Forbes recently announced the top 20 billionaires in the world. To many, it may be no surprise that fifteen of those are United States citizens. It is also no surprise that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are high on the list, with Bill Gates holding the top spot once again. The average age of these 20 entrepreneurs is just over 67 years old, with the oldest being 92, and the youngest just 30 years old.
His name will come as no surprise to many, either. But there was some movement on the scale and some new faces. Here are the top 20 billionaires in the world:
#1 Bill Gates
The Microsoft CEO and founder’s wealth increased $3.2 billion last year to $79.2 billion, even with the generous gifts he has given to various groups and organizations. After a four-year absence from the number one spot, Gates is once again at the helm of the richest billionaires list, even after giving a total of $1.5 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The biggest pushes for the organization will continue to be global health and education in the United States.
#2 Carlos Slim Helu
This 75-year-old billionare from Mexico is a self-made man with much of his wealth a product of the telcom industry in that country. He has many other holding as well such as his once-public real estate company, Innmeubles Carso, Grupo Carso, an industrial conglomerate, and other holdings in finance and infrastructure. His children now own 62% of his telcom empire, which is unquestionably his most successful venture to date.
#3 Warren Buffet
At the age of 84, Warren Buffet finds himself in the number three spot on the billionaire’s’ list. Berkshire Hathaway’s astronomical performance in 2014 helped to land him this place on the list. It’s Class A stock surpassed $200,000 per share in August of last year and enjoys the moniker of the most expensive stock of any U.S. publicly held company. Buffet, knows as a strong philanthropist, donated $2.8 billion in shares of Berkshire Hathaway, bringing his lifetime donation total to $23 billion.
#4 Amancio Ortega
The number 4 position is held by the only Spaniard on the list. Amancio Ortega also enjoys the position of the world’s largest retailer with his business, Zara. The business was started in his living room in 1975. With innovative ideas and him controlling his own supply chain, he took the fashion world by storm, leading him, in part, to where he is now. In the recent financial crisis, his stocks in Inditex continued to defy the Spanish stockmarket, gaining $45 billion over that time. Ortega reinvested those gains in real estate in some of the world’s largest cities.
#5 Larry Ellison
Oracle founder Larry Ellison lands in the number 5 spot with $54.3 billion to his credit. He created Oracle in 1977 after spending time building databases for the CIA. Ellison is said to own every hotel room on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai and is also the main backer of the America’s Cup winner Oracle Team USA. In 2014, in a shocking move, he announced he would step down as CEO or Oracle, but stay on as chairman and chief technology officer.
#6 Charles Koch
Seventy-nine year old CEO of Koch Industries, Charles Koch, lands in the number six spot with $42.9 billion in net worth. He oversees the second biggest private company in America, which has continued to grow with over $4 million in acquisitions in 2014 alone. Koch Industries’ investments span from oil pipelines and refineries to paper products.
#7 David Koch
The younger brother of Charles Koch, David, comes in at number seven, with a net worth only slightly lower than his brother at $41.7 billion. He holds the Executive Vice President position at Koch Industries, and is considered by Forbes as tied with his brother on the list of the top twenty billionaires in the world.
#8 Christy Walton
Checking in at number 8 is the first of four heirs of the Walton fortune, the founder of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. Christy Walton’s net worth is $41.7 billion, and she is the Co-Chair of the Children’s Scholarship Fund. She inherited he share of the Walton fortune when he husband, John died in a plane crash. John’s investment in First Solar, a solar panel maker, made her not only the wealthiest Walton, but put her on the top of the list of the world’s wealthiest women. The bulk of her holdings are still in Wal-Mart, the enormous retail giant company started by her father-in-law Sam and his brother James.
#9 Jim Walton
Jim Walton is the youngest child of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. He sits on the board of Wal-Mart, and is the chairman and CEO of Arvest Bank Group. His $40.6 billion net worth places him squarely at number nine in the top twenty wealthiest billionaires list. The Arvest Bank has assets of $15 million and in 2013had net profits of nearly $130 million.
#10 Lilaine Bettencourt
Tenth place on the list – the second wealthiest woman in the world and one of only two French entrepreneurs in the top twenty is Lilaine Bettencourt. Her net worth is just over $40 billion at $40.1. She made her fortune by making L’Oréal a household name. At the age of 92, she is the eldest billionaire on the list, and was removed from the board in 2011. It has been stated that she is suffering from dementia. That, however, has not preclude her from being the richest woman in all of Europe.
