This Chart Puts Warren Buffett's $61 Billion Fortune Into Perspective
Warren Buffett is rich, but he's far from the richest person in history. As you can see in the chart above, his $61.2 billion net worth ranks him behind all 10 of the greatest American fortunes, accumulated by the likes of John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and John Jacob Astor.
Buffett's wealth comes primarily from his interest in Berkshire Hathaway , a sprawling conglomerate with a current market value of $319 billion. The 85-year-old Oracle of Omaha has been a director and the controlling shareholder of Omaha-based business since 1965 and its chairman and chief executive officer since 1970.
Berkshire Hathaway's latest proxy statement shows that Buffett controls 33.9% of the voting interest in the company and 19.6% of its economic interest. This is despite the fact that he's already transferred 185 million class B shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as a part of Buffett and Gates' Giving Pledge , a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
Interestingly, Buffett would be among the 10 richest people in American history if he hadn't already donated $23.7 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway's class B shares. If you add those back in, he'd be worth roughly $85 billion, placing him ahead of the infamous railroad magnate from the Gilded Age, Jay Gould, who was worth an estimated $78.3 billion. Needless to say, this selflessness goes a long way toward explaining why Buffett is one of the most respected and revered financiers to ever live.
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