|Born||October 28, 1955|
|Net Worth||$129.5 B|
|Source of Wealth||Microsoft|
|Occupation||Philanthropist, investor, software developer|
|Education||Harvard University (Drop out)|
Bill Gates net worth currently stands at $129.5 billion. He’s the 4th richest individual in the world right now after Elon Musk ($234 B), Jeff Bezos ($165.1 B), and Bernard Arnault ($158.7 B). Gates is also the 3rd wealthiest American. At 32 he was the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.
Bill Gates is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft, the world’s 2nd largest company by market capitalization ($2.2 trillion). It’s one of the Big 5 technology companies. Bill served as the CEO of the company from 1975 to 2000.
Gates also co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through which he has donated over $30 billion to various causes, together with his ex-wife Melinda French Gates. This year, Forbes named him one of the top givers in America. Bill Gates is also one of the billionaires who dropped out of college.
So how did Bill Gates start and how did he become so wealthy? continue reading to find out
Early Life and Education
Bill Gates was born on October 28, 1995, in Seattle Washington. His father, William H. Gates Sr. was a lawyer while his mother Mary Maxwell Gates served on the board of directors for the United Way of America, one of the largest non-profits in the United States by public donations.
The billionaire attended Lakeside School, an elite private school in Seattle, where he met Paul Allen (died 2018) with whom he would later start Microsft. Bill Gates developed an interest in computers while he was in prep school, writing his first software program at the age of 13. In fact, while at Lakeside school, Gates together with Paul Allen was tasked with automating the school’s class-scheduling system.
After graduating from Lakeside school, he joined Harvard College in 1973 where he studied mathematics and computer science. At Harvard, Gates met Steve Ballmer who would later become the CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014. Bill Gates only spent 2 years at Harvard before dropping out after being persuaded by fellow programmer Paul Allen who had also dropped out of Washington State University. Gates and Allen founded Microsoft in 1974.
Gates has two sisters Kristianne and Libby.
Bill Gates Net Worth
His wealth is also equal to 1.68% of the total wealth of the world’s 500 richest people. Bill Gates net worth can buy 71 million troy ounces of gold and is equivalent to about 0.601% of the GDP of the United States. With such a huge fortune, the billionaire can spend $1 million every day for 340 years.
Gates first became a billionaire in 1987 at the age of 32 with a fortune of $1.25 billion. This was 12 years after Microsoft was founded and one year after it went public.
According to Forbes, Bill Gates became the world’s richest man in 1995. He was however overtaken in 1996 and later regained this spot in 1998. He occupied this post until 2007 when he was overtaken again. In 2009 he regained control once again as the world’s wealthiest individual until 2017 when he was unseated by Jeff Bezos.
Bill Gates is the world’s 2nd richest individual in technology after Jeff Bezos.
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How does Bill Gates make his billions?
Microsoft made Bill Gates the billionaire he is today. The software company is the 2nd most valuable corporation in the world after Apple. It has a market cap of $2.2 trillion while Apple is valued at $2.8 trillion. LinkedIn, Skype, and GitHub are some of the subsidiaries owned by Microsoft. Last year, its net income was $60.6 billion from a revenue of about $161 billion.
Bill Gates then used his fortune from the software company to create a huge investment portfolio. Today he owns only 1% of Microsoft which is equivalent to about $20 billion and has made investments in dozens of other companies. So where does the rest of his billions come from?
Bill Gates owns Cascade Investment Inc., a private investment and holding company he founded in 1995. Through the company Gates has investments in firms such as:
- Canadian National Railway, Canada’s biggest railroad operator. Gates is the largest single shareholder in the company.
- Berkshire Hathaway, he owns 4% of Berkshire.
- The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. He owns 47%
- Strategic Hotels & Resorts, he owns 9.8%
- AutoNation, a vehicle retailer. He owns 16%
- Caterpillar Inc
- Waste Management Inc
- bgC3 LLC
- Ecolab, he owns 14%
- FEMSA, a company in the beverage and retail industries
- Beyond Meat
The billionaire also has stakes in ResearchGate, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ginkgo Bioworks, Mologic, Impossible Foods, EarthNow, Corbis, and many others.
All these investments combined plus cash and other assets make up his fortune of $129.5 billion.
How does Bill Gates spend his billions?
Bill Gates net worth of over $120 billion lets him afford what he wants. He owns four private jets, 2 Gulfstream 650ER each worth about $70 million, and two Bombardier Challenger 350s each worth about $28 million. The billionaire also owns 2 helicopters, a Cessna 208 Seaplane worth $1.8 million and a Eurocopter EC135 worth $4 million. Gates who was already a billionaire by 1987, flew economy coach in commercial airplanes until 1997 when he acquired his first private jet.
