Some of the world’s richest people have gotten extraordinarily wealthier during the first two months of 2019.
The three billionaires whose fortunes have increased the most so far this year are Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bernard Arnault: They are all currently in the top 10 on the world’s richest people list, and each man’s net worth has increased by more than $10 billion in 2019, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The net worth of Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon and the reigning world’s richest man, was estimated at $138 billion when the stock market closed on Friday. That’s up $13.5 billion since the start of the year.
Like most billionaires, Jeff Bezos’s wealth is tied directly to the stock market performance of the company he owns. As Amazon stock rises (or falls), so does Jeff Bezos’s net worth on paper. Amazon shares had risen about 13% from the beginning of 2019 through the end of February, and the company’s stock was up another 2% early on Monday.
That 2% bump in Amazon’s stock price has resulted in a $2.1 billion increase in Jeff Bezos’s net worth, according to Forbes, which tracks the wealth of billionaires in real time.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and current sixth richest man alive, has also seen his fortune soar — on Monday, and in 2019 in general. Facebook shares were up over 2% early on Monday, bringing about an increase to Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth of roughly $1.5 billion.
From the beginning of 2019 through Friday, March 1, Zuckerberg’s net worth was already up $11.9 billion, reaching a total of $64 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Bernard Arnault, the fashion mogul and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, was already the richest man in Europe before his fortune spiked during the first two months of 2019. As of Friday, Bernard Arnault’s net worth was $82.1 billion, up $13.5 billion for the year, and good for fourth place on the list of the world’s richest people.
Bear in mind that the recent rise in these billionaires’ net worths is relative. The fortunes of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bernard Arnault, and many other billionaires plummeted toward the end of 2018, when the stock market cratered globally.
Bernard Arnault’s net worth, for example, dropped from around $80 billion in September 2018 to $65 billion toward the end of the year, per Bloomberg. Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth fell by $15 billion in 2018 as well, as Facebook shares tanked.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos’s net worth reached as high as $168 billion, in early September, before Amazon shares dipped along with the stock market in general. Bezos’s wealth dropped $10 billion in two days at one point, before hitting a recent low around Christmas 2018.
Granted, Bezos’s “low” represents an incredible net worth that most people could never dream of — he was still worth around $112 billion as of December 24, 2018.
Jeff Bezos recently announced that he and his wife, MacKenzie, are getting divorced. When the divorce settlement is finalized, MacKenzie Bezos could become the world’s richest woman, and Jeff Bezos could see his fortune divided in half. Even if that happens, though, Jeff Bezos’s net worth would drop to perhaps $70 billion — and right now, that would be enough for him to still be the fifth richest person on earth.