Although wealth can be measured in a number of ways depending on the individual, there’s no denying that some people are richer than others… by billions of dollars. In our modern society, some are monetarily wealthy enough to live the life that many only dream of. Not only that, these individuals can afford to live their same extravagant life hundreds of times over without making a dent in their bank account. These are the richest individuals of 2021, according to Forbes.
#30 Daniel Gilbert – $41.7 Billion
Born in 1962, Daniel Gilbert is an American billionaire from his success as the co-founder of Quicken Loans, founder of Rock Ventures, and the owner of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
Moreover, in the sports world, he owns the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monster and NBA G League’s Canton Charge. As if that wasn’t enough, he operates the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the chairman of JACK Entertainment, which just opened its first Horseshoe Casino.
#29 Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr. – $42 Billion
Beate Heister and her brother Karl Albrecht Jr. are the two children of Karl Albrecht, the man who founded the supermarket chain Aldi alongside his brother, Theo. Beate Heister, her husband Peter, and her son all sit on Aldi’s advisory board.
However, Beate Heister is known to be reclusive. Karl Albrecht Jr. worked in various roles for Aldi until he was forced to resign due to a cancer diagnosis, although he thankfully recovered.
#28 François Pinault – $43.9 Billion
François Pinault is a French businessman that is the founder of Kerig and the investment company Artémis. Unsurprisingly, Pinault didn’t start out as a billionaire and began his career as a small business owner in the timber industry during the 1960s.
The company was taken public in 1988, transitioned to specialized retail business, and changed its name to PRR. After his major success in business, in 2003, he turned over the leadership of his companies to his eldest son to pursue his passion for contemporary art.
#27 Tadashi Yanai – $44.7 Billion
Tadashi Yanai is a Japanese-born billionaire, who acquired much of his wealth as the founder and president of Fast Retailing, which is the parent company of the popular Uniqlo, and translates to mean “unique clothing”.
Currently, Yanai resides in Japan and lives in a $50 million, 16,586 square-foot house just outside of the city of Tokyo. He also owns two golf courses in Hawaii. In 2020, he was named the richest man in all of Japan.
#26 Julia Koch – $44.9 Billion
After her husband, David Koch’s death in August 2019, Julia Koch and her children inherited a 42% stake in Koch Industries. Julia moved to New York City in the 1980s and worked as an assistant to the fashion designer Adolfo, meeting David on a blind date in 1991.
Six months later, the two began dating and were married in 1996. Today, her net worth is more than $40 billion, although she has been generous with her donations.
#25 Charles Koch – $44.9 Billion
An American businessman and philanthropist, Charles Koch has been the co-owner, chairman, and CEO of Koch Industries since 1967, while his brother, David Koch, acts as the executive vice president. The two brothers each own 42% of the business, which they inherited from their father, Fred C. Koch, and built upon their father’s company.
Although the company started out in the oil refinery business, Koch Industries now includes numerous other equipment, technologies, and products. In a 2010 survey, Koch Industries was the second-largest privately held company by revenue in the United States.
#24 Phil Knight – $52.8 Billion
Phil Knight is the co-founder and chairman of Nike Inc., and once held the position as the CEO and chairman of the company. Knight’s education included the University of Oregon and Stanford Graduate School of Business.
During that time, he ran under track coach Bill Bowerman, who would end up co-founding Nike with him. On top of his work with Nike, Knight is also the owner of the stop-motion production company Laika. He’s also well known for making sizable donations to his alma maters.
#23 Michael Bloomberg – $54.9 Billion
Michael Bloomberg is a businessman and politician. Currently, he is the majority and co-founder of Bloomberg L.P., and at one point served as the mayor of New York City. However, his work in politics didn’t stop there, as he was a candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
After graduating from John Hopkins University and Harvard Business School, Bloomberg went to work at Solomon Companies before forming his own company in 1981 known as Bloomberg L.P.
#22 MacKenzie Scott – $55.2 Billion
MacKenzie Scott is an American novelist and philanthropist, with her net worth making her the second-wealthiest woman in the world. Helping launch Amazon, she is also known for her divorce from Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.
She is one of many wealthy individuals to be a part of the Giving Pledge, committing to giving away at least half of her wealth to charity. For her published works and as the executive director of Bystander Revolution, she was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
#21 Colin Zheng Huang – $59.2 Billion
Colin Zheng Huang was born in China and quickly grew his fortune. Born to the parents of factory workers, Hung worked his way through school, eventually graduating with a masters’ degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin in 2014.
