How Did the Richest Person in the World Make His Money?


Quick Answer

As of 2015, the world's richest person is Bill Gates, who earned much of his 79.2 billion dollar fortune through Microsoft. He co-founded the company in 1975 and served as CEO from 1975 to 2008. Cascade Investment is a diversified investment company that accounts for the majority of Gates' current income. Gates also owns Corbis, a visual media licensing company.

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Full Answer

The second-wealthiest person in the world, Carlos Slim Helú, made the majority of his $77.1 billion fortune in the telecommunications industry. He is the chairman and CEO of América Móvil, South America's largest mobile phone carrier. The third-wealthiest person in the world, Warren Buffett, made his fortune as an investor. Buffett is the owner and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational company that owns businesses such as GEICO, Dairy Queen and Fruit of the Loom.

In 2009, Gates and Buffett began "The Giving Pledge," a campaign to convince the world's wealthiest people to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. So far, 137 billionaires have taken the pledge. Gates has given over $28 billion to philanthropic causes, and Buffett pledged to give away 99 percent of his wealth eventually. Helú has not joined the campaign but has given approximately $4 billion to charitable causes.

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