The Top 12 Richest People In The World

If you've ever played fantasy baseball or football, you know how quickly your team members' value can fluctuate, but did you know that this applies to billionaires, as well? We're surprised no one's started a fantasy wealth draft yet, since the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index, which ranks the world's richest people depending on their estimated net worth at the end of each trading day, can make for some pretty entertaining reading if you check in on a regular basis to see who's gone up and who's gone down.

This is all by way of saying that, at the time this article was written, this was an accurate ranking of the dozen wealthiest people in the world from richest to ... slightly less wealthy. Note that the rankings shift regularly, particularly among the middle slots, and there's even a possibility that someone at the lower end may have dropped out of the top 12 to be replaced by whoever's currently occupying 13th or 14th place. Pick your favorites, place your bets, pour your drinks, and let the billionaire games begin! Because hey, we might as well turn the ever-widening wealth gap into a spectator sport and get a few laughs out of it. 

As of this writing, these are the top 12 richest people in the world.

1. Elon Musk

Currently occupying the top spot is Twitter's controversial owner Elon Musk. Musk, according to PayWizard, hauls in an estimated $384,615,384.62 per day, which means that he's making over $200,000 per minute, even while he sleeps. Most cannot even wrap their head around that kind of money. According to CBS News, much of his wealth comes from the stock he owns (and sometimes sells) in the companies he's founded, primarily Tesla and SpaceX. Musk's also got a few billion in assets from Boring Company, a very dull-sounding organization that constructs tunnels. Plus, there's Twitter, which might, in time, come to earn him some serious pocket change.

If you're pea-green with envy, though, keep in mind that Musk has known loss and failure, too — of a sort. In early 2020, he was worth a mere $25.6 billion, something that granted him mid-card billionaire status at best. By late 2021, however, his personal wealth soared to $340 billion, but he's now dropped back to a more, um, modest $238 billion, as per Bloomberg's latest check. This means that he lost about 35% of his wealth in a single year, and yet it ultimately still didn't knock him off the top spot as the world's richest person. Needless to say, Musk will probably continue to be the No. 1 draft pick in any fantasy billionaire's league.

2. Bernard Arnault

Not quite such a big name, at least not in the U.S., is the second-place billionaire, France's own Bernard Arnault. Arnault, who actually held the top spot on the world wealth charts in December 2019 and again in May 2021, is currently worth about $196 billion, as per Bloomberg.

Arnault makes his billions the old-fashioned way, by selling "rich people stuff" to other rich people. He heads up LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the luxury goods conglomerate that brings us Moet & Chandon champagne, Hennessy cognac, and Louis Vuitton fashion, as well as Dom Perignon, TAG Heuer, Fendi, Christian Dior, Givenchy, and other high-dollar brands. According to The Focus, Arnault lives in a 17th-century Parisian townhome whose 20,000+ square feet are packed with modern art (originals, bien sûr) by such prominent names as Basquiat, Andy Warhol, and Picasso. He does, of course, own several chateaux in the countryside, as well as a mansion on St. Tropez (his beach cottage, no doubt), an entire island in the Bahamas, and a collection of wineries around the world.

3. Jeff Bezos

Unlike some other people on this list, Jeff Bezos built his fortune by selling all of the things to all of the people. Yes, in principle, monopolies stink and we should all be supporting local mom-and-pop businesses, but in actual practice, it's just so easy and convenient (and, admit it, also quite fun) to buy everything we need on Amazon and have it delivered overnight for free.

While Bloomberg says that Bezos is worth a respectable $157 billion, Fast Company noted in 2022 that he's lost even more of his wealth than Musk has. Over the past few years, his net worth has tumbled by 50%, and an earnings report from the same year from Amazon seems to indicate he may stand to lose a few billion more. While we're all still buying what the company is selling, we're not doing it to quite the extent they'd expected. The real cause behind his "wealth leak," though, seems to be the fact that Amazon shares are declining in value as profits fail to live up to expectations.

4. Bill Gates

Bill Gates is yet another billionaire whose name we all know, and whose products many of us use on a daily basis. The Microsoft founder got rich the new-fashioned way, by first creating a product and then very successfully convincing us we couldn't possibly live without it. In fact, only those who are around Gates' age or older may be able to remember what life was like back in the dark ages before every middle-class home had a PC or three. Today, Gates is worth some $137 billion, making him the world's fourth-richest man, but he doesn't seem to mind. In fact, he has plans to become even less wealthy in the future.

