The Ultimate Guide to Billionaires: Lords of Wealth and Influence

Explore the fascinating world of billionaires who shape our global economy, politics, and philanthropy. Dive into their wealth, the companies they helm, and their astounding impact on society.

Billionaires play an outsized role in shaping the global economy, politics, and philanthropy. According to Forbes, the world had 2,781 billionaires in 2024. Leading this lofty club is Bernard Arnault, the charismatic chairman of LVMH.

The Elite Influence Club

Titans of Technology and Business

The top billionaires predominantly hail from the technology sector, where they’re often deeply involved in the companies they founded. These billionaires harness vast resources and wield significant influence, both economically and politically.

Borrowing Against Their Wealth

Billionaires often avoid selling stock to reduce or defer taxes on unrealized capital gains. This allows them to borrow against their wealth, leveraging their assets while minimizing their tax liability.

Key Takeaways

  • Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, reigns as the richest person in the world with a net worth of $215 billion.
  • Not far behind is Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, among other technology titans such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison.
  • Eight out of the top ten billionaires made their fortunes in technology, with exceptions being Arnault and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway.

Profile: Bernard Arnault

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  • Age: 75
  • Residence: France
  • CEO and Chair: LVMH (LVMUY)
  • Net Worth: $215 billion
  • LVMH Ownership Stake: 48% ($199 billion)
  • Other Assets: $16.5 billion in cash

French national Bernard Arnault is the chair and CEO of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company. LVMH brands include Louis Vuitton, Hennessy, Marc Jacobs, and Sephora.

Most of Arnault’s wealth comes from his massive stake in LVMH, managed through the investment firm Financiere Agache. Arnault demonstrated early business acumen while working for his father’s construction firm and later reorganizing it into a successful real estate company. After acquiring luxury goods maker Financière Agache, he retained only Christian Dior and Le Bon Marché, later investing in LVMH and turning it into a global powerhouse.

Profile: Jeff Bezos

Alex Wong / Getty Images

  • Age: 60
  • Residence: United States
  • Founder and Executive Chair: Amazon (AMZN)
  • Net Worth: $201 billion
  • Amazon Ownership Stake: 9% ($168 billion)
  • Other Assets: Blue Origin ($15 billion private asset), The Washington Post, and $17.7 billion in cash

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1994 in his garage after resigning from the hedge fund D.E. Shaw. Amazon started as an online bookstore but transformed into a vast e-commerce platform. With acquisitions like Whole Foods and entry into the pharmacy business, Bezos drove Amazon to be one of the world’s largest retailers by 2024. After a public divorce and transferring stock to his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, Bezos remained a prominent figure with ventures like Blue Origin and the Washington Post.

Bezos’s Wealth Timeline

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	    title Bezos's Wealth Composition
Thursday, June 6, 2024