Bill Gates is also a lover of paintings. In 1998 he bought the “Lost on the Grand Banks” painting by Winslow Homer for $36 million setting the American record for the most expensive piece of artwork at the time. He also bought Chill de Hassan’s “Room of Flowers”; a painting worth $20 million. In 1999 he also paid $27 million for another piece of painting. He also owns another painting called “The Nursery” by William Merritt Chase worth $10 million.
Bill Gates has a huge real estate portfolio. One of his most valuable properties is the $125 million mansion in Medina, Washington nicknamed Xanadu 2.0. He bought the 66,000-square-foot property in 1988 for only $2 million and spent $63 million and 7 years to customize it. The mansion includes a 2300 square foot reception hall which can accommodate up to 200 guests, 24 bathrooms, 6 kitchens, and a 60-foot swimming pool.
The mansion also includes high-tech details such as a pin given to every guest that interacts with sensors in every room inside the building and changes the temperature, music, and lighting according to the visitor’s preferences. Bill Gates supposedly pays $1 million in property taxes for the estate every year.
Other properties owned by the billionaire include the $12.5 million Indian Wells Vintage Club, the $18 million Rancho Santa Fe estate, which spans 229 acres, a $27 million property in Wellington, Florida, and another $43 million mansion in Del Mar, California.
Some of the vehicles in the billionaire’s garage include a Tesla model X worth about $130,000, an Audi R8 worth about $150,000, a $600,000 Lamborghini Aventador, a Bugatti Veyron worth around $1.7 million, and a Porsche 959 which costs about $250,000.
Bill Gates owns 242,000 acres of land across 19 states in the U.S. He’s the 49th largest private landowner in the country.
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Bill Gates is also spending a lot of money on humanitarian causes. In fact, he wants to give away almost all of his wealth in the course of his lifetime. In 2000 Bill together with his then-wife, Melinda founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fight poverty, disease, and inequity around the world.
According to Forbes, the billionaire together with his ex-wife has donated about $33 billion to various causes through the Foundation. He’s one of the most generous billionaires in America right now. Although Melinda and Bill ended their marriage last year, they agreed to remain co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2020 the charity gave away $5.8 billion in grants including the funding of research and vaccines for Covid-19.
Bill Gates together with his wife and Warren Buffett formed the Giving Pledge in 2010. It’s a platform to encourage extremely wealthy people in the world to donate at least half of their wealth to charity. In 2016, former U.S president Barack Obama honored Bill and Melinda Gates with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their humanitarian efforts.
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Bill Gates had been married to Melinda French Gates from January 1, 1994, to August 2, 2021. Melinda filed for a divorce ending their marriage which lasted 27 years, citing her husband’s arguable behavior as one of her concerns.
According to an article by the New York Times, Melinda Gates was unhappy with her husband’s relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Bill Gates is also reported to have harassed his money manager and had an affair with an employee. Current and former employees at Microsoft stated that he had a pattern of courting women in the workplace.
Bill and Melinda met in 1987 after the latter began working at Microsoft. They have 3 children Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe. Interestingly, during their marriage, the billionaire was permitted by his wife to spend some little time with his ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad.
Gates really loves to read books; he has a large home library and is also a fan of tennis and golf. When he was a kid, Bill was once prohibited from bringing books to the dinner table by his parents because he was spending so much time reading. The billionaire uses a schedule similar to the one used by the United States president, where his days are planned for him on a minute-by-minute basis.
He’s also an author having written 3 books, “The Road Ahead” published in 1995, “Business @ the Speed of Thought” published in 1999, and “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” which was published in 2021.
The billionaire spends most of his time in his Medina mansion in Washington.
Bill Gates net worth is an estimated $129.5 billion making him one of the richest people in the world. A small portion of his fortune comes from Microsoft while most of it is from investments in other companies. He left the board of Microsoft in 2020 to concentrate on philanthropy. The billionaire has transferred most of Microsoft’s stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and plans to donate almost all his wealth to charity.
Finally, here are a few quotes from Bill Gates.
- “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
- “Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world.”
- “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
- “I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one. And I’m still fanatical, but now I’m a little less fanatical.”
- “What’s amazing is, if young people understood how doing well in school makes the rest of their life so much interesting, they would be more motivated. It’s so far away in time that they can’t appreciate what it means for their whole life.”
- “The most amazing philanthropists are people who are actually making a significant sacrifice.”
- “I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars; there’s a certain freedom, meaningful freedom, that comes with that.”
- “Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”
- “Patience is a key element of success.”
- “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
- “To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”