He made his billions after becoming the founder and CEO of the e-commerce company Pinduoduo, which was introduced in the Cayman Islands. Furthermore, Huang is also the owner of three or more limited liability Cayman companies, all of which own a 7.7% stake in his e-commerce business.
#20 Carlos Slim Helu – $60.4 Million
Carlos Slim Helu is a Mexican businessman, investor, and philanthropist. Incredibly between 2010 to 2013, he was named the richest person in the world by Forbes. Through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso, Slim was able to make massive earnings through several Mexican companies.
His conglomerate involves a vast range of industries ranging from health care, education, sports, real estate, manufacturing, and more. Besides, he accounts for more than 40% of the listings on the Mexican Stock Exchange.
#19 Jack Ma – $60.5 Billion
Jack Ma is the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a massive multinational tech conglomerate. Ma is also a global ambassador for Chinese business, with Forbes ranking him as No.1 on their “World’s Most Powerful People” list.
A proponent of startup businesses, in 2017, Ma was also named second in Fortune’s “Worlds 50 Greatest Leaders” list. In 2018, Jack Ma announced he would retire from Alibaba to focus on education and philanthropy work.
#18 Ma Huateng – $63.7 Billion
Also known as Pony Ma, Ma Huateng is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer at Tencent, which, at the moment, is not only one of Asia’s biggest companies but one of the largest Internet, technology, gaming, and entertainment businesses in the world.
The company is also in charge of developing China’s biggest mobile instant messaging service called WeChat. Despite his success, Pony Ma is mostly reserved compared to some others who share his same status.
#17 Rob Walton – $66.6 Billion
Samuel “Rob” Walton is the heir to Walmart, which is currently the world’s largest retailer. After graduating from college from Columbia Law School, he became a lawyer at the firm that represented Walmart, Conner & Winters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, eventually leaving to become the Walmart senior vice president.
In 1982, he was then appointed chairman of Walmart, a position that he held from 1992 to 2015. Along with his siblings, he has also pledged around $2 billion to the Walton Family Foundation.
#16 Jim Walton – $67 Billion
Jim Walton is the brother of Rob Walton and is also an heir to the Walmart fortune. Jim joined Walmart in 1972 and was involved in real estate before moving to Walton Enterprises as president in 1975.
In 2005, he replaced his deceased brother, John, on the Walmart Board of Directors, and among other things was the CEO of the family-owned Arvest Bank, Chairman of newspaper firm Community Publishers Inc., and more. He has also pledged $2 billion to the family foundation.
#15 Alice Walton – $67.2 Billion
The sister of the two Walton brothers, Rob and Jim, Alice is the third heir to the Walton family fortune. She graduated from the University of San Antonio, Texas, with a B.A. in economics.
She went on to work as an equity analyst, and money manager for First Commerce Corporation then worked at Arvest Bank Group, and was finally a broker for EF Hutton. She also started her own investment bank, Llama Company, where she served as the president, chairwoman, and CEO.
#14 Francoise Bettencourt – $70.4 Billion
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is a French billionaire heiress. The only daughter of Liliane Bettencourt, her family owns the world-famous company L’Oréal. Her mother died in September 2007, which made her one of the 20 richest people in the world.
Being raised in a Catholic household, Bettencourt has written several Bible commentaries and works on Jewish-Christian relationships. After the fire that damaged Notre-Dame de Paris, Bettencourt and L’Oréal donated a hefty $226 million towards the repair of the historic cathedral.
#13 Amancio Ortega – $73.7 Billion
Amancio Ortega Gaona is the founder and former chairman of Inditex fashion group, which is the parent company of the clothing chain, Zara. For a short time in 2015, Ortega was named the richest man in the world, passing Bill Gates, when his net worth reached $80 billion as Inditex’s stock skyrocketed.
Interestingly, Ortega has always been in the clothing business, learning how to make clothes by hand in his youth, and opening up his first Zara store with his wife Roselia Mera in 1975.
#12 Steve Ballmer – $75.8 Billion
An American investor and businessman, Steven Ballmer served as Microsoft’s chief executive officer from 2000 to 2014. Today, he is the owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.
In 1980, Ballmer was personally hired by Bill Gates which caused him to leave the Stanford University MBA program he was enrolled in. Just eight years later, he rose to the position of president, replacing Bill Gates as CEO on January 13, 2000. However, his time in the position as Microsoft’s CEO garnered mixed reviews.
#11 Mukesh Ambani – $79.3 Billion
Born in 1957, Mukesh Ambani is currently the chairman, managing director, and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s most valuable company at market value and a Fortune Global 500 company.
