Top 20 Richest People in the World

Take a look at the world’s richest billionaires and find out how they made their way to the top.

Elon Musk richest person in the world

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Only a small number of people in the world can lay claim to being a billionaire. Indeed, despite the trillions of dollars floating around the global economy and the total population surpassing seven billion, there are only a little more than 2,000 billionaires on the planet.

But just who are the richest of the richest?

Here are the world’s top billionaires, according to Forbes!

Watch a short video highlighting the top 10 below:

20. Rob Walton

Rob WaltonForbes

Estimated net worth: $64.5 billion

Rob Walton, the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, ran the retail behemoth for more than two decades as chairman after his father died in 1992. Although he retired in June 2015, he continues to sit on Walmart’s board of directors. He and his siblings own about half of the company’s stock.

19. Alice Walton

Alice WaltonBusiness Insider

Estimated net worth: $64.8 billion

Unlike her two brothers, the only daughter of Sam Walton embarked upon a different path. Instead of focusing on Walmart, Alice Walton applied her talent to curating art, and has accumulated a personal art collection valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2011, she established the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

18. Jim Walton

Jim WaltonBloomberg

Estimated net worth: $65.7 billion

In addition to previously owning a seat on Walmart’s board, the youngest son of Sam Walton runs the family’s Arvest Bank, controlling assets of approximately $16 billion. He retired from Walmart in June 2016 and gave his son, Steuart, the seat. He recently made headlines for donating $1.2 billion of his fortune to charity, though he remains one of the richest people in the world.

17. Amancio Ortega

Amancio OrtegaBusiness Insider

Estimated net worth: $69.9 billion

Amancio Ortega may not be a household name, but his fashion brands certainly are; Zara and Stradivarius need no introduction. Ortega is the wealthiest retailer in the world, controlling 60% of publicly traded Inditex and earning about $400 million a year in dividends. He reinvests his dividends in real estate in key housing markets like New York City, Barcelona and London.

16. Michael Bloomberg

Michael BloombergLeeSnider / Depositphotos.com

Estimated net worth: $70 billion

Michael Bloomberg has quite the résumé: a billionaire businessman, former mayor of New York City, philanthropist and rumored US presidential candidate for years. Bloomberg began his career in 1966 when he was hired as an entry-level clerk at investment giant Salomon Brothers, where he was fired in 1980. A year later, Bloomberg founded financial information and media behemoth Bloomberg LP, controlling 88% of the business to date and generating $9 billion a year.

15. Zhong Shanshan

Image of Zhong ShanshanWikimedia Commons

Estimated net worth: $75 billion

Meet Zhong Shanshan, "Asia's new richest person," says Business Insider. Known as a billionaire who lives a modest lifestyle a la Warren Buffett, Zhong made his fortune by starting a bottled water company, Nongfu Spring, in which he now chairs. He is also a significant shareholder in Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, a manufacturer of vaccines and hepatitis test-kits. That's not too bad for someone who started his career as a reporter in the 1980s. Now he can acquire multiple newspapers at home or abroad!

14. Carlos Slim Helú & family

Carlos SlimForbes

Estimated net worth: $80.2 billion

Meet Zhong Shanshan, "Asia's new richest person," says Business Insider. Known as a billionaire who lives a modest lifestyle a la Warren Buffett, Zhong made his fortune by starting a bottled water company, Nongfu Spring, in which he now chairs. He is also a significant shareholder in Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, a manufacturer of vaccines and hepatitis test-kits. That's not too bad for someone who started his career as a reporter in the 1980s. Now he can acquire multiple newspapers at home or abroad!

13. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers & family

Françoise Bettencourt MeyersBusiness Insider

Estimated net worth: $84.8 billion

Françoise Bettencourt Meyers is currently the richest woman in the world. The granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder Eugène Schueller, Bettencourt Meyers is the chairwoman of the cosmetics company and has been sitting on the company’s board since 1997. She and her family control roughly one-third of L’Oréal’s stock.

12. Mukesh Ambani

Image of Mukesh AmbaniWikimedia Commons

Estimated net worth: $90.1 billion

Mukesh Ambani is one of the many thriving businessmen in the emerging market known as India. Ambani runs Reliance Industries, which owns businesses in natural resources, retail, telecommunications, oil and gas. It was founded by his late father, Dhirubhai Ambani, who started Reliance as a small textile manufacturing company. Like the nation itself, Reliance has transformed into a juggernaut.

Ambani has become quite the controversial figure in recent years, mainly for Jio, a 4G phone service that offers free domestic calls and cheap data plans.

11. Gautam Adani & family

Image of Gautam AdaniWikimedia Commons

Estimated net worth: $90.2 billion

Gautam Adani is an industrial tycoon in India. His net worth has been enhanced by striking contracts with the federal and state governments. But Adani Group, the conglomerate he heads, has diversified over the years into a broad array of areas, such as agriculture, aerospace, energy, logistics and resources.

With the value of his assets growing exponentially over the past few years, it is believed that he could soon become Asia's richest man.

