the 94th richest person in the world. Murdoch has long enjoyed life on the billionaires list thanks to his role as chairman and CEO of News Corp — a role that gives him control over Fox News, The Times of London and The Wall Street Journal. The 86-year-old entered the media business at just 22, when he took over his late father’s newspaper empire. Murdoch has kept the business in the family, with his sons James and Lachlan helping run 21st Century Fox and News Corp.
While he was a little further down the list, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest also made the cut coming in at 480. He is one of the richest men in Australia, with a net worth of US$4.4B. Although the figure is nothing to sneeze at, it’s about a third less than what he had in 2008. Back then, shares for his Fortescue Metals Group hit a high, resulting in US$12.7B.
Other notable names to make the list include Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg (US$71B), Wall Street legend Warren Buffet (US$84B) and Walmart heir Alice Walton, who is the world’s richest woman with US$46B.
What would you do with this much money? Do you think the world’s wealth should be shared more evenly?