Bill Gates, 66-years-old, is an American tech magnate, author and philanthropist who has been one of the richest person in the world for much of the last 20 years. Even though he has dropped further behind Tesla CEO Elon Musk, he remains one of the top five richest people on the planet.
However, there are two things that could affect his eventual richest man status: the outcome of his divorce from his wife of 27 years Melinda and the fact that he has made a pledge to donate the bulk of his fortune to charity.
Even though Gates and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft, Gates technically currently owns only about 1.3 percent of the company. However, he utilizes Cascade Investment LLC to be the enterprise that he employs to invest in multiple other organizations.
Gates has a net worth of $126.7 billion, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires net worth list.
In 2006, he began spending less time with Microsoft and more time working on charitable pursuits. In 2020, Gates actively stepped down as the Chairman of Microsoft.
Early Life and Career
William Henry Gates III was born to Mary and William H. Gates Sr. in Seattle, Washington on October 28, 1955. As a young teenager, he bought his first computer and wrote his first program, which was a tic-tac-toe game where gamers played against the computer. His interest in computers continued and he learned about coding while still a teen. He used the skills he learned to his advantage by ensuring that his schedule matched up with the girls that he likes the most.
He created his first company with Paul Allen during his senior year in high school. From there, he was off to Harvard University where he was advanced enough to take graduate school-level courses in computer science and math. It was here where he met Steve Ballmer. He left school during his second year in college in 1974.
In 1975, he and Allen utilized a “fake it til we make it” attitude and told the company Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) that they had created new software for their platform using the BASIC computer language, despite the fact that they had not achieved this yet. They did this from their first headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico and called their company Micro-Soft.
A year later they changed the name to Microsoft and in 1979 they relocated their company to Belleview, Washington in early 1979. The company joined forces with IBM in 1980 and created its operating system for a one-time fee of $50,000. Along with Paul Allen, he took the software company public on March 13, 1986, and investors couldn’t wait to get a piece of it. During the IPO, Gates made just $1.6 million on the shares he sold, but his 45% stake in the company gained a market value of $350 million.
Now the leading software company in the world, Microsoft has a market cap of $1.9 trillion as of May 2022.
Bill Gates’ Personal Life
Gates met Melinda French in 1987 while she was working at Microsoft. The pair married in 1994 and have three children together.
After 27 years of marriage, the Gateses announced their separation and plans to divorce in 2021. They do not have a prenup, so the financial details have not been publicly disclosed.
What Bill Gates Spends His Money On
Gates has invested quite a bit in real estate, starting with the first home he purchased which is a 66,000 square foot estate in Seattle, Washington that is valued at $147 million and is called “Xanadu 2.0.” While he and Melinda bought the original property for $2 million in 1988, they have spent tens of millions of dollars improving this lake-front property.
Gates bought a 492-acre ranch in Cody, Wyoming in 2009 for an undisclosed sum, but the property had been previously listed for $12 million.
In 2013, Gates bought a second horse ranch in Wellington, Florida for $8.7 million. They also own a 228-acre ranch in Rancho Sante Fe, California for $18 million in 2014.
Then, in 2020, the Gateses bought a 5800 square foot oceanfront home in the Del Mar area of San Diego, Calif. for $43 million. This home is about 15 minutes away from their California ranch.
The family owns estates around the country and abroad, but details have not been made public about these properties. They also own many hotels and commercial properties all over the world through Cascade Investments.
In 1994, Gates plunked down original scientific writings from Leonardo da Vinci called the Codex Leicester for $30.8 million.
In 2000, Gates and his wife Melinda launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest charitable organization globally.
Gates announced on June 15, 2006, that he would transition out of his day-to-day role at Microsoft over the next two years in order to dedicate more time to philanthropy.
In 2010, the Gates family signed The Giving Pledge, in which they promise to donate more than half of their wealth to charity before they die.
In addition to multiple honors and accolades, Gates and Melinda received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 for their philanthropic efforts.
Bill Gates is still a presence as one of the richest people in the world and will continue to earn more money before choosing how to donate it to charitable pursuits.
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