Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is the second-wealthiest man in the world, second to Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.
Gates is a self-made billionaire with a net worth of $105.8 billion as of September 19, 2019, according to Forbes.
As one of the wealthiest men alive, Gates has given away much of his riches to charity and encouraged other billionaires to do the same. In 2019, Gates and Warren Buffet founded The Giving Pledge, which encourages those with wealth to give it away. Buffet was the fourth wealthiest man in the world in 2010.
Although Gates was a co-founder of Microsoft, along with Paul Allen, he only owns about 1 percent of shares in his company, according to Forbes. He gave away or sold many of his stakes. Gates gave away $35.8 billion in stakes to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates stepped down from Microsoft, but remains a member of its board.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bill Gates is the Second Wealthiest Man Alive & Earns About $380 Per Second
Bill Gates held the spot of wealthiest man in the world until Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, superseded Gates’ extreme wealth. Bezos has a net worth of $113.3 billion, according to Forbes.
It is hard for many people to fathom how rich Bill Gates is. Business Insider compiled some statistics to put his wealth in perspective. Gates earns about $380 per second, or about $22,831 per minute. His net worth is more than the combined GDP (gross domestic product) of Croatia, Cambodia and the Bahamas. He is also richer than the richest man in India and the richest man in China combined.
The average American man with a bachelor’s degree has lifetime earnings of $2.2 million, according to the Social Security Administration. Bill Gates earns that much money in about an hour and a half. The average American spending $1 is equivalent to Bill Gates spending about $1.06 million. But if Gates spent $1 million per day, it would take him about 285 years to spend his fortune, Business Insider reported.
2. Gates Gives Away About 27 Percent of His Net Worth & Has Given Away $35.8 Billion
Forbes notes that Gates has given away about 27 percent of his net worth and donated $35.8 billion in stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has given away or sold most of his stocks in Microsoft.
Bill and Melinda Gates were ranked No. 1 in charitable givings in 2017 by Making It. In 2018, they fell to 12th place, giving away an estimated $138 million to their Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They donated about $4.78 billion in 2017, according to MSNBC. The Gates have given a total of $45.5 billion through their foundation and other family foundations, dating back to 1994.
In 2016, Gates launched Breakthrough Energy, which included a $1 billion investment from the Gates and 20 other wealthy people with interest in fighting climate change.
3. Gates Added About $17 Billion to his Net Worth in 2019 & Has 60 Percent Invested in Equities
Gates added $17 billion to his net worth in 2019, even though he gave away about $35 billion to charity, CNBC reported. He has 60 percent of his wealth invested in equities, an aggressive investment strategy which has proven extraordinarily lucrative for Gates.
“We’re not, you know, in some defensive posture where we’re mostly in cash, or anything like that,” Gates told Bloomberg Television. “The strategy that’s been used on the investments is to be over 60% in equities.”
The average American had about 32 percent of wealth in stocks, according to CNBC.
“You can make the case that the yields aren’t very high but that’s true against all asset classes,” Gates told Bloomberg. “T-bills, 10-Year are well less than 2%, so there’s no obvious thing to beat other investors out there and there’s reasons to think absolute returns for the next decade will be less than they have been for the last several decades.”
4. Gates Owns a $127 Million Mansion Named Xanadu 2.0 Equipped With High-Tech Features
Bill Gates named his home Xanadu 2.0 after the fictional home of Charles Foster Kane of “Citizen Kane.” The mansion is in Medina, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. It took seven years, 300 construction workers and $63 million to buy the home, according to Business Insider.
The 66,000-square foot house has seven bedrooms and 18.75 bathrooms. It is built out of 300-year-old Douglas fir trees, according to Business Insider.
The home is predictably equipped with some high-tech features. Guests are given a pin when they visit, which allows them to input their climate and lighting preferences, which are changed as they move throughout the home. Speakers hidden behind wallpaper allow music to follow guests from room to room. The garage can hold up to 23 cars. It also has six kitchens, a hall that can seat up to 150 people and a home theater which can accommodate up to 20 guests, according to Business Insider.
The lake-front property also has a beach with sands imported from St. Lucia by barge. The original property was removed from the land on a barge, which serves as an equally high-tech, floating guest house, Business Insider reported.
5. Gates Wears a $10 Watch & Has a Library That Includes a $30.8 Million Leonardo da Vinci Manuscript
Despite Bill Gates extreme wealth, he has some frugal habits. He wears a $10 watch and washes his own dishes, according to Money.
In contrast, he dropped $30.8 million for one of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, called the Codex Leicester, according to Fast Company.
“It’s an inspiration that one person–off on their own, with no feedback, without being told what was right or wrong–that he kept pushing himself, that he found knowledge itself to be the most beautiful thing,” Gates told the publication.
The manuscript is one of Gates’ prized possessions in his 2,100-square foot library, which has a dome roof and two secret bookcases, one which reveals a bar. A quote from The Great Gatsby adorns the ceiling, which says: “He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it,” according to Business Insider.
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