World’s 10 richest people gained $400 BILLION in wealth in 2021: Elon Musk leads the pack by adding $121B as Jeff Bezos adds $4.5B
- World’s ten richest people added a combined $402B in wealth in 2021
- Elon Musk gained the most, adding $121B to cement his status as world’s richest
- Jeff Bezos did not keep pace, adding only $4.5 billion and slipping into second
- Musk sold off $16.4 billion of Tesla shares but this little impacts net worth
- Most of the sales were to cover taxes on the exercise of lucrative stock options
The world’s 10 richest people added $402 billion to their collective net worth in 2021, making it a banner year for the ultra-wealthy.
As the year came to an end, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was the biggest winner, adding $121 billion to his fortune, which is now the largest in the world at $277 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who started the year in the top spot, sank to number two, adding a mere $4.54 billion to his net worth, which now stands at $195 billion.
After Musk, French billionaire Bernard Arnault, the founder of luxury goods company LVMH and currently the third richest man in the world, had the largest gains for the year, adding $61.3 billion to his fortune.
The world’s ten richest people added $402 billion to their collective net worth in 2021, making it a banner year for the ultra-wealthy
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was the biggest winner, adding $121 billion to his fortune, which is now the largest in the world at $277 billion
For Musk, it was an eventful year, marked by a hosting appearance on Saturday Night Live, a break-up with girlfriend Grimes, and his self-coronation as ‘Technoking’ of Tesla.
Musk made huge waves last month as he sold off many billions worth of his Tesla stock in a move purportedly dictated by a poll he posted on Twitter.
In reality, at least some of the stock sales were driven by mandatory taxes as he exercised stock options that will expire in August.
He has sold $16.4 billion worth of shares since early November when he said he would sell 10 percent of his Tesla stock if Twitter users agreed, which they did.
But Musk in September had set up a prearranged plan for stock sales related to options expiring next year, and Tesla in a filing on Tuesday said the program was complete.
Musk said last week that he would be done selling shares after his programmed sales ended, meaning that the selloff is now complete.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) gained $24.3 billion for the year, while former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (right) gained $41.2 billion
Microsoft founder Bill Gates added $7.13 billion to his fortune, the fourth largest in the world at $139 billion
The final trades, reported on Tuesday, included exercising an option on 1.6 million shares and selling 934,090 of those shares to pay for taxes.
In total, Musk has sold 15.7 million shares in Tesla late in this year, approximately the 10 percent stake the billionaire had pledged to sell.
He exercised options granted in 2012 to buy nearly 23 million shares at $6.24 each, a fraction of Tesla’s share price, which stood at $1069.33 in late trading on Thursday, the final trading session of the year.
Tesla shares have fallen from their record highs, reached two days prior to Musk’s infamous Twitter poll, but are still on pace to end the year up 54 percent from January 1.
Elsewhere on the top-10 billionaires list, Microsoft founder Bill Gates added $7.13 billion to his fortune, the fourth largest in the world at $139 billion.
Larry Ellison (left, the executive chairman of Oracle, added $28.8 billion to his wealth, while Warren Buffett (right) added $21.4 billion
Google co-founders Larry Page (left) and Sergey Brin (right) added $47.4 billion and $45.1 billion to their net worths respectively
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin added $47.4 billion and $45.1 billion to their net worths respectively.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gained $24.3 billion for the year, bringing his total to $128 billion, though his fortunes have declined as Facebook stock is down 9 percent since a whistleblower leaked damaging documents this fall.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gained $41.2 billion in 2021, and Warren Buffett added $21.4 billion.
Larry Ellison, the executive chairman of Oracle, added $28.8 billion to his wealth.
For most of the world’s wealthiest, the vast majority of their net worth is in stock, and their gains have been driven by booming markets.
As 2021 draws to a close, the main U.S. stock indexes are on pace for their third straight year of stunning annual returns, boosted by historic fiscal and monetary stimulus.
The S&P 500 is looking at its strongest three-year performance since 1999.
The S&P 500 posted 67 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 65 new highs and 344 new lows.
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