Slumping Billionaires: World's Richest Not So Rich Anymore, Says Forbes

If you think that the economic crisis is affecting you and your wealth, you might feel better after reading the Forbes Rich List of 2009.

The BBC published some figures today from Forbes latest, showing that 332 names have been wiped off Forbes magazine's "rich list" of world billionaires, leaving only 793 people to lay claim to a place on that list.

While few of us would be shedding tears for the plight of billionaires nor would they be entitled to much in the way of charity, the Chief Executive of Forbes Magazines, Steve Forbes, said:

"Billionaires don't have to worry about their next meal, but if their wealth is declining and you're not creating numerous new billionaires, it means the rest of the world is not doing very well," he told reporters. "The typical billionaire is down at least one third on their net worth."

Here is our summary of some interesting figures at a glance:

1. The total net worth of the world's billionaires fell from $4.4 trillion to $2.4 trillion, reducing the number of billionaires in the world to 793 from 1,125.

2. Microsoft Founder Bill Gates has resumed his title as the world's richest, as the global financial meltdown wiped out $2 trillion from the net worth of the world's billionaires.

3. The stock market collapse has costed Mr. Warren Buffet $25 billion, reducing his wealth to $34 billion. But Gates can't be too happy either, considering his fortune has declined £13.06 billion ($18bn) to $40 bn.

4. Indian businessman Anil Ambani, the biggest climber on the list last year to #6, has dropped to 34 after being the biggest loser this year. His net worth sank $31.9 billion to $10.1 bn.

5. Russian billionaires lost a total of $369 billion between them, thanks to plunging oil prices.

6. There are now 52 Chinese billionaires on the list with a decrease in billionaires from the mainland, but their collective wealth shrank less than those from emerging economies like India and Turkey.

7. The depreciating economy means that to make the top 20 on the Forbes list, you now only need $14bn instead of $21bn in 2008. (Oh, so achievable!)

8. Mexico's druglord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, nicknamed for being 5 ft. tall, killed his way to the top of Mexico's cocaine export to the USA after escaping from prison in 2001. He has also compensated for his height by following in Pablo Escobar's footsteps, making it onto the Forbes Magazine list of the world's richest people with an estimated $1 billion fortune. [Reuters]

Now that these poor billionaires only have millions to survive on, maybe a tear is worth shedding after all. Except for "Shorty". He's winning 'Man of the year' instead.

[BBC] (thanks, Daniel!)


  • -=Mike H.
    How the hell does Gates make so much money when I keep ripping off his software?
  • Dominic P.
    My heart bleeds for them
  • Amanda H.
    What happened to the Sultan of Brunei? Has he been wasting his gold bars on cheap hookers again?
  • LDR
    Who said hookers were cheap?
  • Tim
    Gates makes so much money because of PC manufacturers buying there software to install on PC's.. simple.. Tim
  • Mark
    Of course, when shares rise back up to previous levels then the situation will be reversed again.
  • Tuition A.
    [...] students. This is because new money is down as benefactors reduce their contributions. (After all, the number of billionaires is decreasing, and those who are still billionaires have, well, billions less.) Not only that, but many [...]
  • Don
    I agree with Amanda. What happened to the sultan of Brunei. hy is he not on the list?

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