$120,000 for Every Hour You've Been Alive

The Economist published a neat chart earlier this week showing the net worths of the world's richest people adjusted for age. Since Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is easily the youngest mega-billionaire on Earth, he's the world's richest person when adjusted for age, even though his net worth ($28 billion) is still well below older billionaires like Carlos Slim ($74 billion) and Bill Gates ($56 billion).

This got me thinking about another way to view the wealth of some of the world's richest: the amount of wealth they have accumulated for every hour they've been alive. A few quick calculations revealed the astonishing numbers:

Name

Net Worth

Age

Wealth Accumulated for Every Hour Alive on Earth

Mark Zuckerberg $28.4 billion 27 $120,074
Carlos Slim $74 billion 72 $117,326
Bill Gates $56 billion 56 $114,155
Bernard Arnault $41 billion 62 $75,490
Warren Buffett $50 billion 81 $70,466
Larry Ellison $39.5 billion 67 $67,300
Eike Batista $30 billion 55 $62,267
Larry Page $19.8 billion 38 $59,481
Sergey Brin $19.8 billion 38 $59,481
Lakshmi Mittal $31.1 billion 61 $58,200
Mukesh Ambani $27 billion 54 $57,078
Christy Walton $26.5 billion 57 $53,072
Vladimir Lisin $24 billion 55 $49,813
David Thomson $23 billion 54 $48,622
Amancio Ortega $31 billion 75 $47,184
Alexei Mordashov $18.5 billion 46 $45,910

Sources: The Economist, Forbes, author's calculations.

For context: In 2007, before the financial crisis, the median net worth in the United States was $125,000. In terms of wealth, therefore, Mark Zuckerberg has accomplished every hour what most Americans have throughout their entire lifetimes.

These figures serve no purpose other than to amaze us. And, boy, are they amazing.

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Follow him on Twitter @TMFHousel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 11:05 AM, TMFNewCow wrote:

    Never thought I'd say it, but Larry Ellison sure looks like a chump next to Zuck

    -- Evan

  • Report this Comment On February 10, 2012, at 7:21 PM, TMFRosetint wrote:

    Assuming we trust Facebook's valuation, that is. He could easily plummet towards the bottom of that list if investors decide Facebook isn't worth a century of its earnings after all.

  • Report this Comment On February 13, 2012, at 11:30 AM, MCrawley1970 wrote:

    I think TMFRosetint makes an excellent point. It must be devilishly hard to properly value a company like Facebook, particularly if it might be supplanted in a few years by something entirely new, as happens so often in the IT sector.

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