Billionaires are hurting too!

March 13, 2009

Business

The total number of billionaires in the world fell from 1,125 in 2008 to 793 in 2009.  The financial meltdown wiped out $2 trillion from their net worth.  Most of you are saying the same thing as I am, “who cares!”  It’s all net worth, and not cash.  There is a difference when looking at a personal financial statement.  If somebody held a gun to their head and said “give me your billions or you die,” unless they had a 3 month window, it’s not going to happen.  The liquidity of their net worth is not very high and complicated to achieve.

Russians were the hardest hit with Moscow losing its title as the world’s billionaire capital to New York.  Bill Gates has become the richest man again, taking over the top spot with $40 billion after slipping to 3rd last year, when he was worth $58 billion.  How the hell can he survive on that?!  Warren Buffett fell to 2nd place with $37 billion, dropping $25 billion from last year.  Collectively, the top-three billionaires lost $68 billion in the year to Feb 13.  I’m setting up a donation account listed under “needy billionaires” at Chase Bank.

Steve Forbes said “Billionaires don’t have to worry about their next meal, but if their wealth is declining and you’re not creating numerous new billionaires, it means the rest of the world is not doing very well.”  In part, he’s right.  It goes to show that there’s just a lot less money to go around right now.  That’s vastly different from saying that there’s no money out there.  It’s just currently harder to come by, and the once cash flowing businesses are now penny pinching and suffering severe margin drops and revenue dips.  The money is out there, just not in the same places that it’s been.

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