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$150 billion and counting: Meet the richest man in modern history

Jeff Bezos continues to shatter wealth records, with reports the Amazon founder spent a brief period yesterday as the richest human being in modern history.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index – “a dynamic measure of personal wealth based on changes in markets, the economy and Bloomberg reporting” – Bezos’ personal wealth cracked the US$150 billion mark after shares in his company soared during Amazon Prime Day.

Bloomberg went on to note, “That makes the Amazon chief executive officer richer than anyone else on earth since at least 1982, when Forbes published its inaugural wealth ranking.”

Amazon’s shares hit a record high of US$1841.95 to see Bezos’ fortune swell to unprecedented levels, although widespread glitches saw the stock settle back down by 0.5 per cent to $1822.49.

According to his May 2018 SEC filing, Bezos owns 16 per cent of Amazon in addition to investments in space exploration company Blue Origin, as well as the Washington Post, Business Insider and Aimmune Therapeutics.

“It’s hard to even put it in perspective,” Michael Cole, CEO of Cresset Family Office, told Bloomberg.

“It’s such a staggering number.”

To get an idea of just how staggering Bezos’ fortune is, compare it with the person ranked #2 on the Billionaires Index – Bill Gates.

The Microsoft founder is presently listed as having US$95.5 billion to his name – less than two-thirds of Bezos’ total.

What’s more, even if Gates’ personal wealth high-mark of $100 billion in 1999 is adjusted for inflation, he still falls short of Bezos, with that amount worth $149 billion today.

To give a little more perspective on what $150 billion looks like, Bloomberg report that it is equivalent to 0.773 per cent of the entire GDP of the United States and more than two million times the income of the median US household.

As for whether he’s going to follow Bill Gates’ example and start using his insane wealth to make the world a better place, time will tell. While Bezos has been relatively quiet on the philanthropy front to date, he announced in June that he was pursuing “two areas that I’m very excited about”.

About the author

Joe was Junior Vice-President at Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net until it was bought out by Bill Gates. He now subedits for Conversant Media and considers it a step up.

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