Bill Gates is one of the world's greatest philanthropists. He and his wife Melinda gave $ 45.5 billion in their lifetime through their foundation and other charities, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy Plus, his Giving Pledge, an organization founded with his close friend, Warren Buffett, that he's dedicated to giving the majority of his wealth to charity.
That's why so many people think that Gates' personal fortune diminishes as he gives his money.
But that's not it. Gates is incredibly rich and enriches all the time.
Read: I spent an uplifting day at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and discovered what it really is to work there
It is $ 9.5 billion richer than it was a year ago and its personal wealth is currently approaching the $ 100 billion mark, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire index. Surprisingly, the rounded figure – $ 0.5 billion out of the $ 9.5 billion – equals half a billion dollars and represents a net worth greater than even the wealthiest families. And in 2014, Gates was worth $ 76 billion. He has earned $ 24 billion over the past five years.
This net worth of $ 100 billion puts it in thin air, even for a billionaire. It's an exclusive two-man club with this other very wealthy guy from the Seattle area, Jeff Bezos. Bezos is currently known as the richest man in the world, worth about 146 billion dollars.
Gates has often been rated as the # 2 richest person, about seven times in the past 24 years.
But the truth is that we do not know how rich Gates is.
Most of his investments are made through his company, Cascade Investment, led by a notorious secret fund manager, Michael Larson. These investments cover a wide range of investments, ranging from large holdings in public companies such as Waste Management and Auto Nation, to real estate and other commercial interests.
In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also invests in some for-profit companies, which are controlled by Bill or Melinda, or both. For example, their foundation has purchased nearly 800,000 shares of Liquidia Technologies, a biotech company developing custom drugs and manufactured according to SEC documents. Liquidia is in the process of going public. Although, to be fair, such issues are for the foundation and do not really count for Gate's personal wealth.
On the other hand, the bulk of his fortune is no longer sourced from Microsoft, even though his Microsoft shares are doing well under the CEO of Satya Nadella.
Over the last 15 years, Gates has sold most of its stake in Microsoft. In 2004, he owned 1.1 billion shares of Microsoft. Today, it holds about 103 million shares, with a current value of about $ 12 billion. He has not sold or acquired shares in the last two years, giving up both his cash salary and his share awards for his role as chairman.
But there are times when he finds himself with a little more Microsoft through his innumerable commercial interests.
For example, in April 2017, Microsoft acquired a company called Intentional Software, founded by Charles Simonyi, a former senior Microsoft engineer, who worked on Excel and Word. Gates was an investor in Intentional, through one of its investment companies, and Microsoft paid him $ 60 million when the company was bought.
So while Gates devotes his energy to charitable giving, his fortune grows much faster than he can give.