September 22, 2006 2:18 PM PDT

How to marry a billionaire? Start with Forbes list

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Who wants to be a millionaire? Not the wealthiest folks in the U.S., that's for sure.

Nowadays, it takes a minimum of $1 billion to make Forbes 400 Richest Americans list, according to the magazine's yearly survey, published this week.

Everyone on the list now is a billionaire compared with 374 in 2005, 313 in 2004 and 262 in 2003. Forbes estimates their collective net worth at $1.25 trillion, a $120 billion increase from 2005.

The titans of tech are all still there. Bill Gates (No. 1, $53 billion) remains the wealthiest American for the 13th year in a row. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (No. 5, $16 billion), Oracle's Larry Ellison (No. 4, $19.5 billion), and Michael Dell (No. 9, $15.5 billion) are still in the top 10. Google team Sergey Brin (No. 12, $14.1 billion) and Larry Page (No. 13, at 14.0 billion), both 33, are the youngest American billionaires, according to Forbes. Others making a showing are Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (No. 15, $13.6 billion), eBay founder Pierre Omidyar (No. 32, $7.7 billion), Apple Computer's Steve Jobs (No. 49, $4.9 billion), Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos (No. 70, $3.6 billion), Mark Cuban (No. 133, $2.3 billion), and Yahoo's Jerry Yang (No. 140, $2.2 billion) and David Filo (No. 117, $2.5 billion).

The rate at which some people are making their money has also grown.

Sheldon Adelson (No. 3), who makes his money off casinos, jumped $9 billion in net worth to $20.5 billion. The gain is partly attributed to him taking his Las Vegas Sands public. According to Forbes' calculations, should Sheldon continue at this pace, he will surpass Gates by 2012. Warren Buffett (No. 2, $46 billion), while his close second ranking to philanthropy partner Gates stayed the same, also had a $6 billion jump in fortune.

In an amazing concentration of the country's wealth, not one but seven Waltons of Wal-Mart fame made it onto the list this year, five of them in the top 11. Collectively, those Waltons are worth $82.5 billion.

Nevertheless, it's not all binary code and chips, or even energy and finance. People have to eat something while driving or staring at those computer screens all day. There is a lot of money in American favorites like coffee, salsa, pizza, cheese, candy and chewing gum.

Food billionaires include: William Wrigley Jr. (No. 215, $1.6 billion); James Leprino (No. 242, $1.5 billion), who sells mozzarella to several chain restaurants; three Mars family members, who tied for No. 21 at $10.5 billion each; and Christopher Goldsbury (No. 278, $1.4 billion), who recently sold Pace Salsa to Campbell's Soup. Returning to the list is Little Caesar's pizza founder Michael Ilitch (tied at No. 242, $1.5 billion), and debuting this year at No. 354 is Starbucks tycoon Howard Schultz ($1.1 billion).

One notable team no longer on the 400 are married bankers Marion and Herbert Sandler, who were gracefully booted as a result of giving away more than $1 billion to charity, according to Forbes.

So what do all these fancy billionaires drive?

Alas, there is not a Bugatti Veyron or Koenigsegg CCX in sight, according to Forbes' list of some cars driven by the 400. In the Microsoft parking lot, you might see Gates' 1988 Porsche 959 Coupe or Porsche 911, Ballmer's 1998 Lincoln Continental (a showing of his proud Detroit roots), or Allen's 1988 Mazda pickup. (Allen keeps his 1988 Porsche 959 in Europe.) If you bought your kid a desktop in the last couple of years, you may have helped pay for Dell's 2004 Porsche Boxster and an H2 Hummer (notably not the H1). Ellison drives a Bentley.

But many of the wealthiest Americans don't use their cars to flaunt their status or fulfill a need for speed. Also on Forbes' list were a BMW, an SUV, a station wagon and several Mercedes sedans.

One interesting bit of humor is the fact that some of the purchases by these billionaires followed conventional cliches of car ownership for their generation to the letter.

Sneaker billionaires Sergey Brin and Larry Page each own an environmentally responsible Toyota Prius and have jointly invested in the electronic Tesla Roadster. A Mercedes-Benz E320 station wagon is owned by middle-aged mother of two Abigail Johnson (No. 16, $13 billion), the Fidelity Investments heiress. The grandfatherly Warren Buffett owns--what else?--a Cadillac. He bought it after auctioning off his Lincoln Town Car on eBay in August.

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12 comments

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Jobs behind Balmer???
that's interesting!
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Reply Link Flag
dude
you need to get out more.
Posted by danny_f (14 comments )
Link Flag
The rich do get richer
The rest of us get:

-increases in health care costs
-jobs moved overseas and layoffs
-no minimum wage increase
-higher gas prices
-spied on
-to die in war
-more hours for less pay, or that 2nd job
-manipulated markets
-to watch CEOs with platinum parachutes, exorbitant "pay" packages
-American Idol & Katie Couric
-tainted spinach, water, air, government

Do you feel safer now? Thank god the rich can get that 4th yacht.

Why doesn't Forbes put out a 400 poorest Americans issue. Oh, that's right, because it's more like 40 million.
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ye reap what ye sow...
The rest of us create headaches for everyone by:

- driving up health care costs with obesity, smoking, drug
abuse, and frivolous malpractice lawsuits

- supporting corrupt unions

- buying SUV's and other absurd gas guzzlers

- failing to support troops who volunteered to protect their
country

- driving up taxes by leaching off of welfare and social security

- investing in companies with corrupt management

- watching Katie Couric and voting on American Idol

- buying the plastics, chemical, and other manufactured goods
that destroy our environment


In short, if you want to see the problem with America... look in
the mirror.
Posted by No_Man (77 comments )
Link Flag
sure... if they work for it.
Most of the people in the list are "self-made" billionares. In other words, they didn't inheret their money... they found ways to EARN it. You just should jealous.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Try working, saving, and investing.
The REST of us? In case you haven't noticed, most of the billionaires on the list are self-made... meaning, they worked to earn their money, and did not inheret it. Meaning... they USED to be part of "the rest of us," until they worked and earned their way up. The fact that America even has this many billionaires, and the fact that they are almost all self-made really goes to show that opportunities are bigger and more plentiful in the U.S. - for people who are willing to work for those opportunities. Sounds to me like you are just jealous.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Company Picnics
OR suck up to the big boss man at the Redmond One Company Picnic...
"Hi my name is Melinda..."
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Will
I'd like to know how to get on their good side and be put in their will.
Posted by Nubasaurus (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In Sweden we have a Capitalist which might be richer than Bill Gates!
Ingvar Kamprad, an industrialist from Sweden. He founded IKEA, the home furnishing retail chain, which sell low priced furnitures all over the world (235 stores in 33 countries). His business idea was: "We shall offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them."

Go to;
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.answers.com/topic/ingvar-kamprad" target="_newWindow">http://www.answers.com/topic/ingvar-kamprad</a>

And to;
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKEA" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IKEA</a>

Photo on a typical store, go to;
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:VillepinteFrance.JPG" target="_newWindow">http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:VillepinteFrance.JPG</a>


Björn Lundahl
Göteborg, Sweden
Posted by Björn Lundahl (253 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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