Reports estimate there are currently around 500 billionaires in the U.S. Statistically speaking, this means that the average person has a better chance of being struck by lightning or becoming the President than becoming a billionaire. Is Bill Gates part of this top percentile?
Bill Gates is a billionaire. He has a net worth of over $100 billion. Not only is he a multi-billionaire, but he’s also one of the richest people in the world. Despite this, Bill and his wife Melinda have pledged to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy and charitable causes, with their children inheriting just $10 million each.
If you’re keen to find out how Bill Gates makes and spends his multi-billion-dollar fortune, keep reading!
The Billionaire Formula
It probably comes as no surprise that Bill Gates primarily made his fortune through Microsoft, which he co-founded with Paul Allen in 1975. Right from the outset, Gates had a majority share in tech-company – he owned 60%, and Allen owned 40%.
The success of MS-DOS, which was initially created for IBM, generated Gates his first million. This wealth multiplied steadily until 1986 when Gates took Microsoft public. With an initial public offering of $21 per share, Gates retained 24.7 million shares, making him an overnight multi-millionaire.
As with all public stock, the value of Bill’s Microsoft shares has fluctuated over time. But in 1987, the stock hit an all-time high of $90.75 a share. In turn, this made Gates the world’s youngest billionaire.
From a small partnership between two friends at Harvard University, Microsoft has grown to become a trillion-dollar company. So it’s no surprise that Gates is currently worth around $102 billion.
Despite this, Gates’ net worth could be significantly higher. Unlike other billionaires, Bill is aware of his privilege and doesn’t want to be a money hoarder. In 2010, Bill signed the Giving Pledge in which he promised to donate most of his wealth before he dies.
Alongside this, Gates has been continually selling his Microsoft stock, and now owns less than 1% of the company. Since its inception in 2000, he has also donated more than $36 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Speaking of their shared mentality towards money, Melinda said:
“It’s not fair that we have so much wealth when billions of others have so little. And it’s not fair that our wealth opens doors that are closed to most people”.
What Does He Spend It On?
He may not be the type to boast about his luxuries on Instagram, but this doesn’t mean that Bill lives a modest life. Here are some of Bill Gates’ most expensive purchases:
- Xanadu 2.0
In 1988 Gates purchased a plot of land in Medina, Washington, which he has converted into a mega-mansion. The 66,000 square foot home took several years and $63 million to complete and features a 2,100 square foot library, trampoline room, and 60-foot pool.
- Bombardier BD-700 Global Express
Speaking to Ellen DeGeneres in 2018, Gates said: “Eventually for my travel, I got a plane, which is a huge indulgence”. The private jet reportedly cost $40 million and can seat up to 19 people. Its registration number is N887WM, with the ‘WM’ being a reference to Bill’s parents William and Mary Gates.
- Grand Bogue Caye
If you’re wondering where Gates travels on his private jet, the answer is his private island (of course!). Located off the coast of Belize, Gates purchased an entire tropical island called Grand Bogue Caye. It’s unclear how much Bill paid for the 400-acre island, but it’s currently worth around $25 million.
- Codex Leicester
As an avid reader, Gates undoubtedly spends a lot of money on books. In line with this, he owns one of the most expensive books in the world – a collection of writings by Leonardo da Vinci. In 1994, Gates paid $30.8 million for the Codex Leicester, which was written between 1506 and 1510. He now has the manuscript on display in his Washington home.