Bill Gates Second richest man
Thursday, 06 March 2008

Seattle, Washington

It's a sad day when Bill Gates comes up short for the most coveted title "Richest Man in the World". 

Legendary US investor Warren Buffett has overtaken his friend and sometime bridge partner Bill Gates as the world's richest individual, with a fortune of $62bn, despite giving away a large chunk of his fortune to charity. The Nebraska-based investor has topped Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the world's billionaires, ending a 13-year reign for Gates, who drops to third place with $58bn. Narrowly pipping the Microsoft founder into second place is the Mexican telecoms magnate Carlos Slim, who has seen his fortune double in the past two years to $60bn.

Britain's richest resident, Lakshmi Mittal, comes in fourth, while the youngest billionaire is 23-year-old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is worth $1.5bn.

Buffett's rise to number one is particularly interesting, Forbes notes, because it comes at a time of global financial turmoil and as he starts to give away part of his fortune to charity. In 2006 Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, announced plans to donate 85 per cent of his money to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities.

However, the man known as the Sage of Omaha also saw his fortune grow by $10bn to $62bn last year by taking advantage of depressed stock markets. "Even though he is giving away a piece of his fortune each year, the stock of Berkshire Hathaway, the source of Warren Buffet's wealth, has been rising very rapidly," said Forbes magazine chief executive Steve Forbes.

Any celebration by the world's newest richest man is likely to be low-key, as Buffett is famed for his frugality. In 2006 the billionaire who enjoys Cherry Coke and hamburgers celebrated his wedding to his longtime partner Astrid Menks with a fish supper at US seafood chain Bonefish Grill. The bride sported a discount wedding ring from Buffett's jewellery company. "Buffett's still living in the same house he bought when he was 28 for $31,000," said his biographer Robert Miles.

 



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