Who Is the Richest Person in the World?
Answer: Jeff Bezos. For now.
Current net worth: $182 billion
Closest competitor: Elon Musk
Jeff Bezos does not fly under the radar. His name is everywhere. But how well do you know the richest man in the world?
The Princeton grad majored in electrical engineering and computer science and worked on Wall Street in the early 1990s. In 1994, he founded Amazon, and the rest is history.
The multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, started selling books online, but now sells a lot more than just books. With a focus on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence, Amazon has become the largest online sales company in the world and has grown even more since adding cloud services and virtual assistants to the mix.
Bezos also founded an aerospace company called Blue Origin, which hopes to launch a new era of commercial human space flight. He also owns numerous investments through his venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions.
Those investments include The Washington Post newspaper, the 10,000 Year Clock project and Bezos One Day Fund, a $2 billion philanthropic fund which he launched with his then-wife MacKenzie Scott in 2018 that helps address homelessness and early education in low-income communities.
In 2020, Bezos became the first person to reach a net worth of $200 billion. He remains one of the few people in the exclusive centibillionaire club with a net worth over $100 billion, but he has some competition.
Bezos’s closest financial competitor is Elon Musk, who has gained just as much notoriety as Bezos has over the past few years. Musk is best known as the founder of SpaceX and the CEO and product architect of Tesla, but his full story is far more interesting.
He was born in South Africa and studied in three different countries before completing dual bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1995, he moved cross-country to California with plans to attend Stanford, but once he got there, he took a hard left into the world of business. He and his brother, Kimbal, founded a software company called Zip2, which was purchased by Compaq for $307 million in 1999. If that sounds huge now, imagine how much it was in 1999.
Musk has since launched several other companies, including SolarCity, The Boring Company, Neuralink and OpenAI, an artificial intelligence nonprofit. He seems to have a knack for generating winning business ideas, because the business magnate is now a centibillionaire.
The next richest people are Bill Gates coming in third with $140 billion, Bernard Arnault with $125 billion, and Mark Zuckerberg with $106 billion.
The Bottom Line
Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk have been in a race for the top spot on the world's wealthiest list in 2021. On March 15, Musk was the richest person in the world. Just a few days later, Bezos pulled ahead again.
How is that possible, you ask? In the world of billionaires, stats change rapidly. Multibillionaires can and do lose millions or billions overnight depending on the stock market. Bezos and Musk have been playing leapfrog for a while. Earlier this year after a significant Tesla sell-off, Bezos pulled ahead. Then, Musk was the frontrunner.
Now, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, Bezos is back on top again with $182 billion to Elon Musk’s $175 billion. These numbers will continue to change. That's the life of a billionaire. But they both have so much money that a few billion is barely a drop in the bucket.
See some of the other richest people in the world.