Forbes 400 List: Out of Date, But Still Interesting

Bill Gates: Back in the Saddle

Bill Gates: Back in the Saddle

The just-published 27th annual Forbes 400 list, a ranking of the wealthiest people in the world, does not disappoint.

Buffett, Gates, Carlos Slim, the Ikea guy, Page and Brin, Ellison, Bloomberg, the Koch’s…all your faves are here again this year although the order of the top 25 has seen quite a bit of jostling and adjustment.

One minor quibble I have with this year’s list is that, according to Forbes:

The Forbes 400 is a snapshot of estimated wealth on Aug. 29, 2008, the day we locked in prices of publicly traded stocks. Given how unsettled the stock market is, some of those on our list will become significantly richer or poorer within weeks–even days–of publication.

I don’t know how the publishing biz works with this type of thing, but I assume they need alot of time between locking in share prices and putting the list out.  That said, the world was literally turned upside down and it basically started in September of ’08, pretty much right after Forbes is saying it “locked in prices of publicly traded stocks”.  For this reason, I think you really have to look at this list as a historical document, not an up-to-date representation of where these people truly are right now.

Now, of course, the destruction of wealth in Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway shares over the last 6 months was probably not severe enough to drop him from the 2 slot because the guy under him by $2 billion, Carlos Slim, probably got his head handed to him also.  That said, could any large shareholder of AIG really make the list had Forbes frozen share prices anytime after, say, October?


All in all, the Forbes list is always a fun read, I’d be interested to hear if they plan to do an update sometime in ’09, if only because we’ve seen so much upheaval over the last 6 months in pretty much every asset class you could think of.

Here’s your top 25 billionaires:

RankNameCitizenshipAgeNet Worth ($bil)Residence
1William Gates IIIUnited States5340.0United States
2Warren BuffettUnited States7837.0United States
3Carlos Slim Helu & familyMexico6935.0Mexico
4Lawrence EllisonUnited States6422.5United States
5Ingvar Kamprad & familySweden8322.0Switzerland
6Karl AlbrechtGermany8921.5Germany
7Mukesh AmbaniIndia5119.5India
8Lakshmi MittalIndia5819.3United Kingdom
9Theo AlbrechtGermany8718.8Germany
10Amancio OrtegaSpain7318.3Spain
11Jim WaltonUnited States6117.8United States
12Alice WaltonUnited States5917.6United States
12Christy Walton & familyUnited States5417.6United States
12S Robson WaltonUnited States6517.6United States
15Bernard ArnaultFrance6016.5France
16Li Ka-shingHong Kong8016.2Hong Kong
17Michael BloombergUnited States6716.0United States
18Stefan PerssonSweden6114.5Sweden
19Charles KochUnited States7314.0United States
19David KochUnited States6814.0United States
21Liliane BettencourtFrance8613.4France
22Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal AlsaudSaudi Arabia5413.3Saudi Arabia
23Michael Otto & familyGermany6513.2Germany
24David Thomson & familyCanada5113.0Canada
25Michael DellUnited States4412.3United States


For the complete article, click here:
The Forbes 400 2009

For the complete list of the top 400, click here: The List

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. Blue Coaster33 commented on Apr 30

    The Ships’s Voyages

    I feel know-how just causes it to be worse. Now there’s a channel to never care, now there wouldn’t be considered a chance for them to find out.