The Ultra-rich Will Always Be With Us
The World’s Richest Man
I apologise for not writing for a while, but I was away for a short break and it is sometimes difficult to “get back in the saddle” as far as writing is concerned! Before I left, I spotted an article on Forbes.com which stated that Jeff Bezos, the World’s richest man, was now richer than ever. He had, in fact, “crossed a milestone previously unseen in the nearly four decades Forbes has been tracking net worths” by becoming the World’s first ever person to have a net worth of over $200 billion! He is probably even wealthier by now, of course, but at the time the article was written Bezos was worth $204.6 billion: nearly $90 billion more than Bill Gates (the World’s second richest man).
What Does 200 Billion Dollars Look Like?
It is difficult to get your head round figures like these, so I thought it might be interesting to find out (with the help of Google) how high a pile of 200 billion US dollar bills would be. The answer is 13,580 miles (0.545 of the circumference of the Earth)! To look at it another way, how long do you think it would take to count $200 billion, assuming it took 1 second to count each dollar bill? The answer is 6,342 years!
Bezos The Cockroach
Bezos’ net worth in January was a mere $115 billion. He has an 11% stake in Amazon, which accounts for 90% of his fortune. The current pandemic has brought total misery (or death) to millions of individuals, and it has sent very many business to the wall, but the resulting changes in consumer habits have been very beneficial to Amazon, causing its stock to rise by nearly 80% this year. This has been nothing but good news for the bold Jeff. I often think Bezos is comparable to a cockroach in his ability not only to survive, but to thrive in a global crisis. The only difference I can think of is that, contrary to popular belief, cockroaches would, apparently, not survive Nuclear Armageddon, whereas you get the feeling Bezos would still manage to make a fast buck out of the situation!
A Slightly Expensive Divorce
The article makes the point that Bezos would be even richer now if he hadn’t had the most expensive divorce in history last year! His ex-wife MacKenzie Scott relieved him of 25% of his Amazon stake: now worth $63 billion. At the time the article was written, Scott was the World’s 14th richest person and second richest woman.
It’s Easy To Be Ultra-rich!
In a World of burgeoning wealth inequality, there are an increasing number of centibillionaires many, but not all, of whom are household names. Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are two recent additions. However, you don’t need to aspire to anywhere near these dizzy heights to be labelled one of the ultra-rich: an ultra-high net worth individual (UHNWI). According to Investopedia, all you need to join the club are “investable assets of at least $30 million, usually excluding personal assets and property such as a primary residence, collectibles and consumer durables.”. UHNWIs hold an astoundingly disproportionate share of the wealth of the World. Studies suggest they have 7.2 percent of total global wealth, yet they represent only 0.002% of the world population!
How The Ultra-rich Think
“If you have that much money, what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?”, you may ask, but that is a subject for another time. There is also the topic of philanthropy and the ultra-rich: “That has to be a good thing, right?”. Actually, like most other things in the modern World, the answer is much more complex than that! Have a nice day, and keep buying all that stuff from Amazon: Jeff doesn’t want to lose his spot! 😡
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