Haute Money: FORBES Announces Its 34th Annual FORBES 400 Ranking of the Richest Americans

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The combined wealth of Forbes’ 2015 ranking of the richest people in America,“The Forbes 400”(p. 130 of the October 19, 2015 Forbes magazine issue), is $2.34 trillion, up from $2.29 trillion in 2014 and the highest ever.

The average net worth of a Forbes 400 member is an astounding $5.8 billion, the highest to date, up from $5.7 billion last year.  Net worth increased for 202 members and decreased for 119 members.The cost of admission to the 2015 list was the highest ever at $1.7 billion, up from $1.55 billion a year ago.For the complete Forbes 400 ranking on Forbes.com, visit: www.forbes.com/forbes-400/.

Bill Gates retains the top spot on The Forbes 400 for the 22nd straight year, at $76 billion, down $5 billion from 2014.Warren Buffett (#2) is at $62 billion, down $5 billion from last year. Larry Ellison (#3), worth $47.5 billion, is down $2.5 billion from last year. Jeff Bezos (#4) was the biggest gainer overall, up $16.5 billion, after Amazon reported a quarterly profit in July. Mark Zuckerberg (#7), worth $40.3 billion, made it into the top 10 for the first time ever.

Twenty-five newcomers made it into the ranks, including Evan Spiegel (#327) of Snapchat, the youngest on the list, worth $2.1 billion, Brian Chesky (#194) of Airbnb at $3.3 billion, Bill Haslam (#327), governor of Tennessee, at $2.1 billion,and Robert Smith (#268) of Vista Equity at $2.5 billion.Travis Kalanick (#80) of Uber was the biggest percentage gainer, worth $6 billion, up from $3 billion last year. Thirty-five people who were on the 2014 Forbes 400 dropped off the list, including 4 who died.

The issue includes a 15-page in-depth cover story on Donald Trump’s net worth, “What’s Donald Trump Really Worth?” (p 42). Trump (#121) is worth $4.5 billion. For 33 years, he’s been building and boasting his way higher on The Forbes 400. Forbes details its long history with Trump, demonstrating its unique window into what makes the most paradoxical presidential candidate in a generation tick by answering a simple question: What is Donald Trump really worth?  Trump claims “I look better if I’m worth $10 billion than $4 billion.”

Highlights include:

  • What the 2016 Presidential Candidates are Worth (p. 52) – Plus the mystery of Hillary Clinton’s missing millions.
  • Koch on Koch (p. 72) – As he approaches 80, Charles Koch still wants to “change the trajectory” of U.S. politics away from welfare, subsidies and crony capitalism – and he is pretty sure the Republicans aren’t up to the task.
  • The Jock Versus the Geeks (p. 80) – Under Armour’s Kevin Plank spent almost $1 billion on fitness apps to outdo Silicon Valley. He’s under a lot less pressure than they are. The gadgets are there only to move more apparel.
  • Main Street Mogul (p. 92) – Rather than let Cox Enterprises succumb to extinction or sell it, Jim Kennedy reshaped his grandfather’s sleepy Atlanta newspaper company into something enduring – and made his family $30 billion richer in the process.
  • Math-sters of the Universe (p. 110) – Galileo believed that mathematics was the language God used to write the universe. Four hundred years later a brilliant practitioner and a computer scientist are quietly translating these secrets – into the newest great hedge fund fortune. Hedge fund Two Sigma has put two newcomers on this year’s Forbes 400 list.

The Forbes 400 issue will feature four consecutive covers, including Donald Trump, political candidate, on the front cover; Kevin Plank, founder of Under Armour; Charles Koch, chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries; and Robert Smith, new private equity billionaire and the richest African-American man.

The Top 10:

ADDITIONAL FORBES 400 2015 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Forbes 400 list is a picture of wealth as of September 11, 2015. Richard Rainwater (#211), who died on Sunday, September 27, 2015 of a rare disease, was included in the ranks.
  • 273 members of the list are self-made billionaires; 61 inherited their wealth and 66 inherited at least a portion but are still increasing it.
  • The youngest billionaire is Evan Spiegel (#327), age 25, with a net worth of $2.1 billion. Snapchat is the origin of his wealth. 
  • The youngest woman is Elizabeth Holmes (#121), age 31, founder of Theranos, who is making a dramatic mark on the blood-testing industry. 
  • The oldest billionaire is David Rockefeller Sr. (# 211), age 100, with a net worth of $3 billion.
  • 145 billionaires did not make the cut this year, given the rising bar for entry to the list, now at $1.7 billion.
  • 202 billionaires are up (vs. 301 in 2014); 119 billionaires are down (vs. 34 in 2014); and 44 billionaires areeven (vs. 28 in 2014).
  • Notable drop-offs include Elaine Wynn, cofounder of Wynn Las Vegas, at $1.3 billion; Irwin Jacobs, Qualcomm cofounder, at $1.3 billion; and Richard Hayne, Urban Outfitters cofounder, at $1.3 billion. 
  • The top three industries are:

o   Investments – 86

o   Technology – 53

o   Food and Beverage – 36

 

To view the Forbes 400 list coverage: http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/

 

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