Meet the richest men and women on the planet

There are 2,208 billionaires in the world, according to Forbes 32nd annual ranking of the world’s billionaires, published recently. The top 20 on the list, who represent less than one per cent of the total number, are collectively worth $1.2 trillion, representing 13 per cent of the total wealth of the billionaires on the list. Below are five surprising facts that you should know about these ultra-elites.

1. 63 billionaires under the age of 40

Of the 2,208 billionaires, only 63 are below the age of 40. These 63 individuals are collectively worth $265 billion. Not surprisingly, over half of them are self-made entrepreneurs, while a few have inherited their fortunes too. The youngest billionaires in the world are sisters Alexandra and Katharina Andersen, 21- and 22-year-olds respectively, who inherited their $1.4 billion wealth each from their father Johan H. Andersen. The richest billionaire under 40 is, of course, 33-year-old Mark Zuckerberg who is worth an estimated $71 billion.

2. Enter the cryptocurrency billionaires

Never mind the volatile nature of cryptocurrency that makes millionaires in a day, and bankrupts others in a matter of minutes. Forbes introduced its first-ever crypto rich list earlier this year, and it is this category of investors that have given rise to a new breed of cryptocurrency billionaires. These include people like Chris Larsen, the co-founder of Ripple who has an estimated crypto net worth of $7.5- $8 billion and Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum who has a crypto net worth of $1-$1.5 billion.

3. It’s the finance sector, not tech, that’s churning out the most billionaires

The tech bro community’s got all the swagger that comes with working in Silicon Valley and are all about “disrupting” the status quo. But the real money spinners are within the finance industry. The finance sector filled with people tasked with managing the wealth of others – PE owners, hedge fund managers, brokers, et al – generated the most number of billionaires compared to any other industry. There were 310 billionaires – or around 14 per cent of the total number – from the finance industry.

4. Jeff Bezos is the richest person on the planet

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had a phenomenal 2017. His worth spiked $39.2 billion in 12 months. He’s now worth around $112 billion, that’s a $22 billion lead over the second richest person in the world, Bill Gates. Bezos is the world’s first centibillionaire – one who has is worth over $100 billion – in the 32 years since Forbes has been publishing its annual rich list.

5. The number of women billionaires is on the rise

There are 256 women on the 2018 list, up from the 227 women on last year’s list. Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart – the world’s biggest company by way of revenue – is now the world’s richest woman and the 16th richest person in the world. She’s worth an estimated $46 billion. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers and family, who has a 33 per cent share join L’Oreal stock, is worth $42.2 billion, making her the second richest woman in the world. The US has the most number of women billionaires (82) followed by Germany (33) and China (30).