400 Richest Americans Got Richer This Year, As Most Americans' Net Worth Tanked: Forbes
The top 400, all of whom are worth at least $1 billion, saw their combined wealth increase 8 percent this year, to the dizzying total of $1.37 trillion, according to analysis from CNN.
Meanwhile, according to data released last week by the Federal Reserve, the net worth of American households and non-profits in the second quarter of this year plunged 2.8 percent, or $1.52 trillion, from the previous quarter, to settle at $53.5 trillion.
This means the 400 richest people in America account for about 2.6 percent of the nation's private wealth.
Topping the list -- again -- is Bill Gates, at $54 billion, up from $50 billion last year. In second is Warren Buffett, the so-called Oracle of Omaha who Thursday said it's "common sense" that "we're still in a recession," with $45 billion. Members of the Walton family (of Walmart fame) snagged spots four, seven, eight and nine. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, with $18 billion, came in 10th. Investor George Soros, who last week called the nation's economy "blah," came in 14th with $14.2 billion.
Charles and David Koch, the manufacturing and energy titans and Tea Party movement bankrollers, profiled by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker last month, tied for fifth place with $21.5 billion apiece.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in 35th place with $6.9 billion, is no longer the youngest billionaire on the list -- his colleagues at Facebook, Dustin Moskovitz (in 290th with $1.4 billion) and Eduardo Saverin (in 356th with $1.15 billion) have joined him. Moskovitz is eight days younger than Zuckerberg. Both are 26.
In a video interview with Forbes, Buffett said he is "sort of wired for capital allocation" and that he loves his profession so much that "I would be doing what I do now, and I would have done it in the past, if the payoff had been in seashells or shark's teeth or anything else."
Buffett was having a conversation with rapper Jay-Z, who didn't make the billionaires list, and who offered insights into his own rise to glory:
"We were into a lot of street things," he said. "It just so happened I had a talent to make music."