March 11, 2009, Forbes released it's most
recent list of the world's wealthiest people.
The annual list of billionaires shrank from
1125 in 2008 to 793 in 2009. Furthermore,
the average net worth of the billionaires
on the list dropped 23% over the previous
12 months to $3 billion per individual.
dominated the billionaire list this year,
carrying 45% of the list's slots and holding
44% of the wealth on the Forbes list.
Economic declines in the last part of
2008 are partially to blame for the decline
in both wealth and number of billionaires
on the March list with some individuals
losing 50% or more of their net worth
over the last 12 months. Overall, the
collective net worth of the richest people
is estimated around $2.4 trillion, a whole
$2 trillion lower than last year's list.
top two slots remained the same as previous
years, although the two top billionaires
did switch positions from last year's
list. Microsoft founder Bill Gates regained
the #1 position followed closely by Berkshire
Hathaway founder Warren Buffett, last
year's leader, in the second slot. Bill
Gates was estimated to have a net worth
of $40 billion, down $18 billion from
last year's list. Warren Buffett, last
year's top billionaire, lost approximately
$25 billion in net worth to end at $37
billion for this year's list. The number
three spot went to Carlos Slim Helu, the
Mexican telecom mogul, who lost $25 billion
to end with a net worth of $35 billion.
remaining top ten spots on the 2009 Forbes
billionaire list went to Lawrence Ellison,
Ingvar Kamprad, Karl Albrecht, Mukesh
Ambani, Lakshmi Mittal, Theo Albrecht,
and Amancio Ortega respectively. Members
of the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart
chain of stores, remained on the list
in positions eleven through fourteen.
all of the billionaires on the list lost
money over the previous year. India's
Anil Ambani, head of Reliance Communications,
was the biggest loser with a total loss
of 76% of his fortune equalling $32 billion.
Ambani did stay on the billionaire list,
however, unlike 29 other Indian business
owners who disappeared from this year's
list. 24 Indian billionaires remained
on the list, however, but most of them
lost large percentages of wealth over
the course of 2008.
like India, Russia lost most if its billionaires
during 2008, too. 55 Russian billionaires
dropped off this year's list, two-thirds
of the number that were on the Forbes
billionaire list last year. Among the
lost wealth was Vasily Anisimov whose
fortune plummeted with the value of Metalloinvest
Holding. His daughter, Anna Anisimova,
is known for being the "Paris Hilton"
of the billionaires from Forbes 2008 list
lost almost all of their fortune. Among
them was AIG head Maurice Greenberg and
former Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill,
both of whom lost most of their wealth
after their respective bank failures and
massive loss of wealth, there were a few
individuals that flourished in 2008. Joaquin
Guzman Loera, a cocaine supplier, Wang
Chuanfu, whose company began selling electric
cars in late 2008, and John Paul Dejoria,
founder of Paul Mitchell and Patron Tequila,
all prospered over the last twelve months,
showing the rest of the world that there
is still hope in finding worthy investments
in a failing global economy.
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