April 12, 2022
Melinda Head


Like it or not, money does make the world go around

Can’t help thinking of money when I think of billionaires … a song called “Money”, that is. “Money (that’s what I want)”was co-written by Motown record label founder Berry Gordy and aspiring poet Janie Bradford. First performed by Barrett Strong in 1959, the Everly Brothers, Little Richard, the Beatles, the Supremes, John Lee Hooker, the Doors, the Rolling Stones and hundreds of other musicians, have covered this Rock & Roll Hall of Fame song. Here are my top 3 renditions of “Money”, which one do you prefer?

Okay, first of all, do you know how many zeros there are in a billion?  The answer is 9.

The next big number is a trillion, with 12 zeros. So far, no one has hit the trillion dollar mark. Though we don’t have any hard facts about crypto kings yet …

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” (Albert Einstein)

John D. Rockefeller is often cited as the world’s first billionaire, a milestone he achieved in the early 1900s through his ownership of Standard Oil. After the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Company to be an illegal monopoly, it split into Sohio (now part of BP), ESSO(now Exxon) and SOcal (now Chevron).

In 1987, Forbes published its first “World’s Billionaires List”, 44 of whom were from America. The majority was self-made, though European sugar daddy’s came mostly from old money.

So who’s at the top of the heap today? Forbes found 140 billionaires in 1987, now there are 2,668 lucky dogs who are fabulously wealthy and dripping in money:

  • The World’s richest man is ElonMusk (surprise, surprise), with $219 billion to fall back on

  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, LMVH Moet Hennessy’s Bernard Arnault, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett complete the top 5
  • The 2022 Billionaires List is still predominantly male, with women making up only 12% of the total (327), despite the fact that women comprise half of the labor force. France’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers is the world’s richest woman (her grandfather created L’Oréal) and sits in 14th place overall

France’s Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers is the richest woman in the world, thanks to her family’s L’Oréal dynasty

Alice Walton of the Walmart family is the richest woman in America. Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, ranks 30th overall. Kim Kardashian ranks 1645, with pop star fashion icon Rihanna following at 1729. 1 in 3 women are self-made

  • 1 in every 4 billionaires helms from the U.S. (735)
  • Just 3.7% of billionaires are less than 40 years old and, incredibly, 12 are less than 30 years old. The very youngest billionaire, thanks to his father’s hard work building a massive grocery/drug chain, is 19 year old German Kevin David Lehmann. George Joseph, a unicorn low-cost insurance provider in his day, is the oldest billionaire at age 100

Today’s billionaires range from 19 to 100 years old 

In 1973, the rock band Pink Floyd released “Money”, a sarcastic commentary about materialism. The song was their first U.S. hit, which ironically made them a whole lot of dough. I love the real cash register loop. Don’t you? Cha ching!

Now take what you’ve learned and play today’s Billionaires Quiz of the Day:

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3. Start playing immediately for free

4. Have fun and Strut Your Smart!

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Tuesday, April 16th: Billionaires
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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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