10. Steve Ballmer

Steve BallmerCNBC

Estimated net worth: $99.4 billion

Steve Ballmer may have one of the best success stories ever told. He started his career as a Stanford University dropout and, in 1980, became Microsoft’s 30th employee. Eighteen years later, Ballmer became the tech giant’s CEO, a position he served in until his retirement in 2014. Since then, he has branched out by acquiring the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers for a reported $2 billion.

9. Larry Ellison

Larry Ellisondrserg / Depositphotos.com

Estimated net worth: $112.3 billion

Larry Ellison made his fortune by delivering stellar customer relationship management (CRM) programs from his company, Oracle. Although he stepped down as CEO in 2014, he remains as chairman of the board and chief technology officer (CTO). He also launched a wireless startup called Sensei. Like other billionaires, he has contributed to many causes, including a $200 million donation to the University of California’s planned cancer treatment center.

8. Mark Zuckerberg

Mark ZuckerbergCNET

Estimated net worth: $114.4 billion

Mark Zuckerberg became one of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires when he took Facebook public in May 2012, just eight years after opening the social network’s web portal doors. To this day, he owns nearly one-fifth of company stock. But Zuckerberg and his internet giant have been the subjects of controversy, especially after the 2016 election when it was discovered that Facebook shares user data with a political consulting firm.

7. Warren Buffett

Warren Buffettndh.vn

Estimated net worth: $115.5 billion

Considered the most humble and likable billionaire, Warren Buffett got his start in the world of financing at the age of 11 when he purchased his very first stock. The ‘Oracle of Omaha’, Buffett runs Berkshire Hathaway, which owns or invests heavily in dozens of well-known brands, including chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, restaurant chain Dairy Queen, food brand Kraft Heinz, Bank of America, and insurance firm Geico. He has pledged to donate 99% of his wealth to charity upon his death.

6. Sergey Brin

Sergey BrinThe Verge

Estimated net worth: $121.5 billion

Along with Larry Page, who he met during an orientation for new students at Stanford University, Sergey Brin is the cofounder of tech giant Google. He currently serves as the president of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and also managers X Development (Google’s clandestine division that develops ‘radical new technologies to solve some of the world’s hardest problems’).

5. Larry Page

Larry PageFortune

Estimated net worth: $126.1 billion

As the second half of Google’s cofounders, Larry Page was also instrumental in coming up with its PageRank algorithm. Since then, however, Page has been deeply entrenched at the tech titan, heading Google’s parent company Alphabet, the Calico health division and smart home appliance division Nest.

4. Bill Gates

Bill Gatesrealitatea

Estimated net worth: $133.8 billion

Bill Gates changed the world forever when he and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975. Despite resigning as CEO in 2000, he still holds membership in the software giant’s board. Today, he owns just 1% of Microsoft stock after selling or giving it away to charity but continues to invest in stocks, startups and other assets. His main passion, however, is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty on a global scale.

3. Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos holding kindleBiography

Estimated net worth: $176.5 billion

What started out as a business in a garage in Jeff Bezos’s home in Seattle, Washington, Amazon.com has since become a trillion-dollar company. Today, Bezos owns roughly one-fifth of Amazon’s stock as CEO. He has also delved into other areas by purchasing the Washington Post, launching spaceflight startup Blue Origin, and making personal investments through his venture capital firm Bezos Expeditions.

2. Bernard Arnault & family

Bernard ArnaultMoney

Estimated net worth: $197 billion

Bernard Arnault became one of the wealthiest men on the planet by satisfying the tastes of the rich and famous. While his luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Sephora certainly contributed to his swelling bank account, his LVMH group reported record-high sales and profits in 2018, largely due to increased consumer spending in China. Arnault is also a patron of the arts, donating millions to museums and has even pledged $220 million to repair the fire-stricken Notre Dame Cathedral.

1. Elon Musk

Image of Elon Musk

Estimate net worth: $235.6 billion

Billionaire. Chief executive officer. Crypto puppet master. Troll King. Elon Musk goes by many nicknames. But the brain behind Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and The Boring Company has become the world's wealthiest man by defying the short-sellers and through investors pouring into the electric automaker, which he conceded was not sustainable. Overall, despite intense critics, Musk is not only the richest man, but he may also go down in history as the man who took astronauts on Mars!

Final thoughts

Most of the names on this list are individuals who established a product, built a business and satisfied consumer demand.

Be it Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, these billionaires took a gamble and it paid off big time. But that does not mean they did not run into brick walls and make mistakes on their way to success. Indeed, this is one of the first things they will tell you.

If you are a budding entrepreneur, take a page out of these billionaires’ books, and see where that take you!

Are you surprised to see anyone on Forbes’s list? Let us know in the comments section below!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 27 October 2019.

The list is based on Forbes’ ‘The Real-Time Billionaire List’ where rankings are updated daily based on the prior trading day. The ranking above is based on  data provided by Forbes on 3 February 2022.