In a world in which most people live on less than $2 a day, some people can afford exquisite luxuries while commanding tremendous fortunes and powerful businesses. Such is the case with Bill Gates, the world’s wealthiest individual. For 16 of the past 21 years, the co-founding father of Microsoft has been topping the list of the world’s richest people and during most of these years, he has been way ahead of the second and third richest individuals.
Like many of you may already know by now, Bill Gates made most of his fortune as the co-founder, chairman, chief software architect and CEO of Microsoft, the largest PC software company in the world. As the company’s top individual shareholder, Bill’s net worth skyrocketed at the same pace in which Microsoft’s stock price grew bigger and bigger throughout the years.
While later in his life, he started focusing less on his professional capacities and more on charity work, as a relatively young man he employed anti-competitive business tactics which undoubtedly contributed to his personal fortune quite a lot.
Bill Gates first appeared in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people in 1987 and has been a constant presence on that list ever since. As a matter of fact, since 1994 to 2014, excluding the years after the financial crisis of 2007, he has been topping this particular list. Furthermore, Bill Gates’ net worth actually doubled between 2009 and 2014, all this while spending quite a lot of money on various philanthropic endeavors.
At the moment, Bill Gates has an impressive net worth of $80 billion, almost $2 billion more than the world’s second richest individual, Carlos Slim. Interestingly enough, Bill Gates could have been a lot richer nowadays, but choose to donate nearly $30 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest private foundation in the world. This foundation aims to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty throughout the world, while expanding educational opportunities and access to information technology.
The reason why we bring up the foundation that Bill and his wife Melinda founded in 1997 is to give you a better insight into the spending habits of the world’s richest man. For instance, in 2014, Bill and Melinda Gates were the biggest philanthropists in the world, having donated more than $1.5 billion in Microsoft stock to the foundation, around $500 million more than the next biggest philanthropist.
In January 2000, Bill Gates stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, but remained as Chairman at the company, creating a new position for himself as Chief Software Architect. Six years later, he announced that he would step down from his full-time work at the company to a part-time position, looking to focus on his role at his foundation instead. At the time, he was worth $20 billion more than the second richest man in the world.
To better understand just how wealthy Bill Gates is, consider the fact that during his 25 years at Microsoft he made enough money that he could theoretically throw away a $100 bill and make twice as much before it reached the ground. In 1998, for example, he had a net worth of $45 billion while working less than 12 hours a day, meaning that he made around $3,700 per second at some point.
It is quite hard for us regular folks to even comprehend the obscene amount of money Bill Gates had for most of his life, and the fact that he remains the world’s richest man despite giving away more than 20 billion dollars speaks volumes about just how incredibly wealthy this man is. Also, Bill and his wife Melinda are on a quest to convince other billionaires to follow their example, and they have done quite a good job so far.
All things considered, Bill Gates has spent a good deal of his personal fortune to make the world a better place. The contribution that his foundation had over these past few years and continues to have to this day in providing services for the poor, improving agricultural development, providing clean water throughout the 3rd world, offering grants to combat various diseases and supporting the worldwide spread of better standards of education is unmatched by any other foundation or charity organization on the planet.
Therefore, one could say that Bill Gates is quite literally making the world a better place for all of us, even though in all fairness, none of this could have been possible if not for his extraordinary wealth.