#11 Alice Walton
Alice Walton is another heir of the Sam Walton retail dynasty. She has used her inheritance to invest in the arts for the most part. She is the chairman of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which opened in 2011. Her collection in the museum includes the likes of Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keefe, and Norman Rockwell. The personal pieces she has donated to the museum are said to be valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.
#12 S. Robson Walton
S. Robson Walton is the eldest heir to the Sam Walton retail giant known as Wal-Mart. He is the chairman of the board for Wal-Mart and the face of the Walton family. His net worth of $39.1 billion lands him as the twelfth richest man in the world. It should come as no surprise that Wal-Mart has become the world’s largest retailer with 11,000 stores and $473 billion in revenues in 2014. His other interests include his venture capital firm, Madrone Capital Partners also has a $600 million stake in Hyatt Hotels.
#13 Bernard Arnault
The Chairman of LMVH, 66 year old Bernard Arnault is the thirteenth richest billionaire in the world. In this case, it would seem the number 13 is anything but unlucky. This luxury good mogul is worth $37.2 billion right now. He has been the CEO for LMVH since 1989 and overseer of brands such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Sephora, and Dom Perignon, and is said to be the “world’s ultimate taste-maker” where luxury is involved.
#14 Michael Bloomberg
Founder of the financial news and information company Bloomberg LP lands at number 14 on the list with a new worth of $35.5 billion. He ended his term as new York Mayor in 2013 and pledged to turn to philanthropy. However, he has since returned to his roots at Bloomberg LP. His philanthropic endeavors, however, do top $3.8 billion dollars.
#15 Jeff Bezos
The CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos’ $34.8 billion dollar net worth earned him a place on the top twenty list as well. His business, which started out as only an online retailer, now provides seemingly everything to everyone. His newest venture will be into the movie business after receiving the company’s first Golden Globe in 2014 for its television series “Transparent”.
#16 Mark Zuckerberg
The fact that the cofounder, chairman, and CEO of a little website called Facebook is on the top twenty list does not come as a huge surprise to many. It seemed to be only a matter of time. And, speaking of time, at only 30 year old, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the list by far. Social media networking, a concept unknown to us a decade or so ago, is here to stay and the future is looking strong. Could Zuckerberg’s $33.4 billion fortune continue to grow and propel him up the list? He certainly believes so!
#17 Li Ka-shing
Eighty six year old Li Ka-Shing is the only business man from Hong Kong on the top twenty list. His net worth of $33.3 billion lands his squarely at number seventeen and makes him Asia’s richest person. His diversified interests include property, ports, technology, retail, oil, and other businesses. He is simplifying his holdings into property and non-property holdings as he plans for a successor to his empire.
#18 Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson is the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands. The Las Vegas Sands is the largest gaming business in the world, lending to Adelson’s $31.4 billion in net worth. He has used some of his fortune to back Republicans politically in the past and is looking to be a power player again in 2016 with his support of Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. In January of 2015, Adelson named himself CEO of Las Vegas Sands China, which owns casinos in Macau, and that gamble seems to be paying off for the gaming mogul.
#19 Larry Page
Larry Page, CEO of Google, and his $29.7 billion net worth, occupy the nineteenth place on the world’s richest billionaires’ list and number fourteen on the United State’s list. Google is said by some to be the most prominent company in the digital era. It is said that there is one Android operating system in use for every seven people on the planet. In 2014, some of Page’s notable acquisition included the programmable home thermostat company Nest as well as the video monitoring company Dropcam. In 2014, Page and his family gave $15 million to help in the fight against Ebola in a philanthropic effort.
#20 Sergey Brin
Sergey Brin is the cofounder and director of special projects at Google. He runs Google X, a division of the company specializing in more risky projects. Berg immigrated from Moscow to the United States as the tender age of six years old. He founded Google with Larry Page in 1998 when they were both computer science PhD students at Stanford. From there they have grown the company to gigantic proportions as is shown by his $29.2 billion net worth.
There are some surprises on this year’s list, but most of these names should not come as a shock. Names like Gates, and Buffet are as common as mom and apple pie. And even Zuckerberg, who enjoys his spot in this list for the first time this year, should not come as a total shock to most. As the world changes and technology advances, how people make their billions may change, but the fact will always remain that the best ideas, and the most dedicated work ethics, can propel even the smallest person to great heights.