MSFT Stock Built Bill Gates Net Worth
There’s a very good chance that Google searches for “Bill Gates net worth” are about to spike. The 60-year old founder of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has reached a new pinnacle of wealth, helped along by MSFT stock.
Bill Gates is now worth $90.0 billion, meaning that even the second-richest person in the world, Amancio Ortega, is eating his dust.
The Spanish mogul amassed $76.5 billion from his retail empire, but he’s still $13.5 billion shy of Gates’s net worth. (Source: “Bill Gates’s Net Worth Hits $90 Billion: Chart,” Bloomberg, August 22, 2016.)
And don’t even bring Warren Buffett into this conversation right now. The “Oracle of Omaha” is somewhere in Bill Gates’s rear-view mirror, with $67.0 billion.
Gates’s holdings in Canadian National Railway (NYSE: CNI) and Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) put him over the top, but the bulk of his fortune came from Microsoft stock. In fact, if Gates had been holding a greater portion of his wealth in MSFT stock, he would have gotten to $90.0 billion sooner.
Shares of Canadian National Railway appreciated by 18.35%, and those of Ecolab grew 16.54%; both respectable performances, considering the abysmal economic conditions of the last year. But MSFT stock surged 38.24% in the last 12 months.
Think of it as the “Indy 500.” Gates was in the MSFT stock car for almost the entire race, but then he switched cars for the last lap. Technically, he won the race in his new car, but the old one got him within striking distance of the finish line.
Put another way, Gates owes his $90.0-billion estate to the incredible success of MSFT stock over the last few decades. Here are a few things he could buy with his extraordinary wealth:
- one hoverboard for every household in the U.S., or
- six aircraft carriers, or
- 395 Gulfstream G650s, or
- the entire country of Trinidad & Tobago … 3 times over
Considering the number of ludicrous ways that Gates could spend his money, it’s remarkable that he chose to sign “The Giving Pledge” (a philanthropic initiative in which billionaires commit to giving away 99% of their wealth).
In what I can only characterize as a pretty selfless gesture, Gates has repeatedly sold shares of MSFT stock to fund his charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This charity sponsors projects that can achieve the maximum amount of positive change in the world, and better still, it executes that change in the most efficient way possible.
Microsoft stock may have made Bill Gates the richest man in the world, but his care in handling that fortune is all him.