Ranking the Top 10 Richest People in 2024

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As we enter 2024, the landscape of global wealth continues to evolve, with technology moguls and business tycoons dominating the list of the world’s wealthiest individuals. 

Based on data from the Real-Time Billionaires List, this article explores the top 10 richest people in the world, their sources of wealth, and their impact on the global economy and society.

1. Elon Musk – Net Worth: $208 billion

Elon Musk, the South African-born entrepreneur, maintains his position as the world’s richest person in 2024. Musk’s wealth primarily stems from his roles as CEO of Tesla, the electric vehicle and clean energy company, and SpaceX, the private space exploration firm.

Musk’s journey to the top of the wealth pyramid has been marked by innovation and controversy. His ventures extend beyond Tesla and SpaceX, including his acquisition of Twitter (now X) for $44 billion in 2022, and his involvement in companies like Neuralink and The Boring Company.

Despite facing criticism for his management style and public statements, Musk’s companies continue to push technological boundaries. Tesla’s market valuation remains strong, driven by the growing demand for electric vehicles and renewable energy solutions. SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service and its contracts with NASA for space missions contribute significantly to Musk’s wealth.

2. Bernard Arnault & family – Net Worth: $202 billion

According to the Real-Time Billionaires List, Bernard Arnault, the French business magnate, holds the second spot on the list. As the chairman and CEO of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), Arnault has built an empire in the luxury goods industry.

LVMH owns about 70 prestigious brands, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Hennessy, and Sephora. The company’s success is attributed to Arnault’s strategic acquisitions and his ability to maintain the exclusivity and desirability of these luxury brands.

In 2021, LVMH acquired Tiffany & Co. for $15.8 billion, further solidifying its position in the luxury market. Arnault’s wealth fluctuates with LVMH’s stock price, reflecting the company’s performance and the overall health of the luxury goods sector.

3. Jeff Bezos – Net Worth: $197 billion

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, ranks third on the list. Despite stepping down as CEO in 2021, Bezos remains executive chairman and a major shareholder in the e-commerce giant.

Amazon’s continued dominance in online retail, cloud computing (through Amazon Web Services), and its expansion into new sectors like healthcare and entertainment contribute to Bezos’ wealth. The company’s success during the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the shift to online shopping, significantly boosted Bezos’ net worth.

Beyond Amazon, Bezos owns The Washington Post and Blue Origin, his space exploration company. His investments in various startups and real estate also contribute to his vast fortune.

4. Mark Zuckerberg – Net Worth: $167 billion

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), holds the fourth position. Zuckerberg’s wealth is primarily tied to his stake in Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus.

Despite facing challenges such as data privacy concerns and regulatory scrutiny, Meta’s platforms continue to dominate social media. The company’s focus on the “metaverse” and its investments in virtual and augmented reality technologies represent Zuckerberg’s vision for the future of social interaction and computing.

Zuckerberg, the youngest among the top 10, has pledged to give away 99% of his Meta shares over his lifetime through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which focuses on health, education, and community development.

5. Larry Ellison – Net Worth: $149 billion

Larry Ellison, co-founder, executive chairman, and CTO of Oracle Corporation, ranks fifth on the list. Larry Ellison’s net worth primarily comes from his stake in Oracle, one of the largest software companies in the world.

Oracle’s strong position in database software and cloud computing services continues to drive Ellison’s wealth. In addition to his Oracle holdings, Ellison has significant investments in other companies, including a substantial stake in Tesla.

Ellison is known for his lavish lifestyle, including owning most of the Hawaiian island of Lanai. He has also been a major donor to various causes, particularly in medical research.

6. Larry Page – Net Worth: $143 billion

Larry Page, co-founder of Google and former CEO of its parent company Alphabet, holds the sixth position. Page’s wealth primarily stems from his stake in Alphabet, which owns Google, YouTube, and numerous other technology companies.

Although Page stepped down from his executive role at Alphabet in 2019, he remains a board member and controlling shareholder. Google’s dominance in online search and digital advertising, along with its successful ventures in cloud computing and artificial intelligence, continue to drive Alphabet’s value and Page’s wealth.

Page is also known for his investments in “moonshot” projects, including flying car startups and space exploration ventures.

7. Sergey Brin – Net Worth: $137 billion

Sergey Brin, the other co-founder of Google, closely follows his partner Larry Page in the wealth rankings. Like Page, Brin’s fortune is largely tied to his stake in Alphabet.

Brin stepped down from his role as president of Alphabet in 2019 but remains a board member and major shareholder. His wealth continues to grow with Alphabet’s success in various technology sectors.

Known for his interest in cutting-edge technologies, Brin has been involved in projects related to artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and even airships.

8. Warren Buffett – Net Worth: $134 billion

Warren Buffett, often called the “Oracle of Omaha,” is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the most successful investors in history. Despite his generous philanthropic giving, Buffett maintains his position among the world’s wealthiest individuals.

Buffett’s investment strategy, focusing on undervalued companies with strong fundamentals, has consistently outperformed the market over decades. Berkshire Hathaway’s diverse portfolio includes significant stakes in Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, and many other major corporations.

Known for his frugal lifestyle despite his immense wealth, Buffett has pledged to give away more than 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

9. Bill Gates – Net Worth: $129 billion

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, has been a fixture on the list of the world’s wealthiest people for decades. Although he has diversified his wealth beyond Microsoft, his stake in the company still forms a significant portion of his fortune.

Gates has transitioned his focus from technology to philanthropy, co-chairing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works on global issues such as healthcare, education, and climate change. His investments through Cascade Investment LLC span various sectors, including energy, hospitality, and real estate.

Gates’ wealth has fluctuated due to his substantial charitable giving, but his investments and Microsoft’s continued success keep him among the world’s richest individuals.

10. Steve Ballmer – Net Worth: $123 billion

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team, rounds out the top 10. Ballmer’s wealth primarily comes from his stake in Microsoft, which he joined in 1980 as employee number 30.

During his tenure as CEO from 2000 to 2014, Ballmer led Microsoft through significant changes in the tech industry. Although his leadership received mixed reviews, Microsoft’s financial performance remained strong.

Since retiring from Microsoft, Ballmer has focused on his ownership of the Clippers and philanthropic efforts through the Ballmer Group, which works to improve economic mobility for children and families.