Invest Wisely

Bill Gates Net Worth: Why it Really Matters

by Megan Roth5 min read
Facts about Bill Gates net worth

Bill Gates is currently the second richest individual in the world, trailing behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Reports say that the gap between Bezos and Gates is the widest so far between the first and second billionaires’ rankings since 2001. Before you make assumptions that it’s Amazon’s phenomenal growth versus Microsoft’s revenue, think again.  The real reason behind Bill Gates net worth having a wide gap versus that of Jeff Bezos is because Gates keeps giving his money away.


If you are interested to know, Bill Gates net worth is currently $90.5 billion as of March 31, 2018. That data is according to Forbes, which records the real-time net worth of wealthy individuals.


What is the source of Bill Gates’ fortune?

A self-made entrepreneur, he and his partner Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975. It is currently the world’s largest software business. However, the company started out on shaky ground. By 1979, Microsoft was earning $2.5 million in profit. Bill Gates and Paul Allen took their company public with an initial offering of $21. This was in March 1986. When the stock hit $90.75 per share in 1987, Gates, then 31 years old became the world’s youngest billionaire. This was due to the fact that Microsoft went public that year.  When he was 39 years old in 1995, the Microsoft founder was declared the world’s wealthiest man. On February 2014, Gates publicly announced that he was going to step down as Microsoft chairman in order to spend more time on his charitable work through his foundation. In 1999, when the US stock market was at its all-time high, Bill Gates net worth reached $101 billion.


Bill Gates net worth reached $101 billion
In 1999, when the US stock market was at its all-time high, Bill Gates net worth reached $101 billion


So why does Bill Gates Net worth Matter?

Out of the 2,208 billionaires in the world, a majority of them are self-made entrepreneurs just like Bill Gates. There are currently more billionaires than ever, and they are growing richer.  Collectively, the world’s billionaires have $9.1 trillion to their name. The gap between rich and poor continue to widen.


What makes Bill Gates a cut above the rest is that he and his wife Melinda Gates acknowledge that wealth inequality is a problem. They have publicly spoken about the fact that it is unfair that they have so much wealth. The Gates couple is making a choice to give their money away to charitable causes.  In their foundation’s annual letter, they addressed their top 10 tough questions, and this is tough question #8: Is it fair that you have so much influence?


Melinda says that it is not fair that they “have so much wealth when billions of others have so little.” Their actions certainly speak louder than words because they are committed to giving their wealth away through their foundation.  They even started The Giving Pledge, a program encouraging other billionaires to give their wealth away. Their friend Warren Buffet, the third-ranking billionaire, is part of this endeavor. The Gates couple is also inspiring other wealthy people to follow their lead.  Other billionaires who have signed the Giving Pledge are big names such as the Virgin Group’s Richard Branson and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.


The couple certainly leads by example, as they have, by far, given away cash amounting to $2.9 billion. They have also given away 700 million Microsoft shares to charitable institutions.



The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2000, Bill and his wife Melinda started their foundation which they simply called The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  This was the same year that he stepped down as Microsoft CEO. The animating principle of the foundation is that “All lives have equal value.” They call themselves “impatient optimists working to reduce inequality.” The foundation has four main missions to achieve their vision.  The first mission is to ensure that more children survive and live life to the fullest through quality health care and a great education. They work with organizations in both developing countries and the United States. The second mission is to empower the poorest, particularly women and young girls by investing in women’s health and empowerment. The third mission is to fight infectious diseases and save lives by developing innovative approaches and delivering the latest in science and technology. The last mission is to inspire people to take action in order to bring about lasting and sustainable change in the world. They do this by funding researches and translating scientific discoveries into solutions.


Since then, it has helped many communities worldwide with charitable causes like improving global health and raising the quality of life of the world’s citizens. Their identified grant-making areas are the following: Global Development Program, Global Health Program, Global Policy and Advocacy, and United States Program. Among other accomplishments, one of the best ones is the work to eradicate polio, which they hope to eliminate by 2020. The foundation has really made a global impact, prompting Time magazine to honor Bill and Melinda Gates as 2005 Persons of the Year, a distinction they shared with U2’s Bono. In 2016, the Gates couple became recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom under President Barack Obama.


Bill Gates net worth and his Charity
Bill Gates net worth matters to those whose lives are saved by the world’s largest private charitable foundation


In 2017, Bill Gates announced that he will be investing $50 million into the Dementia Discovery Fund and would add another $50 million in other start-up ventures working towards research on Alzheimer’s disease. It was also revealed in 2017 that one of Gates’ firms is investing $80 million to develop a 25,000-acre smart city in the area of Phoenix, Arizona.  This smart city will enjoy cutting-edge technology with autonomous logistics hubs, data centers, and high-speed digital networks.


Bill Gates net worth ultimately becomes a symbol of economic inequality, but the best thing about it is that he is doing something to lessen the gap and give back to society. The ultimate goal of the Gates is to give a majority of their wealth away. Just consider this staggering fact: had he held on to the assets that he has given to the foundation, Bill Gates net worth would have been an estimated $150 billion today.