Buoyed in part by a strong stock market, the 400 wealthiest Americans delivered yet another record-breaking year. The minimum net worth needed to join this elite club climbed to $2.1 billion, $100 million more than last year and the highest to date. The group’s total net worth rose to $2.9 trillion, a record high and 7% more than in 2017. The average net worth of a list member: $7.2 billion, up from $6.7 billion last year. That average is boosted by those at the very top of the list: half of the total wealth is held by the 45 richest people in the country.
For the first time since 1994, there is a new No. 1: Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who broke Bill Gates’ 24 year run at the top. Bezos is also the first person to appear in the ranks with a fortune of more than $100 billion –he clocked in at $160 billion. Bezos was also the biggest gainer on this year’s list: his fortune rose $78.5 billion since last year, thanks to the more than 100% runup in the price of Amazon stock, the biggest one year gain since we’ve been tracking fortunes. Gates, now ranked No. 2, trails Bezos by a notable $63 billion. The top 10 richest on the list are together worth nearly $730 billion, up from $610 billion in 2017. At these lofty heights, more than a third of the nation’s billionaires, a record 204, weren’t wealthy enough to crack the club.
* The Illinois list…
45 Ken Griffin $10B hedge funds
114 Sam Zell $5.6B real estate, private equity
172 Thomas Pritzker $4.2B hotels, investments
179 Neil Bluhm $4B 80 real estate
215 Joe Mansueto $3.6B investment research
223 Mark Walter $3.5B finance
251 J.B. Pritzker $3.2B hotels, investments
251 Jean (Gigi) Pritzker $3.2B hotels, investments
280 Patrick Ryan $2.9B insurance
302 Penny Pritzker $2.7B hotels, investments
316 Ty Warner $2.6B real estate, plush toys
328 Joseph Grendys $2.5B poultry processing
328 Eric Lefkofsky $2.5B Groupon
The billionaire no more is Rishi Shah, co-founder of Outcome Health, which puts TV screens airing health information in doctors’ offices. Shah made his debut on last year’s list, ranking 206 with a net worth of $3.6 billion. Since then, Outcome Health has fallen from grace. Last year, investors sued the firm, charging that it had inflated its financial results. The U.S. Justice Department also investigated. […]
Of the Illinois residents on the list, only J.B. Pritzker, Warner and Grendys dropped in the rankings.
Looks like JB’s campaign spending has eaten into that fortune of his. Forbes estimated his net worth at $3.4 billion last year, when he ranked 219th richest. Pritzker has given his campaign $146.5 million.
JB Pritzker rated a Forbes “self-made” score of 3. A score of 10 is the most self-made. He also received a 3 on Forbes’ philanthropy score. A score of 5 is the most philanthropic. So, he’s above average.