Do you know what the really interesting thing about Billionaires is? There are so many more today than ever before. Even though there is a global financial crisis and more than half of the developed world has been lurching from one economic crisis to another the good old money making press has been hard at work.
According to Forbes Magazine and their 2014 list there were 1,645 billionaires scattered to the four corners of the Earth (sorry, caveat – Antarctica doesn’t count because penguins other than the movies don’t run large corporate conglomerates).
In the United States alone there are 492 with Bill Gates leading the charge and helped along by friends like Warren Buffet.
Wang Jianlin heads the list China’s 152 billionaires (he is huge in property development and real estate) while that old styled oligarch Alishar Usmanov takes out the leader of the pack status for Russia’s 111 up and coming (although with what is happening in the Ukraine at the moment I wonder what the list will be like in 2015 if those sanctions take hold).
Mexico has 16 billionaires, the UK 47, Australia has 29 (who’s list leader is mining magnate Gina Rinehart “last seen on the back of a flat-bed truck”) and Indonesia is home to 19.So, with all of this wealth around and billionaires now being a dime a dozen (to put it crudely and not to offend anyone who isn’t really into billionaires) it got me thinking.
Sure, Bill Gates tops the list but if we were in a different time in say 25-30 years would billionaires be nothing more than millionaires and what would it take to replace “bill” with “trill” and take out the top prize of the world’s first “trillionaire”.
Credit Suisse put it really well in its annual growth report when they said: “Two generations ahead, future extrapolation of current wealth growth rates yields almost a billion millionaires, equivalent to 20% of the total adult population,” and “If this scenario unfolds, then billionaires will be commonplace, and there is likely to be a few trillionaire too – eleven according to our best estimate.”
So eleven they say? So who will it be?
Yahoo Finance provided their list below but there are just too many variables at heart here!
Personally I am going to go with the “Prince George of Cambridge” bet. He is young (can’t yet walk) so in theory he will outlive the others. Has a huge opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors and rebuild that pesky empire, sits on a swag of loot (a very British term) from art to estates and those shiny crown jewels.
In all seriousness though the Credit Suisse report is right – if we follow on trend than billionaires will in fact be common place and there will be trillionaire.
But that denotes another economic truth that we need to consider – the gap between those who don’t have much (who are in the majority) versus those who do (in the minority) and for those 11 to get to trillionaire status what it means in terms of their influence and reach over the lives of the rest of us.
So who would I rather have as the world’s first trillionaire – Bill Gates – because at least I know he would give it all away.
See the Yahoo Finance list below and tell us who you think will be first trillionaire on earth?
Bill Gates: The Microsoft founder recently reclaimed his spot as the world’s richest person with a net worth of about $72 billion. He’s a long shot to get to a trillion, though, due to his age – he’s currently 57 – and the fact that a large portion of his wealth is tied up in Microsoft’s stock, which hasn’t been performing too well in recent years. He’s also extremely charitable, and has stated that his goal is to give away the bulk of his fortune by the time he dies. That won’t help Gates if he wants to become the world’s first trillionaire.
Carlos Slim: Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim lost the title of “world’s richest” in September 2013 when the value of his stock portfolio fell by a fraction of a percent, leaving him with a mere $69 billion in net worth. Still, he does make a fair case to be the world’s first trillionaire – his assets are spread across a number of industries, including construction and manufacturing, and he remains one of the primary players in the Mexican economy. But he is 73 years old and would need to boost his fortune more than 14 times over in his remaining years to reach the trillion-dollar mark.
Larry Ellison: The billionaire founder of Oracle (ORCL) likes to throw his $43 billion fortune around, recently hosting the America’s Cup sailing competition in his home city of San Francisco, but the bulk of his wealth is tied up in Oracle stock. He owns about one-quarter of the company, which means his own fortunes will rise and fall alongside the notoriously fickle technology sector.
His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge: He certainly has the age advantage, having been born just this past July, but the son of the UK’s Prince William and Princess Kate (also known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) likely won’t be appearing on any trillionaire lists in his lifetime. That’s because the bulk of the royal family’s wealth is tied up in land holdings and the crown jewels, which technically belong to Britain, not the family. Even Queen Elizabeth II, the richest of the bunch, can only claim $515 million or so in personal holdings.
The House of Saud: Saudi Arabia’s royal family is a different story and, in fact, the 2,000 or so members of the core group already control a fortune estimated at over $1.4 trillion, based on their land holdings (the entire country technically belongs to them) and multi-generational oil wealth. Still, it takes one person, not 2,000, to make a trillionaire, and the price of oil needs to keep rising if any members of the family want to stay in the hunt.
Leon Musk: The PayPal/Space X/Tesla founder is our front-runner here at Yahoo Finance due to his amazingly diverse holdings and the fact that, at just 42 years of age, he has plenty of time to create even more wealth. Sure, Musk is only worth about $6 billion as of 2013, but if even one of his world-changing ideas takes off in a major way – electric cars, commercial space travel, ultra-high speed rail – that number will likely increase exponentially.
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