Ambani’s work on Reliance began during his time attending the Stanford University MBA program, which he left to help his father with the growing company. To this day, Ambani is the only Indian businessman to be on Forbe’s list of the world’s most powerful people.
#10 Sergey Brin – $79.9 Billion
Sergey Brin is a computer scientist and entrepreneur. While attending Stanford University for a Ph.D. in mathematic in computer science, he met Larry Page. Working together in Susan Wojcicki’s garage in Menlo Park, California, the two co-founded Google.
Brin was co-founder and the president of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., since its inception before stepping down in 2019. Today, both Brin and Page remain at Alphabet as co-founders, controlling shareholders, board members, and ironically, employees.
#9 Larry Page – $82.3 Billion
Along with Sergey Brin, Larry Page is the other co-founder of Google. From 1997 until 2001, Page served as the chief executive officer of Google before stepping down in order for Eric Schmidt to take over, and once again from April 2011 until July 2015.
Not long after, he became the CEO of Alphabet Inc., where he held the position until December 4, 2019, although he is still a board member and a controlling shareholder of the company.
#8 Larry Ellison – $87.1 Billion
Lawrence Joseph Ellison is the chief executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle Corporation. Although he had a rough upbringing, after completing his education, he went on to work at Ampex in the early 1970s and began Oracle in 1977. The company was inspired by a paper written by Edgar F. Codd on relational database systems.
The company became a database vendor that competed with the likes of Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server, making Ellison an incredibly rich and influential individual in the field of technology.
#7 Warren Buffett – $88.3 Billion
Warren Buffett is a master investor and the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. After attending the New York Institute of Finance, Buffett became involved in several business partnerships, creating Buffett Partnership, Ltd in 1956, eventually acquiring the firm Berkshire Hathaway.
Buffett has remained the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway since 1970 and is considered one of the most successful investors in the world. Today, he is referred to as the “oracle” or Sage of Omaha, Nebraska, by media sources.
#6 Zhong Shanshan – $91.8 Billion
Zhong Shanshan founded Nongfu Spring, which is currently the largest beverage company in China and is also the owner of the mega pharmaceutical brand Wantai. In 1996, Shanshan founded Nongfu Spring, a producer of bottled water, which over the years climbed to become a massive beverage company.
Currently, Zhong owns 84.4% of the company with his wife’s relatives owning an additional 6.2% combined. When the company went public in September 2020, it raised almost $1.1 billion in its initial public offering.
#5 Mark Zuckerberg – $97.9 Billion
Best known for co-founding Facebook Inc., Mark Zuckerberg currently serves as the company’s chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder. While attending Harvard University, Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his dorm room on February 4, 2004, with his roommates, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew Collum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.
Initially just for college campuses, by 2012, the platform had over 1 billion users. By 2007, Zuckerberg was the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at 23-years-old and took the company public in 2012. Today, Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms in the world.
#4 Bill Gates – $121.6 Billion
Bill Gates is a software developer, businessman, and philanthropist, best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. Gates co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975.
Starting small, the company grew to become the largest personal computer software company in the world. At Microsoft, Gates has held positions as chairman, chief executive officer, president, and chief software engineer, and has been the largest individual shareholder up until May 2014. Today, he’s one of the world’s most famous billionaires.
#3 Bernard Arnault – $148.54 Billion
Bernard Arnault is a French billionaire and the chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moet Hennessey – Louis Vuitton SE, the largest luxury goods company globally.
In April 2018, the success of his businesses made him the richest person in the fashion industry, finally beating out Amancio Ortega of Zara. Not long after, he also held the title of the richest person in the world, surpassing Jeff Bezos in December 2019 and once again for a period of time in January 2020.
#2 Elon Musk – $181.3 Billion
Elon Musk is quite literally a jack of all trades, with his eggs in multiple baskets. He is the CEO, CTO, and chief designer of SpaceX, an early investor, CEO, and project architect of Tesla, Inc., the co-founder, and co-chairman of Open AI, co-founder of Neuralink, and founder of The Boring Company.
He has been on the list of the World’s Most Powerful People, Most Innovative Leaders of 2019, and was the richest person in the world for a week in January 2021.
#1 Jeff Bezos – $188.3 Billion
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, started his company in late 1994 while on a cross-country road trip from New York City to Seattle, which began as an online bookstore, and is now one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world.
It has also made major transitions into other services such as artificial intelligence and streaming. Bezos was named the “richest man in modern history” in 2018 after his net worth exceeded $150 billion, and he is the first person in history to have a net worth of over $200 billion.