Living up to its title as the Promised Land, United States consistently figures as home of the largest number of billionaires in the world. According to Forbes, America is home to 403 billionaires who among them have a net worth of US$1.3 trillion. Here is a list of ten of the richest men in United States of America.
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- Bill Gates
Software mogul and cofounder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is richest man in US and the second-richest in the world. The self-made billionaire currently enjoys a net worth of US$53 billion as Microsoft shares soared by 50% in the last year and his investment vehicle Cascade continued to rake in profits. However at present almost 60% of Gates’ fortune is held outside Microsoft with assets in Four Seasons Hotel, Auto Nation and Televisa.
Bill Gates chose as his life partner Melinda French of Dallas who was then working as a Microsoft manager. The two got married one New Year’s Day in 1994 on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Today the couple has three children and they live in Medina, Washington. Both Bill and Melinda Gates are actively involved in philanthropy with charitable and scientific research constituting their main areas of support. During his leisure, Bill Gates enjoys reading, playing golf, bridge and tennis.
- Warren Buffet
America’s most high-profile investor, Warren Buffet ranks second on Forbes 2010 List of Richest Americans with a net worth of US$47 billion. The primary source of Buffet’s fortune is the textile firm Berkshire Hathaway which he took over in 1965. Eventually he used the company as a vehicle to invest in varied sectors as insurance, food, utilities and recently green technology. Despite the recent recession, Buffet made a tidy profit with his shrewd investments in Goldman Sachs and General Electronic.
The 79 year-old self-made billionaire married Susan Thompson in 1962 and the couple had three children. Even though Warren and Susan Buffet began living separately since 1977, they remained married till her death in 2004. Two years later, Warren married Astrid Menks who he had been living with ever since the departure of his wife.
- Lawrence Ellison
Yet another software millionaire, Lawrence Ellison owes his fortune to Oracle, the company he built from a small business in 1977 to an enormous computer corporation. Presently, Ellison enjoys a net worth of $28 billion which shows just how far he has come from his humble beginnings when he was adopted by a grand-aunt because his single mother couldn’t afford to raise him.
Today the 64 year-old billionaire is married to Melanie Craft, a romance novelist and has two children. This is Ellison’s fourth marriage, all the earlier three having ended in divorce. His first wife was Adda Quinn who he divorced after seven years. Next he married Nancy Wheeler in 1976 but the marriage lasted for only two years. His third wife was Barbara Boothe with whom he had a daughter too but this marriage too failed after four years. In 1998, Ellison suffered a near-death experience when his yacht, the "Sayonara," got caught in a disastrous storm during a 725–mile ocean race. The storm sank six of his competitors and left four men dead. The incident shook Ellison and made him realize the importance of family.
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- Jim Walton
Jim Walton owes his position on the list of America’s richest men primarily to his father, Sam Walton who founded the ubiquitous discount chain Wal-Mart. However besides being heir to the world’s largest retail empire, Jim also runs the Arvest Bank, the Walton family’s savings and loan operation. Today Wal-Mart has US$405 billion in annual sales, employs more than 2 million people and is spread across 8400 stores. All this leaves Jim Walton with a fortune of more than US$20 billion.
The 62 year-old Wal-Mart heir is largely a private person who rarely seeks the limelight or grants interviews. Jim Walton is married to Lynn McNabb Walton and the couple has four children. Jim and Lynn reside in the sprawling Walton family estate in Bentonville, Arkansas.
- S. Robson Walton
Chairman of Wal-Mart, S. Robson Walton is another member of the Walton family who figures among the ten richest men of USA. With a net worth of almost US$ 19 billion, the older son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton co-owns America’s largest private employer as well as the world’s biggest retail chain with his brother Jim Walton. Before taking over the post of chairman, Robson was first a member of the law-firm representing the company and after that held a series of executive positions in the mega corporation. Wal-Mart was one of the few retail names to make a profit during the 2008 recession as cash-strapped customers looked to discount retailers for their shopping needs.
65 year-old ‘Rob’ Walton as he is popularly known, is married and lives with his children in the Walton family estate at Bentonville, Arkansas. His has three children with his first wife Carolyn and two with his present spouse.
