Bill Gates' Net Worth Is Even Higher Than You Thought

When looking at human history, it's easy to make the mistake that history is simply something that happens while the rest of us are loitering. After all, textbooks talk about big names, big dates, and tend to measure time in terms of which conqueror claimed what piece of Earth. But rarely is it true to say that someone has "changed the world," in terms of the entire trajectory of history and technology. Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, comes to mind. And way, way before him: whoever first scrawled a symbol on stone or clay to denote the foundations of writing. And not so long ago, a nerd with glasses who gave the fundamentals of human communication another makeover: Bill Gates.

Strictly speaking, it wasn't just Gates back in the early days of Microsoft (then Micro-Soft) in the mid-1970s, but his friend and classmate Paul Allen, as well, per ThoughtCo. As teenagers, they skipped class to indulge in their rabid love of computers, sold a computer to the city of Seattle to help count traffic, entered pre-law at Harvard in 1973, wrote a new version the programming language BASIC for MIT's Altair computer, got inspired, and in 1975, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, founded the company that would indeed change the world. By 1977 they'd opened their first international office. They were so driven that they skipped meals and just drank powdered orange Tang, as CNBC says.

By 1987, at age 31, as CNN states, Gates became the world's youngest billionaire.

Once the world's wealthiest people, and largest philanthropists

It's been common knowledge for decades that Bill Gates is one of the world's richest people. For someone to have such a huge impact on global telecommunications and enterprise, this is completely understandable. In fact, as CNN outlines, Gates was the world's top earner from 1995-2007, when in 2008, he lost out to Warren Buffet. The timing was circumspect: Gates had left his position as CEO of Microsoft in 2007, and since then, along with his spouse, Melinda, has directed most of his time and fortune into humanitarian work. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation started in 2000 with $20 billion of the Gates' own wealth, and has became the largest philanthropic organization in the world, as the Gates Foundation recounts.

After all of his earnings, investments, donations, and 1.36% ownership of Microsoft's shares (per CNBC), Bill Gates is presently worth about $130.5 billion. As Business Insider recounts, he is one of only eight people in the world who are worth over $100 billion (soon-to-be-former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is still number one, with $181.6 billion, per Visual Capitalist). Gates has spent $127 million on Xanadu 2.0, his hi-tech estate in Medina, Washington (per Business Insider), has a private jet and a bunch of cars, but considering his wealth, he's known as a modest spender. He and Melinda have gone on record saying that it's "unfair" that they have so much money, as Business Insider again says.