There has been no shortage of rich politicians over the years. Whether it’s Darrell Issa’s car alarm fortune, Mitt Romney’s private equity money or Donald Trump’s billion-dollar real estate empire, you’ll find a long history of people with considerable wealth pursuing a career in politics. Michael Bloomberg, however, is in a category wholly of his own in that respect.
One of the 10 richest people in the world, Bloomberg owns a fortune exceeding $60 billion — a sum that’s about 20 times more than Trump’s net worth. From a fleet of private planes and a high-tech helicopter to residences in every corner of the globe, Bloomberg clearly hasn’t worried too much about winning the title “man of the people” in his political career.
So, just how extraordinary are the trappings of his vast wealth? Take a closer look at how much Bloomberg is worth — and how his money will impact his 2020 presidential bid.
Net worth: $60.7 billion as of Jan. 30, 2020, according to Forbes
Birthdate: Feb. 14, 1942
Source of income: Bloomberg LP
Career highlights: Worked at Salomon Brothers, an investment bank, for 15 years; founded Bloomberg LP, a successful financial information firm; three-term mayor of New York City
How Much Is Michael Bloomberg Worth?
At $60.7 billion, Bloomberg’s personal fortune makes him the ninth-richest person in the world. That means he’s worth more than some major names like the Koch family, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and each member of the Walton family. While Bloomberg started his career as a successful investment banker, it was only after he left the industry that he made his fortune.
Among the most impressive parts of Bloomberg’s wealth are his different assets, purchases and more. Here’s what this multibillionaire spends his money on.
New York Properties
Bloomberg’s most famous New York residence remains Gracie Mansion, but he needed to vacate the property in 2013, when he handed the keys over to Bill de Blasio. Bloomberg’s current New York address — 17 East 79th St. — is a five-story, 7,000-square-foot townhouse that Zillow estimates to be worth about $18.5 million. But that price tag is just half the story.
As part of his quest to ultimately convert his townhouse into a megamansion, Bloomberg has been buying up units in the building next door — 19 East 79th St. — since 1989, when he purchased the ground floor. As of 2016, he owns five of the six units in the building, shelling out $14 million for unit No. 3 — a considerable jump from the $1.2 million he paid for the second floor in 2000.
Estate in the Hamptons
No rich person living in New York is truly complete without a property in the Hamptons, where they can escape from the hubbub of the city. For Bloomberg, that property is the Ballyshear Estate, which he purchased in 2011 for $20 million. Constructed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1910, it’s a 22,000-square-foot Georgian mansion that sits on 35 acres and hosts 11 bedrooms and eight bathrooms.
When Bloomberg first purchased his property, Stokes Bay, it contained a 2,620-square-foot house — which he promptly demolished to make way for a $10 million mansion commissioned from a local architect. During his time as mayor of New York, Bloomberg jetted off to his private estate in Bermuda so often that the locals came to know him well. In fact, a 2010 story in The New York Times described how they were so concerned about Bloomberg’s well-being that they inquired with his housekeeper after not seeing him at his favorite Italian restaurant for a long stretch in the summer.
Bloomberg was fine — just busy running for reelection as the mayor of New York City.
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Historical London Estate
On top of his multimillion-dollar residences in New York City, the Hamptons and Bermuda, Bloomberg plopped down $25 million for a London mansion in 2015. Located on a road running along the River Thames in Chelsea, the seven-bedroom estate dates back to the 18th century and features a Baroque mural of Venus done by Sir James Thornhill, who is famous for painting the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. To secure the property, Bloomberg reportedly went millions over the asking price.
Instead of spending money on airfare, Bloomberg owns a fleet of private planes that he uses to jet around the world from mansion to mansion. A Wall Street Journal report from 2011 examined Federal Aviation Administration records and found that Bloomberg’s planes made 54 trips to Bermuda from 2007 to 2010. When they’re not in use, he stores his aircraft at Morristown Municipal Airport.
The former New York City mayor is also a big fan of helicopters — and not just of using them to avoid traffic. Bloomberg flies them and owns a $4.5 million, six-seat Agusta SPA A109S, which he has a pilot bring to him when the need arises. Additionally, Bloomberg has been on the very exclusive waiting list for the AgustaWestland AW609 tiltrotor, a helicopter-plane hybrid, for years now.
It’s worth noting that however much Bloomberg has spent on himself, he has given plenty of money to other people. Bloomberg is a prominent philanthropist who has donated more than $8 billion over the years, including a $1.8 billion gift to Johns Hopkins University — the largest in the history of American higher education — and over $100 million to help combat smoking. He’s also the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which distributed $767 million in 2018.
How Did Michael Bloomberg Make His Money?
Bloomberg was a successful employee of Salomon Brothers — earning a partnership over 15 years — when the firm was sold in 1981. However, that led Bloomberg to form his financial data service firm, which became famous for the Bloomberg Terminal. With its ability to draw on a vast quantity of market data from across the globe, the Bloomberg Terminal became an absolute necessity for any serious trader or investor. This expensive machine is now the industry standard and helped drive Bloomberg’s net worth well into the stratosphere.
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Michael Bloomberg’s Background
Bloomberg was born in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1942. His father was a Polish immigrant and a bookkeeper, and his mother worked as a secretary. Bloomberg studied engineering at Johns Hopkins University, but his MBA from Harvard University in 1966 placed him on a different career trajectory.
He very well could have stayed a wealthy investment banker with a Harvard MBA if not for the sale of Salomon Brothers in 1981. Finding himself in need of career prospects, Bloomberg tackled an area that he knew was important: data. Seeing Wall Street’s need for reliable financial information, he founded a new company and rapidly became one of the richest people in New York as a result.
Bloomberg then pursued a career in politics, running for mayor of New York City in 2001. Despite being a lifelong Democrat, he ran as a Republican — and self-funded his campaign. His victory led to a three-term stint in Gracie Mansion and a stride into national politics. Seven years after leaving office in the Big Apple, Bloomberg has returned with his campaign for president.
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Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 Presidential Campaign
In announcing his presidential bid, Bloomberg immediately changed the political landscape. While other candidates are flying coast to coast and trying to drum up a good fundraising quarter, Bloomberg can easily outspend them without leaving New York (or Bermuda or London). And that’s precisely what he has done thus far.
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In just the first month of his campaign, Bloomberg spent a stunning $100 million on television ads alone, and that number could keep growing. Bloomberg funneled $100 million-plus into his 2009 mayoral campaign — roughly 20 times that of his opponent Bill Thompson, who only lost by about 50,000 votes. That comes out to $187 a vote, which means his current campaign could cost $6.5 billion by the time it’s all said and done.
That’s just a little over 10% of his net worth, but of course, who’s counting?
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