- Michael Bloomberg
Elected last fall to his third term as New York City mayor , Michael Bloomberg spent a reported US$90 million in his campaign. The main source of his US$ 18 billion fortune is his 88% ownership in Bloomberg LP, the financial data and news outfit which he founded in 1992 and which was gradually expanded to include magazine, radio station as well as cable network.
In 1975, Michael Bloomberg married Yorkshire-born Susan Brown and the couple had two daughters, Emma and Georgina. The marriage however ended in a divorce. Currently the 68 year-old NYC mayor is romantically linked to former New York state banking superintendent Diane Taylor. The two reportedly met for the first time when seated next to each other during a luncheon at the Citizens’ Budget Commission in the fall of 2000. Coincidentally they ran into each other at another business party that evening and soon Bloomberg asked her out. As a powerful investment banker and much sought-after name in the world of non-profits, Taylor is known to be as much her own person as the Mayor’s girlfriend of seven years.
- Sergey Brin
Another of the computer billionaires, Sergey Brin owes his place on the America’s richest men to the world’s most famous internet search engine Google which he famously started with partner Larry Page in a friend’s garage. Shares of the search giant shot up 70% in the past year, ballooning Brin’s net worth to US$17.5 billion.
At just 36 years old, this former immigrant from Russia is one of the world’s youngest billionaires. However all those women beginning to get enthusiastic had better watch out since Brin is already married and has a child. In May 2007, Brin got married to Anne Wojcicki in the beach paradise of the Bahamas. Anne is a biotech analyst and a 1996 graduate of Yale University with a B.S in biology. Actively involved with greater access to health information, she has encouraged Brin to take a definitive interest in the human genome project.
- Charles and David Koch
The two co-owners of Koch Industries are worth around US$17 billion each. They owe their fortune primarily to Koch Industries in which each has a 42% stake. The company was founded by their father Fred C. Koch who discovered the method of turning heavy oil into gasoline. The technology helped Koch Industries to race ahead of competition in the energy sector. In 2008, the company exceeded US $100 billion in sales and today it is the second largest private company in America.
74 year-old Charles Koch is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Koch industries. He is married with two children and lives in Wichita, Kansas. The younger brother David Koch is 69 years old and acts as the executive vice president of Koch Industries. He is married with three children and lives in New York City of which he is believed to be the second-richest resident according to an August report 1 in the New York Magazine. The report also mentions how in 1991, David Koch first met his future wife Julia Flesher, who was then working as an assistant for the designer Adolfo. Julia, the attractive blonde daughter of an Arkansas junk dealer was then just 27 while David was already 50. The two got married in 1996 but not before David went through a near-death experience in a plane crash and realized that he needed to take charge of his personal life.
- Larry Page
Co-founder of Google, the most popular web search engine, Larry Page is believed to be worth around US $17.5 billion like his partner Sergei Brin. The jump in their fortunes came not only with a US $5.5 billion rise in Google fortunes over the past 12 months, but also with upgradations like that of the Chrome browser as well as with new product launches like the smartphone Nexus One. The story of Google’s launch is now legendary with enthusiasts recounting how Page and Brin dropped out of their computer science PhD program in 1998 and started the world’s most famous web search engine out of a friend’s garage.
The 37 year-old self-made billionaire is married to Lucy Southworth, a research scientist. The marriage took place in December 2007, on Sir Richard Branson’s private haven, Necker Island. At the time of their marriage Lucy was a 27-year-old doctoral student in biomedical informatics at Stanford University after having previously gained an MSc degree from Oxford.
- George Soros
America’s wealthiest hedge-fund manager, George Soros is believed to have a net worth of US$14 billion. Launched in 1969, Quantum Fund turned out to be a money spinner for Soros and last year it was up by 28% despite the after effects of the recent economic recession. However he is best known as the man who “broke the Bank of England” when he with Stanley Druckenmiller made a one billion dollar profit on one day after speculating on the direction of the British pound.
The 79 year-old self-made billionaire is twice-divorced and has three children. His first wife was Annelise Witschak with whom he had three children. Later he married Susan, an art historian and twenty-five years his junior but again divorced after two children and two and a half decades together.