The rapid development of PCs has shaped our world more than any other development, and perhaps the person most responsible for that is Bill Gates. Gates created a technological empire in Microsoft MSFT. He made millions and quickly turned them into billions.
Bill Gates helped popularize the internet and became a notable figure so quickly that for decades now people have been intrigued by him and his incredible wealth. Blame him for the hundreds, if not thousands of websites dedicated entirely to celebrity net worth. The internet has become obsessed as he continues to amass wealth in record-breaking ways.
Gates hasn't played a major role in the operations of Microsoft since his retirement, but the legacy of the company, combined with his continued charitable efforts, has kept him in the public eye. He continues to find himself at or near the top of polls for the most admired man in the world after all this time.
But how much is he worth, and how did he get to that point?
What Is Bill Gates Net Worth?
As of this writing, Bill Gates has a net worth of approximately $91.3 billion.
That number is already incredibly impressive before realizing how many of his Microsoft shares he has given away over the years. Microsoft may be his baby, but these days he only has a 1.3% stake in the company. According to The Verge, his latest donation, in 2017, was $4.6 billion worth of shares.
How Much Money Does Bill Gates Make in a Year?
Forbes magazine tracks the richest people in the world on a year-to-year basis. According to them, from 2017 to 2018 he went from being worth $86 billion to be worth $90 billion. That means in 2017, Gates' net worth increased by $4 billion in one year alone.
...$4 billion in a single year.
That averages out to approximately $10,959,000 a day, which is also about $456,625 per hour, $7,610 per minute, and $127 per second. That means in the time it took me to calculate that and write it out, Gates likely made tens of thousands of dollars. You're welcome, Bill.
Is Bill Gates the Richest Man in the World?
Gates is often the first person people think of as the richest man in the world, and though it was a good guess for a while, he's not the richest man in the world right now.
Jeff Bezos, founder, and CEO of Amazon has run away with the title of "world's richest person" of late. Forbes had Bezos at $112 billion when its list of the richest was published and has him worth $126.5 billion as of this writing. His worth is more directly tied to Amazon than Gates' worth currently is to Microsoft, which is how Bezos's worth has skyrocketed.
How Much Money Did Bill Gates Make From Microsoft?
A private-school attendee with a father who made a partner at a law firm, Gates isn't exactly a rag to riches story. But he made his initial wealth through hard work on his projects, and that brings us to the mid-1970s when Gates and Paul Allen first started Microsoft.
It was 1975 when Gates and Allen first created BASIC software for the Altair personal computer, and over the next decade rapidly developed Microsoft into a multifaceted tech company with the potential to rake in profits. In the early 1980s, Microsoft developed the MS-DOS operating system and sold it to IBM for use on personal computers on a non-exclusive contract that allowed them to sell the OS to other companies. A few years later, the first Windows operating system was announced. By the time the company was ready to go public in 1986, they not only had the first Windows system but the initial iterations of Microsoft Word and Excel.
Gates' shares in Microsoft quickly made him a self-made millionaire with the release of the IPO, and not long after he was a billionaire at the age of 31.
As Microsoft went from trendy tech company to an integral part of our everyday lives, the value ballooned, and so did Gates' net worth. At its peak, in 1999, the New York Times noted that his combined Microsoft shares were worth nearly $100 billion. Not long after that, though, he stepped down as CEO and began donating billions in shares to focus on other endeavors. He stepped down as chairman in 2014 and currently has a technology adviser role there.
How Much is Bill Gates' House Worth?
One of Gates' more profitable investments is his place of residence. Bill Gates' house in Medina, Washington is so large in both size and price that it has its name, Xanadu 2.0, and its own Wikipedia page.
Xanadu 2.0, which is 66,000 square feet and took 7 years to finish, is exactly what you'd expect a billionaire to do when throwing their money at dream home. A trampoline room, a 60-foot pool, an underground garage, an enormous library with secret bookcases, 24 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens are just part of what made this such a time-consuming affair, and what makes it worth so much money now.