While Gates has his detractors, what prominent person does not, one thing you can't accuse him of is being ungenerous. As per HNGN, his divorce from his former wife Melinda may result in a settlement of assets worth over $65 billion, and in July 2022 he also tweeted out the news that he'd be transferring $20 billion of his own money to the Gates Foundation. In a follow-up tweet, he noted, "As I look to the future, I plan to give virtually all of my wealth to the foundation. I will move down and eventually off of the list of the world's richest people."

5. Larry Ellison

From the charitable to the questionable. Oracle founder and majority stakeholder Larry Ellison, whose $133 billion has him in the #5 slot on Bloomberg's billionaire list, owns 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which he bought for $300 million in 2012. If the name of the island rings a faint bell harking back to your elementary social studies days, that's because it was once the place where Dole grew its pineapples. Now the island is a rich man's private playground whose long-time residents are being driven out and small businesses shut down. Those island residents who do remain are usually in Ellison's employ and are living there on sufferance as losing your job generally means that your lease is up, as well.

While Ellison may not be known for his charity towards the less fortunate, he is a big donor to the Republican party and was supportive of efforts to decertify the 2020 election results. He's also a financial backer of the America's Cup yacht race and the Indian Wells tennis tournament. Wealthy though he may be, Ellison's own accountant once warned him that he needed to get a better grasp on budgeting and personal finance as his spending habits tend toward the unsustainable.

6. Larry Page

Larry Page was a co-founder, along with Sergey Brin, of Alphabet, the holding company whose primary product is Google. As might be expected, owning a good chunk of any company whose name has become a verb and whose products are something most of us make use of a few zillion times a day is a pretty lucrative gig. Bloomberg reports that Page's assets currently weigh in at $119 billion.

While Page does not own his own private island, he does now make his official residence in a country that's known for being popular with paranoid billionaires concerned about societal collapse. Page, an American by birth, moved his family to New Zealand during the pandemic, and CNBC says that he was granted citizenship status in 2021 for a mere $7 million, which is to be invested in New Zealand businesses and/or real estate over a three-year period. It seems as if Page may be well on the way to fulfilling this obligation, as he's invested in a Kiwi accounting software startup named Xero and has been snapping up various properties across the island nation (can't have too many bunkers come the zombie apocalypse, after all).

7. Warren Buffett

Yet another of the world's most admirable billionaires (yes, those words feel weird to us, too) is Warren Buffett, someone Gates outed as a major donor to the Gates Foundation with the following tweet: "Although the foundation bears our names, basically half our resources have come from Warren Buffett." According to an accompanying infographic, Buffett has contributed a total of $35.7 billion from 2006 to 2022. Counting the other charities he supports, Buffett's charitable giving as of June 2022 was $48 billion, something that Forbes says may well make him the all-time philanthropic champ.

Buffett is at a comfortable $118 billion. As befits such a charitable man, he built his wealth by helping others build theirs – Bloomberg says that his investment group, Berkshire Hathaway, has produced almost a 20% compounded gain in value every year since 1965. What's more, a simple Google search or visit to the public library will gain you invaluable free investing advice straight from the chairman's mouth. Need a good place to start? 45 years' worth of shareholder letters is available to download from the Berkshire Hathaway website.

8. Mark Zuckerberg

A man that needs no introduction, Mark Zuckerberg is, of course, known for starting Facebook at the mere age of 19. Now the co-founder and chief executive of Meta Platforms (whose acquisitions include Instagram, Whatsapp, and Oculus VR), Zuck's net worth sits at a cool $117 billion, according to Bloomberg. Interestingly, according to a December 2015 SEC filing, the tech giant plans to give away a whopping 99% of his shares throughout his life. A notable philanthropist, Zuckerberg has donated $100 million of his Facebook shares to the Newark, New Jersey, public school system, while he also gave away 36 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

While he was still relatively young, Zuckerberg's rise was swift. Launching Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, he didn't anticipate the social networking platform to garner so many users, so he quickly left his studies and moved to Silicon Valley. In 2004, he received  $500,000 in funding from Peter Thiel, and by the end of the year, it was reported that the website was on its way to having one million users.

In his private life, the Facebook co-founder married Priscilla Chan in 2012, with whom he now shares a daughter. In May 2011, they purchased a 5,617-square-foot home in Palo Alto, California, valued at $7 million. The house boasts five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a saltwater pool, and a glassed-in sunroom — among other luxuries suited for a billionaire. 

9. Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer, as Bloomberg tells us, was hired by Microsoft back in 1980, at which time he was the 30th employee on the books. In time, however, he worked his way up and became the company's CEO, in the process earning himself a tidy little fortune. While he resigned from that position in 2014, he still owns a fair chunk of shares in the company and his assets (mostly those shares) afford him a net worth of $117 billion.

In addition to Ballmer's Microsoft shares, he also owns the L.A. Clippers basketball team, although we're not entirely sure whether this is a shrewd investment (the team itself has a value of $3.73 billion) or a billionaire's plaything. Probably a bit of both, since it's undoubtedly a lot more fun sitting courtside at Clippers games than enduring another Microsoft shareholders meeting. The same year he purchased the basketball team, he also founded Ballmer Group with his wife, Connie.

10. Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin, who was born in the Soviet Union, moved to the U.S. when he was six years old. He did his undergrad work in computer science and math at the University of Maryland, but then moved out to California to attend grad school at Stanford. There he met Larry Page, and together they created Google, quite literally out of a garage. (Why does no one ever invent anything in a living room?) Today he's one of the directors of Alphabet, the parent company, and his shares in the company make up much of his $113 billion fortune. He's also now involved in overseeing the company's ventures into robotics.

The one thing Brin does have that his former partner (along with most of the other billionaires on this list) does not, is a nice juicy scandal. In fact, this scandal is one he shares with alpha billionaire Elon Musk — Musk is suspected of having had an affair with Brin's now ex-wife, Nicole Shanahan, although, of course, he denies the allegations. Brin, however, seems to have sold off all the shares he once owned in Musk's companies as well as divorcing Shanahan.

11. Carlos Slim Helu

Carlos Slim, as Bloomberg refers to him, or Carlos Slim Helu, as Forbes would have it, is the son of Lebanese immigrants who is now Mexico's wealthiest man. At the moment he has $95.8 billion worth of assets, and since German Larrea, the #2 Mexican national on the Bloomberg's billionaires list, has a mere $31.9 billion to his name, he's likely to maintain that #1 status. Slim (Helu)'s wealth comes from a fairly diverse portfolio, including a controlling stake in America Movil, which is Latin America's premier cell phone carrier, as well as Grupo Carso, which invests heavily in construction projects throughout Mexico. He also owns Sears Mexico.

Insider notes that, unusually for a billionaire, Slim still lives in the same house he and his family have occupied for four decades, a modest six-bedroom affair. He also doesn't own any private planes or yachts, but he does have a nice art collection. Still, even this isn't something he keeps to himself, as he did establish the Museo Soumaya, a Mexico City art museum named after his late wife. Not only is the museum not-for-profit, but it also doesn't even charge admission.

12. Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani also cracks into the top dozen. Ambani, a Stanford graduate, has a $95.8 billion fortune that comes in part from Reliance Industries, which is the biggest oil refining complex on the planet. He's also made more than a few bucks off of cellular service provider Jio and is now making plans to start offering financial services, as well.

Ambani spends his billions on, for one thing, a 27-story home, complete with a private movie theater, health spa, ballroom, ice cream parlor, temple, three floors of indoor gardens, an indoor snow room with artificial snow makers inside the walls, three helipads, a six-story parking garage with room for 168 cars, and rooms for 600 live-in servants (that's 100 servants for each member of the Ambani family in residence). While the home was valued at $400 million back in 2014, some estimates put its value at well over a billion now, and Lifestyle Asia calls it one of the most expensive homes in the world. Ambani also owns a 300-acre estate called Stokes Park outside of London which has been featured in two James Bond movies, plus, of course, he's got the usual billionaire accessories such as a number of Bentleys, Rolls Royce, and Mercedes Benzes, as well as a private plane.