Wondering how far smarts and fierce drive can get you? Take a look at this year’s list of the world’s wealthiest people. On it, you’ll find computer whizzes, fashion manufacturers, and self-made billionaires.
1. Carlos Slim Helu – This year’s wealthiest person is Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu. His stake in America Movil rose 35% in a single year; he now owns a stake worth approximately $23 billion. Helu’s total worth is estimated at $53.5 billion, up $18.5 billion in just 12 months.
2. Bill Gates – Helu edges out Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who comes in at number two with an estimated worth of $53 billion, thanks largely to 50% growth in the price of Microsoft stock. Gates had previously held the title of world’s richest in 14 of the past 15 years.
3. Warren Buffet – Investing guru Warren Buffet has an estimated worth of $47 billion after a $10 billion jump in his stake at Berkshire Hathaway. Buffet made major investments amid the 2008 market collapse, notably in Goldman Sachs.
4. Mukesh Ambani – Leader of Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company, Mukesh Ambani inherited his corporate stake from his father, who founded the company. Reliance has recently spent billions in acquisitions and bids for troubled foreign companies. Ambani’s pockets are said to hold approximately $29 billion in total assets.
5. Lakshmi Mital – Mital runs ArcellorMital, the world’s largest steel manufacturer. When profits fell 75% in 2009, Mital took a 12% pay cut. After the lag improved, the steel giant went up almost a third in a single year. Mital’s total worth is an estimated $28.7 billion.
6. Laurence Ellison – The self made founder of database giant Oracle has seen his company’s stock prices leap 70% in 12 months, after acquisitions of 57 companies. Those acquired include Sun Microsystems and BEA Systems. His estimated worth is $28 billion.
7. Bernard Arnault – The French fashion company head has seen a revived interest in luxury fashion propel his fortune to a purported $27.5 billion. Arnault’s LVMH is the manufacturer of Luis Vuitton, and the company is now developing Shanghai business property.
8. Eike Batista – Brazil’s richest man saw his net worth rise $19.5 billion to a total of $27 billion in a single year, backing Batista’s stated ambition of becoming the world’s richest person. Batista has made money in mining but most of his wealth comes from his oil and gas exploration company, OGX.
9. Amancio Ortega – The Spanish fashion mogul’s company has 4,500 stores in 73 countries. In addition to marketing brand names Zara and Massimo Dutti, his company has invested in commercial and apartment real estate. His total fortune is said to be worth $25 billion.
10. Karl Albrecht – The 90 year-old German owner of discount supermarket chain Aldi is estimated to be worth $23.5 billion. He and his younger brother began the company from their family grocery just after World War II.
True, many of these billionaires inherited family companies and watched them grow. However, a notable number are self-made, particularly richest Americans Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Entrepreneurship and elbow grease is what does it, so get started.
Published or updated April 4, 2013.