Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gates Again Heads List of Richest Americans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gates Again Heads List of Richest Americans

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The 400 richest Americans for the first time have collectively amassed a total net worth of $1 trillion, a figure greater than the gross domestic product of China, according to Forbes magazine, which issued its annual ranking of the nation's wealthiest people yesterday.

Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates once again led the list with a net worth of $85 billion, up from last year's $59 billion. The total number of billionaires on the annual list increased by 79 to 268, making 1999 the first time billionaires made up more than half the list, Forbes said in its issued dated Oct. 11.

Second on the list was Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, with a net worth of $40 billion. Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., ranked third with $31 billion.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's president, was No. 4 with $23 billion, and No. 5 was Dell Computer chief executive officer Michael Dell, with $20 billion.

The soaring stock market helped land 60 news names on this year's list, 35 of them billionaires. Of the rookies, 19 made fortunes from Internet-related businesses, including Amazon.com chairman Jeffrey Bezos, ranked 18th with a net worth of $7.8 billion. Jay Walker, founder of the online merchant Priceline.com, was ranked 43rd with $4.1 billion.

The minimum net worth needed to qualify for the Forbes 400 rose to $625 million from $500 million in 1998. The average net worth for the 400 this year was $2.6 billion.

A college degree was not required to make the list -- at least 63 members never graduated college and their net worth averaged $4.3 billion.

Nearly 40 percent of the list, or 149 members, got rich the easy way: They inherited some or all of their wealth. Their average net worth was $2.5 billion.

The 251 members who made it rich on their own had an average net worth of $2.7 billion.

The average age of Forbes 400 members was 60, with financier Max Fisher the oldest at 91 and Daniel Ziff, of Ziff Brothers Investments, the youngest at 27.

THE RICHEST IN FLORIDA AND GEORGIA Florida and Georgia residents listed among the 400 richest Americans, as compiled by Forbes magazine. …

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