For the first time in six years, the number of people on Forbes magazine's annual ranking of billionaires worldwide fell, dropping 30% to 793 billionaires from 1,125 last year, according to a Bloomberg News story.

The rich also got a lot poorer too, or at least had less money -- the total net worth of the list fell to $2.4 trillion from $4.4 trillion last year, with the average billionaire worth $3 billion, down from $3.9 billion.

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates is the world's richest person, with a net worth of $40 billion, down from $58 billion in 2008.

The recession hit Gates and the other two wealthiest people on the earth -- Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett and Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim Helu -- with the trio losing $68 billion between them in the past year.

Last year Buffett ended Gates' 13-year reign atop the list.

Here's to a better year ahead for the billionaires...and the rest of us.


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