Forbes 400 List: Out of Date, But Still Interesting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  For this reason, I think you really have to look at this list as a historical document, not an up-to-date representation of where these people truly are right now.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:

Rank Name Citizenship Age Net Worth ($bil) Residence
1 William Gates III United States 53 40.0 United States
2 Warren Buffett United States 78 37.0 United States
3 Carlos Slim Helu & family Mexico 69 35.0 Mexico
4 Lawrence Ellison United States 64 22.5 United States
5 Ingvar Kamprad & family Sweden 83 22.0 Switzerland
6 Karl Albrecht Germany 89 21.5 Germany
7 Mukesh Ambani India 51 19.5 India
8 Lakshmi Mittal India 58 19.3 United Kingdom
9 Theo Albrecht Germany 87 18.8 Germany
10 Amancio Ortega Spain 73 18.3 Spain
11 Jim Walton United States 61 17.8 United States
12 Alice Walton United States 59 17.6 United States
12 Christy Walton & family United States 54 17.6 United States
12 S Robson Walton United States 65 17.6 United States
15 Bernard Arnault France 60 16.5 France
16 Li Ka-shing Hong Kong 80 16.2 Hong Kong
17 Michael Bloomberg United States 67 16.0 United States
18 Stefan Persson Sweden 61 14.5 Sweden
19 Charles Koch United States 73 14.0 United States
19 David Koch United States 68 14.0 United States
21 Liliane Bettencourt France 86 13.4 France
22 Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud Saudi Arabia 54 13.3 Saudi Arabia
23 Michael Otto & family Germany 65 13.2 Germany
24 David Thomson & family Canada 51 13.0 Canada
25 Michael Dell United States 44 12.3 United States

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

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

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