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Who Will Be the World’s First Trillionaire?

It’s going to happen. At some point, somebody in the world is going to be worth over $1 trillion. That’s the number 1 followed by 12 zeros.

Forbes just released its annual list of the world’s wealthiest individuals, and here are the top six individuals:

  1. Bill Gates (Microsoft), $90 billion
  2. Jeff Bezos (Amazon), $86 billion
  3. Amancio Ortega (Zara Brands), $84 billion
  4. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), $73 billion
  5. Carlos Slim Helu (American Movil, a Latin American telecom), $68 billion
  6. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), $67 billion

Fun fact: Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest person on the above list by 20 years, and the youngest person in the top 100 by 10 years.

Fun fact two: there are three Walton family members in the top 20. If Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, were alive today he would be worth more than $114 trillion.

It’s an impressive list to say the least. But it got me thinking, how long until one of these people becomes a trillionaire?

So I opened up Excel and did some basic calculations. The key assumption that had to be made was what to use for the annual increase in wealth. I decided on a fairly conservative 8% compound annual growth rate, and from there I used Excel to calculate how long it would take each of these people to reach $1 trillion.

Based on the calculations, Bill Gates will reach the $1 trillion mark in a little over 31 years, at which point he will be 92 years old. Mark Zuckerberg will reach that mark in 35 years, when he will be 68 years old.

If I were to change the compound annual growth rate to 10%, then Gates would be a trillionaire when he is 86 years old, and Zuckerberg will be a trillionaire by the age of 61.

I’ll make an educated guess that Bill Gates will be alive to witness such an event, and I’m almost certain that Zuckerberg will also.

So that means that for many of you reading this blog, you will be alive to witness the world’s first trillionaire.

And Dr. Evil is going to have to up his ransom…

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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