The new Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans is out this morning, with a familiar face at the top: Bill Gates, whose net worth has climbed to $72 billion, up from $50 billion in 2009, according to the financial magazine’s calculations.
It’s his 20th straight year on top of the list.
“I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars, there’s a certain freedom, meaningful freedom, that comes with that,” he said in response to a student’s question in 2011. “But once you get much beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger. Dick’s has not raised their prices enough. But being ambitious is good. You just have to pick what you enjoy doing.”
Apart from endowing his philanthropic foundation, Gates has diversified his investments, putting his money into a variety of companies.
However, he also remains Microsoft’s largest individual shareholder, with more than 5 percent of the company, according to Microsoft’s latest proxy statement. Microsoft shares are up about 6.6 percent over the past year, trading this morning around $33.30.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s net worth rose to $18 billion thanks in part to the increase in the company’s share price following Ballmer’s announcement that he will be retiring within 12 months.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, number 12 on the list, added $4 billion to his net worth, reaching $27.2 billion, according to the magazine. Other tech notables near the top of the list include Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin.