Bezos is currently worth $143.3 billion, according to Forbes, which is just over $50 billion more than the next richest person alive, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is currently worth over $93 billion.
In the context of other billionaires, that $50 billion difference is nearly equal to Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s entire fortune (currently $52 billion) or 13.5 times Mark Cuban’s net worth (currently $3.7 billion, according to Forbes).
Bezos’ wealth has been climbing as shares of Amazon have been skyrocketing. A year ago, shares of Amazon were hovering at about $1000 per share. Today, they are trading at more than $1750 per share.
Bezos was born the son of a teen mom, was valedictorian of his high school class, went to Princeton and started a career in finance in New York City. But at age 30, Bezos walked away from his job to launch Amazon. “After much consideration, I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I’m proud of that choice,” the entrepreneur says in his 2010 graduation speech at Princeton.
Bezos is also the founder of aerospace company Blue Origin, into which he plans to invest much of his Amazon money.
“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it,” Bezos said in an interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner, published by Business Insider in April.
“Blue Origin is expensive enough to be able to use that fortune,” said Besoz, who, at the time, was worth $131 billion. “I am currently liquidating about $1 billion a year of Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin. And I plan to continue to do that for a long time. Because you’re right, you’re not going to spend it on a second dinner out.”
Bezos has been criticized for not donating more of his wealth to charity. Gates and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett — the second and third wealthiest people alive, respectively, according to Forbes — together co-founded The Giving Pledge, a public call for billionaires to pledge to give away at least half of their wealth to charity. Gates and Buffett have each given away billions of dollars to charitable causes.
However, in June, Bezos said he has decided upon and will announce at the end of the summer two areas in which he’ll focus his future philanthropy efforts.
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