NEW YORK CITY, DPA – The 10 richest people in the world added 400 billion US dollars to their already enormous fortunes in 2021.
The biggest gainer was Elon Musk, who started the year with a net worth of 156 billion dollars and will end it with around 277 billion dollars, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Tesla founder said he’s planning to pay more than 11 billion dollars in taxes.
Musk’s 121-billion-dollar gain was smaller than the 140 billion dollars he made in 2020, but was more than enough to make him the richest person alive by a long shot.
He has been spending part of that fortune on his rocket ventures. SpaceX, the private rocket company he founded in 2002, has already launched more than 1,600 satellites, including a recent launch on December 18.
His closest competitor and fellow rocket-building billionaire, Jeff Bezos, will enter 2022 worth 190 billion dollars. That’s a mere 4.5-billion-dollar gain since this time last year.
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The 57-year-old, who stepped down from his CEO role at Amazon in July, now spends most of his free time vacationing with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez. The couple were spotted on a yacht in St. Barts over Christmas.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg added nearly 25 billion dollars to his fortune in 2020. He’s worth 128 billion dollars, according to Bloomberg.
Zuckerberg, who changed the name of Facebook’s holding company to Meta this year, has had a turbulent year, which saw whistleblower Frances Haugen accusing him of putting “profits before people,” and Hawaiians angered after he added 110 acres to his controversial 1,500-acre estate in Kauai.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates began the new year worth 139 billion dollars. He entered 2021 with a value of 132 billion dollars. His former wife, Melinda French Gates – who ended their 27 year marriage in August – reportedly has a net worth of 11.4 billion dollars.
Google co-founder Larry Page cracked the 12-digit club in 2021 by adding 47 billion dollars to the 83 billion dollars he had coming into this year. Fellow Google co-founder Sergey Brin also enjoyed that distinction by becoming worth 125 billion dollars, thanks to a 2021 gain of 45 billion dollars.
French luxury goods peddler Bernard Arnault also saw his fortune leap to 176 billion dollars after hauling in more than 61 billion dollars. He’s the only billionaire outside the US to have cracked Bloomberg’s 2021 top 10 list in terms of total wealth.
All 10 of those power players are worth more than 100 billion dollars. The 11th-wealthiest person on the list, also from France, is Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who’s valued at nearly 94 billion dollars. The heiress is the richest woman alive.