Forbes every year provides a list of the wealthiest Americans. The top ten members of this list are worth a combined $460.4 billion. If every American citizen were to each receive $1, there would still be a remaining $141.5 billion leftover. These ten American men are worth more than the 2014 GDP PPP of nations such as Singapore, Sweden, Hong Kong, Austria, and Norway. This collective wealth is $0.3 billion short of surpassing Switzerland’s 2014 GDP PPP.
Who are these mysterious men and how are they so wealthy? Of the top ten, three men – the Koch Bros. and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – do not have a large portion of their wealth in the shares of a publically traded corporation synonymous with their name.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the other seven men and how much of their wealth is concentrated stocks:
1. Bill Gates
William H. Gates III has been America’s wealthiest person for as long as I can remember. In case you have been outside of human interaction for the past quarter century, Bill Gates is the cofounder and former CEO of Microsoft (MSFT). Mr. Gates is still a major direct shareholder of Microsoft stock. He owns 222.99 million shares of the company, which is worth over $12 billion. Only Steve Ballmer, former CEO of the company and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, owns more shares than Mr. Gates.
2. Warren Buffett
The “Wizard of Omaha” and often-mispronounced last name Warren Buffett is one of America’s most notable investors. He is the Chairman, President, and CEO of the multinational holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A)(BRK.B). Some of Berkshire Hathaway’s recognizable assets include the condiment company Kraft Heinz (KHC), credit card company American Express (AXP), potential Skynet developers IBM (IBM), and telecommunication juggernaut AT&T (T).
Mr. Buffett owns 350,000 shares of BRK.A and 2,050,640 shares of BRK.B. The Class A shares are worth tens of billions of dollars, while the Class B shares were valued at over $278 million.
3. Larry Ellison
Man desperate to own an NBA franchise and Chairman of the computer hardware corporation Oracle Corp. (ORCL) Larry Ellison is a very wealthy man. He owns over 1.1 billion shares of ORCL, which totals close to $40 billion.
4. Jeff Bezos
CEO of Amazon Inc. (AMZN) and notable Darwinist Jeff Bezos is in charge with one of the most beloved companies in America. As of May 2015, Mr. Bezos owns 83.921 million shares of AMZN, which totals to a value of over $56 billion.
5. Mark Zuckerberg
Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Facebook (FB) Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest man in the top ten list. Mr. Zuckerberg was in the news recently for his announcement to donate 99% of his and his wife’s, Priscilla Chan, shares in Facebook to multiple charities.
(Please read “5 Crazy Facts About Zuckerberg’s Huge Donation” for more details on the topic.)
According to Facebook’s 8-K SEC filing, as of December 2015, “Mr. Zuckerberg beneficially owns approximately 4 million shares of Class A common stock and approximately 419 million shares of Class B common stock.”
6. Jim Walton
Youngest son of the Walton patriarch Sam Walton, Jim Walton, as of June 2015, owns the most shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), a company whose market cap is over $191 billion. Jim owns over 10.5 million shares of WMT, while his older brother S. Robson Walton owns over 2.9 shares of the company. Jim’s shares is valued at over $600 million.
7. Larry Page & Sergey Brin
Last but not least, Alphabet’s dynamic duo and co-founders of Google (GOOGL) (GOOG) Larry Page and Sergey Brin simply own a lot of Alphabet shares. According to a recent 8-K SEC filing, as of the beginning of 2015, “Larry and Sergey held approximately 44.6 million shares of Class B common stock, which represents approximately 13.1% of Google’s outstanding Class A and Class B common stock, taken together, and approximately 54.6% of the voting power of Google’s outstanding voting stock.”
Furthermore, the report notes, “Larry and Sergey also hold 44.6 million shares of non-voting Class C capital stock, which represents 13.1% of Google's outstanding non-voting Class C capital stock.”
It is safe to say that Larry and Sergey will be financially set for the remainder of their lives.
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