You’d have to live under a rock to not realize that Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world. He joins a bevy of other billionaires who literally have more money than they know what to do with — to put it in perspective, a person reaches 1 million seconds old on their eleventh day of life, but they won’t reach 1 billion seconds until they’re 31 years old. That fact really drives home the difference between millionaires and billionaires.
Like so many other billionaires, Bill Gates built his fortune in the tech industry and continues to grow his net worth even to this day. But where does Gates rank amongst the other richest people in the world and more importantly, what is he spending his fortune on? The answer may surprise you.
Bill Gates is living proof that nerds rule the world
A few decades ago, few people would have wanted to be classified as a nerdy, book-smart student. But Bill Gates remains one of the pioneers of technology who helped change that long-held perception and proved that being smart is cool — and lucrative.
Bill Gates grew up in Seattle with his parents and two sisters. His father William H. Gates II was an attorney and his late mother Mary Gates was a teacher. Both of his parents encouraged young Bill’s love of computers and technology from an early age. Bill Gates dropped out of college to start his company, Microsoft, with childhood friend Paul Allen.
Microsoft changed everything
When Allen and Gates were creating a vision for Microsoft, they dreamed of “a computer on every desktop and in every home.” That may sound like a normal enough concept now — but at the time, it was an outlandish idea that plenty of people thought was impossible.
Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and launched Windows 1.0 a decade later, in 1985. The company would go on to become the world’s largest personal computer software company and is valued at $125.8 billion today.
By 2008, Gates chose to leave his day job at the company he started and in 2014 he officially stepped down as chairman and into the role of a technology advisor.
Thanks to Microsoft and other investments, Bill Gates has a net worth of $106 billion. He is the second richest person in the world with only Amazon founder Jeff Bezos counting himself wealthier.
He gives away billions to charity
It’s true that Bill Gates has a lavish home (Xanadu 2.0 in Medina, Washington) and can literally afford to buy anything he wants. But he doesn’t hoard all his billions for himself and actually, he doesn’t even spoil his children. Instead, Gates gives away billions to charity every year.
Bill Gates and his wife Melinda founded The Gates Foundation in 2000 and continue to contribute generously to charitable causes. But even though they gave away $35 billion worth of their fortune last year, they still managed to increase their net worth by $16 billion thanks to an aggressive stock market strategy. They currently have over 60% of their wealth invested, which is leading to huge returns.
Bill Gates refuses to spoil his kids
Bill and Melinda Gates have two daughters and one son. Famously, they didn’t allow the kids to have cell phones until the age of 14 even though their father built one of the largest technology companies in the world. But the Gates family is just trying to teach their children to have good characters and not become spoiled.
With that in mind, it makes sense that the Gates children will only inherit $10 million each. That might sound like a lot of money – but in actuality, it’s only a tiny portion of the Gates’ multi-billion-dollar fortune. The reason for the limited inheritance is simple: Gates doesn’t want them to be lazy.
“We want to strike a balance where they have the freedom to do anything but not a lot of money showered on them so they could go out and do nothing,” Gates explained during a TED talk.
The rest of the Gates family fortune will be given to charitable causes.