While the concept of $8 trillion might seem absolutely impossible to really grasp for average person, the fact is that there are more billionaires now than there have ever been. The total number of billionaires in the world has actually increased by 3% since last year according to the Hurun Global Rich List, and the combined fortunes of the world’s billionaires has jumped 16% since 2016.
This probably isn’t surprising to anyone who has read this blog. In fact, Buffett himself leapt into second place in the list of the world’s richest men. In the last few months alone, his net worth has leapt from $73 billion to around $78 billion. Most of his wealth is located in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, which means that it’s subject to market rises, but among billionaires that’s not uncommon. The richest man in the world at the time of writing is Buffett’s friend Bill Gates, who has $81 billion.
A billionaire is defined as anyone who has at least $1 billion to their name either in investments or combined total assets.
According to the report, there are around 2,257 billionaires in the world, and their combined wealth is equivalent to 11% of the world’s GDP. It’s also larger than the GDP of any single country other than the United States and China. However, it should be noted that the United States and China also had the highest number of billionaires.
The report went on to estimate that there are probably closer to 5,000 billionaires, as many go to great lengths to hide their wealth. However, the number of billionaires overall (even with the possible low-ball estimate) has increased by 55% in the last five years.
There is a bit of silver lining, however. The report did say that around 2/3 of the world’s billionaires are actually self-made rather than inherited. So perhaps there is some hope for the small guy!