Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates was listed as the richest man in the world for 13 years straight until he was surpassed by Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú last year.
Now, there is a new a new man
at the top; Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway stock rose significantly this year, is now the world's richest man.
As MSNBC reports: "The race for the title of World's Richest Man has been extremely competitive in recent months. Class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway soared 25 percent between the middle of July and the day we priced our list. The stock hit an all-time high of $150,000 a share in December. At that time Buffett was worth roughly $65 billion."
Carlos Slim Helú is the world’s second richest man, worth an estimated $60 billion. His fortunes increased more than $11 billion last year.
As MSNBC reports:
"Slim's fortune has doubled in the past two years. Stock in his most significant holding, telecom outfit America Movil, has risen 120 percent since the beginning of 2006. Helú also owns stakes in Carso Global Telecom, Grupo Carso and Grupo Financiero Inbursa.
Gates is now worth $58 billion and will retire this year. He would have become richer than the two if Microsoft had purchased Yahoo, as their combined stock would have made him quite wealthy. The deal with Yahoo didn’t materialize, however, and Microsoft shares fell 15 per cent after Jan. 31 when they announced interest in buying Yahoo. That being the case, Gates' stock declined slightly.
Gates also owns other shares outside of Microsoft.
Back to Buffet: Berkshire Hathaway shares are the priciest; they closed at $137,100 per share on Tuesday. Their shares seem to perform well compared to other stocks like Google, Apple, which have declined considerably over the last few months. Between 1965 and 2006, Berkshire stock returned an average of 21.4 per cent a year.
Even though Buffett is at the top now, the “World’s Richest Man” title will be only temporary; he is planning to donate most of his stock to charities and the majority of it will go to his friend Bill Gates’ charity “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”.
When he announced the donation, it was valued at $31 billion but with shares continuing to rise, the total amount will be even greater. In addition to this, Buffett donates 5 per cent of his shares to charity every July.
Buffett has also publicly said the rich should pay more taxes. In Oct. 2007, he told Forbes that rich people pay less tax as a percentage of income than their secretaries. He also appeared before Congress to argue they keep the estate tax that Congress was considering terminating. He said in the hearing that "dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise."