Celebrity Then And Now
Bill Gates
Famous For: Founder of the Microsoft CorporationCurrently Known For: Business Magnate, Investor, Author, Philanthropist, and Humanitarian
Bill Gates
Famous For Founder of the Microsoft Corporation
Currently Known For Business Magnate, Investor, Author, Philanthropist, and Humanitarian

When someone mentions rich people, the first name that always seems to pop up is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. There is a good reason for that, as Gates is the richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of $80 billion, and has been toward the top of the list since the late 1980’s.

In the mid 1970’s, Gates and Paul Allen started building their own computers, and came up with Microsoft in 1975. Now celebrating it’s 40th year, Microsoft is worth more than $175 billion in total assets. The company revolutionized the world of personal computers, and it’s now estimated that 85 percent of houses in the United States have one.

The stats that come with Bill Gates’s net worth are pretty fascinating, as he would be the 37th richest country in the world...if he could be a country, that is. In fact, someone actually took the time to find out that Gates shouldn’t spend the time to pick up a $100 bill if he dropped it, because he would lose out on $114.16 in the time it spent to pick it up since that’s how much he makes in just one second.

Gates makes a bulk of his money through investments as well as his stake in Microsoft. Gates was the largest single shareholder with Microsoft until May of 2014 when he sold some of his stocks. Nearly a quarter of his value comes from the computer company, so what are the other investments that he has made?

It’s a very diverse portfolio, and one of the largest ventures is Cascade Investments which Gates helps run. Cascade alone made Gates more than $40 billion in 2013, and some of the group’s investments include a waste management company, a national auto dealer, a cleaning supplies company, Four Seasons Hotels, Canadian Railway, McDonald’s franchises and even John Deere.

Gates also founded his own think tank called Bill Gates Catalyst 3 that provides research to eliminate poverty through computer power. Gates himself is involved with Corbis (which owns digital images) and a nuclear reactor company named TerraPower, as well as a social networking site for scientists named Research Gate.

While most would assume that all of his money comes from Microsoft, you can clearly see that Gates has plenty of other ventures that he has much more interest in. Gates has also made hundreds of millions from each of his stakes in Grupo Televisa and Coca Cola Femsa, which added up total more than $1 billion.

Perhaps the most impressive asset that Gates has to his name is his home, which is nicknamed Xanadu 2.0. The home is one of the most expensive in the world, valued at nearly $150 million and property taxes alone cost Gates more than $1 million each year. Gates also has another mansion in Florida worth nearly $9 million and a mansion in Belize believed to be worth $25 million.

In terms of how he gets around, Gates has a Bombardier BD 700 Global Express jet worth $45 million that he uses privately, a 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera and a 1988 959 Coupe. These cars are extremely rare and worth millions on the free market. Gates has art investments, as well, that include a Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that he bought for $30.8 million, “Lost on The Grand Banks” by Winslow Homer ($36 million), “Room for Flowers” by Childe Hassam ($20 million) and much more.

What has perhaps been the most impressive thing when it comes to Bill Gates and his net worth, is how much of it he has given away. Gates and his wife run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest charity in the entire world. In 2012 alone, the charity donated more than $30 billion, with Gates throwing in $2 billion of his own money.

Gates is also the co-founder (along with Warren Buffett) of a billionaire group called The Giving Pledge, where some of the world’s wealthiest people have vowed to give away at least half of their fortune to charity when they pass away. All in all, Gates has donated a massive $28 billion of his own money to help people around the world. Gates’s foundation aims in reducing poverty, opening up new educational centers and increasing healthcare globally.

When he was a teenager, Gates said that he would be a millionaire by the time he was 30 years old. Gates proved a long time ago that he keeps his promises, and sharing his net worth with the world has certainly proved that, as well.

Bill Gates Shows His Funny Bone on The Big Bang Theory

The billionaire investor and founder of Microsoft Corporation showed his funnier side in 2018 when he surprised primetime audiences with a cameo on The Big Bang Theory just before April Fool’s Day! Although the cameo was only a minute long, it was enough to delight audiences as Penny hosted the tech-genius and business magnate for her pharmaceutical company. Of course, Leonard does his best to weasel his way into Penny’s plans while Sheldon is convinced that she’s simply playing an April Fool’s day joke.

While Sheldon believes he’s far too brilliant to be duped by Penny, Leonard tries everything he can think of to join Penny’s meeting saying, “I’m a scientist and should be there to help you communicate with the nerd genius.” Penny stays strong and hopes to impress Gates enough so that he’ll offer her a job in his company. As Leonard and the rest of the gang bug Penny about Gates’ itinerary, they eventually stalk him at the hotel. Although Penny is nice enough to get Leonard an invitation to the reception her company is throwing for Gates, he wastes it by pretending to be sick which, in his mind, will get him more time with his idol. This backfires when he’s busted by video chat with Gates standing right next to Penny!

Happily Ever After: A Philanthropic Fairytale

Gates has likely met plenty of overzealous fans like Leonard, but his biggest fan is his wife, Melinda French Gates, whom he married on a golf course in Hawaii on January 1, 1994. Despite their nine-year age difference, the two have built a solid foundation together with their children—Jennifer Katharine, Rory John, and Phoebe Adele—at their earth-sheltered estate in Medina, just outside of Seattle, Washington. As you can imagine, the 66,000 square-foot estate is filled with state-of-the-art technology including an underwater music system and a digital art gallery that changes depending on personal preference.

Together, Bill and Melinda share a huge passion for philanthropy and humanitarian work and launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to share that passion with the world as they work to save lives and improve global health. Built on transparency and divided into four program areas including the Global Development Division, the Global Health Division, the United States Division, and the Global Policy & Advocacy Division, the foundation allows benefactors to see how every penny is spent, which is seemingly unheard of. This alone has earned the support of moguls like Warren Buffett, a billionaire investor who founded The Giving Pledge.

Bill and Melinda have taken the pledge and vow to give away the majority of their wealth to various philanthropic and humanitarian causes. They have set aside $10 million for each of their children, but plan to give the rest—around 99.96 percent of their wealth—to charity. In fact, their donations are so large that they’ve been consistently ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America with over $28 billion donated to charity. Add in recent donations and Gates’ growing net worth and we can only imagine how far Gates’ wealth will reach!