It cost $63 million to create and was finished in 2005. In 2017, the King County Department of Assessments valued Bill Gates' house at $127.484 million. Not bad at all. Did I mention it has a beach?
Bill Gates' Real Estate Properties
In addition to Xanadu 2.0, Gates has various other real estate properties he owns as well. In 2014, he purchased a southern California horse ranch from Jenny Craig, paying $18 million. It wasn't his first ranch; back in 2009, be bought one in Wyoming for around $9 million. What could make a seemingly random ranch in Wyoming worth that much? It was once owned by none other than Buffalo Bill.
Gates also owns a large mansion in Wellington, Florida. At the time, it was four acres and Gates paid nearly $9 million for it. With a major barn for horses, the property was bought so his daughter Jennifer could practice showjumping, which she does competitively. The Miami Herald claims he has also spent $18.5 million to add additional properties to this ranch.
Bill Gates' Cars & Planes
Gates has said he doesn't like to spend his wealth on frivolous things (OK, Mr. Trampoline Room). One of his guilty pleasures, though, is automobiles. A lover of classic fast cars, Gates has a number of them that could count as highly valued assets, including a few Porsches. He even bought a Porsche 959 Coupe, which is practically a collectible considering only 337 were made.
He may have sold his Porsche 911 Turbo for $80,000, but his garage isn't empty. He's still got his Jaguar XJ6 and a Ferrari 348, with several massive garages to house them and others. He doesn't bother with other luxuries a billionaire might want to own - there is no Bill Gates yacht, for example, though he has been seen lounging on yachts that cost $5 million just to rent for a week. But he does have a private jet to get around quicker, a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express that he referred to on Reddit as a "big splurge." That plane can cost around $40 million-$45 million.
Bill Gates' Investments
Gates is known as a brilliant mind for his technological achievements. But with the help of his investment portfolio manager Michael Larson, Gates has also been able to add to his fortune through some sound investments. Larson has been managing Gates' wealth since the mid-90s, and currently manages the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust via Cascade Investments, a holding firm Gates created in 1995.
Larson has helped him to develop an impressive portfolio that has been able to make Gates a lot of money in good economic periods and avoid catastrophic losses in downturns. Of course, it helps when a large part of that portfolio is the massively successful company Gates founded; though he has continued to decrease his shares in Microsoft, his remaining shares still make up a sizable chunk of his portfolio. The largest percentage of it, though, is thanks to his friend Warren Buffett. Holdings in Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B makes up nearly half of Gates' investment portfolio!
Other notable investments that have panned out nicely for Gates include Waste Management, Inc. WM, UPS UPS, Walmart WMT, and the Canadian National Railway CNI.
How Much Money Has Bill Gates Given to Charity?
Gates has his Microsoft billions, his enormous house, his cars, his jet, and his investments. So how, in 2018, is he not a trillionaire? He was already near $100 billion in 1999, after all.
However, he doesn't seem all that interested in hoarding his wealth or making sure he is forever the richest man. Instead, Gates feels he has a larger purpose, and much of that is donating his time and money to causes he finds worthy. That has meant giving away billions upon billions of dollars into him and his wife's charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
These billions have gone to causes all around the world; in 2018 the foundation announced $1 billion would be going toward fighting and potentially ending malaria - and that's in addition to the billions already spent on that cause. They have also given at least $1 billion toward Melinda's initiative for getting birth control to women all over the world.
Gates' foundation has also focused a considerable amount of money and effort toward K-12 education in the United States. This has yet to have the same impact their fight on disease globally has had (in addition to malaria, he has also put billions into eradicating polio, which Gates claims is nearly done). The foundation's support for the controversial Common Core led the Gates to come under fire by many education groups. Still, they have dedicated themselves not only to helping American children with education but evolving how they go about tackling that task. In February 2018, Gates told the Chicago Tribune that the foundation was researching the effects of racial and income inequalities on education.
It's the least they could do with such absurd riches. Bill Gates' insistence on using his money around the world (he plans on giving his entire fortune to charity) has pressured other billionaires, such as the aforementioned Bezos, to seek charitable endeavors to invest in, lest they look selfish compared to Gates.