Bill Gates is $9.5 billion richer than he was a year ago, worth over $100 billion, but not just from Microsoft (MSFT)


bill gates

  • Bill Gates is one of the world’s biggest philanthropists who has given away billions of dollars of his money.

  • That’s why so many people think that Gates’ personal wealth is shrinking as he gives his money away.

  • But it isn’t. Gates is astoundingly rich and getting richer all the time.

  • And he just joined a two-man club of people worth more than $100 billion.

Bill Gates is one of the world’s biggest philanthropists. He and his wife Melinda have given away a whopping $45.5 billion in their lifetimes through their foundation and other charities, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy Plus, his Giving Pledge, an organization founded with his close friend Warren Buffett, he has vowed to give away the majority of his wealth to charity.

That’s why so many people think that Gates personal wealth is shrinking as he gives his money away.

But it isn’t. Gates is astoundingly rich and getting richer all the time.

Read: I spent an uplifting day at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and discovered what it’s really like to work there

He’s $9.5 billion richer now than he was one year ago with his personal wealth currently just cresting the $100 billion mark, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire index.  It’s amazing to contemplate that the rounding number — that 0.5 billion of the $9.5 billion — is itself half a billion dollars and represents a larger net worth than even the most well-off families will ever be worth. And back in 2014, Gates was worth $76 billion. So he’s up $24 billion in the last five years.

That $100 billion net worth puts him in rarified air even for a billionaire. It’s an exclusive two-man club with that other super rich Seattle-area guy Jeff Bezos. Bezos is currently known as world’s richest man, worth about $146 billion.

Gates has, many times, been considered the No. 2 richest person before, some seven or so times out of the last 24 years.

But the truth is, we don’t really know how rich Gates is.

Many of his investments are done through his firm Cascade Investment run by a notoriously secretive money manager, Michael Larson. Those investments run the gamut from large stakes in public companies like Waste Management and Auto Nation, to real estate and other business interests.

On top of that, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also invests in some for-profit businesses, with those stakes controlled by either Bill or Melinda or both. For instance, their foundation bought nearly 800,000 shares of  Liquidia Technologies, a biotech company developing personalized, engineered drugs, according to SEC filings. Liquidia is in the process of an IPO. Although, to be fair, such stakes are for the foundation and don’t really count toward Gate’s personal wealth.

On the other hand, most of his fortune no longer comes from Microsoft, even though his Microsoft stock is doing well under CEO Satya Nadella.

Over the last 15 years, Gates sold off most of his Microsoft stake. Back in 2004, he had 1.1 billion shares of Microsoft. Today, he keeps about 103 million shares, currently worth about $12 billion. He hasn’t been selling or acquiring more shares over the past couple of years, waiving both his cash salary and his share grants for his role as chairman.

But there are times when he winds up with a little more from Microsoft through his myriad business interests.

For instance, back in April, 2017, Microsoft acquired a company called Intentional Software, founded by a former long time distinguished Microsoft engineer Charles Simonyi, who worked on Excel and Word. Gates was an investor in Intentional, through one of his investment companies, and Microsoft paid him $60 million when it bought the company, it said.

So, while Gates spends his energy on charitable giving, his fortune is growing far faster than he can give it away.

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