Berkshire Hathaway Buffett
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By Luisa Kroll and Kerry Dolan

Bill Gates is the richest American for the 20th year in a row and has reclaimed the title of world's richest person from Mexico's Carlos Slim with a net worth of $72 billion. Warren Buffett, again number two, was the year's biggest dollar gainer, having added $12.5 billion to his fortune. Facebook's hot stock pumped up Mark Zuckerberg's fortune by $9.6 billion and put him back into the top 20 after missing the top cut last year; Carl Icahn lost his battle to stop Dell from going private but he had a great year and moves back in the top 20 for the first time since 2008. The biggest percentage gainer was Workday's David Duffield, whose fortune more than tripled to $6.4 billion, and just behind him in terms of percentage jumps was the entrepreneur Elon Musk, now worth $6.7 billion and ranked 61st.

The 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02 trillion, roughly equivalent to the GDP of Russia. That is a gain of $300 billion from a year ago, and more than double a decade ago. The average net worth of list members is a staggering $5 billion, $800 million more than a year ago. The minimum net worth needed to make the 400 list was $1.3 billion. The last time it was that high was in 2007 and 2008, just before the financial crisis. Because the bar is so high, 61 American billionaires didn't make the cut.

There are 20 newcomers to the list. Among the notables are Michael Rubin, whose online sports merchandise retailer Fanatics, recently attracted venture capital investors at a sky-high valuation; Jeff Sutton, who owns a number of the priciest store fronts on Fifth Avenue and Times Square, and 35-year-old Robert Pera, one of just nine under 40, whose wireless networking gear maker Ubiquiti Networks surged after a strong earnings announcement in August. At the time he tweeted this lyric from a Jay-Z song: "And as for the critics, tell me I don't get it. Everybody can tell you how to do it, they never did it."

Only 30 people from last year's list are poorer than a year ago. Twenty-nine people dropped out of the ranks and four people died. Of those 29, only 15 saw their fortunes drop, including T. Boone Pickens, whose costly bets on wind energy lost him his billionaire status, and Manoj Bhargava, whose 5-Hour Energy drink firm has been hit by lawsuits and falling revenues. The rest simply couldn't keep up with the rising tide. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is one of the billionaires who didn't qualify and, in his case, even with a rise in his fortune, just didn't have enough to stay in the club.

The ranks are a snapshot of wealth taken on August 23, the day we locked in stock prices.

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Some of these folks really did earn their money. They actually created whole new industries, jobs and economies in the process of becoming rich. Gates and Buffett run \"going concern\" companies in the game for the long haul.

Others on the list inherited wealth or made money as parasites on the real economy. Yet, they seem to get the greatest acclaim and respect as well as loud voices concerning the public agenda.

September 17 2013 at 8:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

More than half of the top ten in America profit off taking jobs overtseas thanks to labor unions making labor much higher than what it should be causing inflation, and making people live in more poverty....

September 17 2013 at 3:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

This is too much money for one person to have. They are so many people working themselves to the bone just trying to eat. I wish they would help Americans.

September 17 2013 at 3:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Hey Mr. Gates, would you be willing to loan me about $95,000 to pay my house off so my wife and I can retire and hopefully live long enough together to enjoying life, spending time with our grand kids and families before this carzy out of control world self-destructs? If I live long enough to start collecting my retirement benifits plus SS, I promise to start making payments on that loan. If you should happen to read this and your answer is no, thanks just the same. I have the years to retire but not the age. My wife retired two years ago and loves evreyday the good Lord allows her wake up and start a new day.

September 17 2013 at 3:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stage45's comment

Hello MR Stage, Can you let me have your Contacts.

November 26 2013 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the richest person in the world is the Bishop of Rome - and he has taken a vow of poverty

September 17 2013 at 1:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ga7smi's comment
Rebecca Borden

Neither of your claims is true.

December 01 2013 at 3:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Top2 are good, the rest suck

September 17 2013 at 1:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the funny thing about this list is that many of the richest men in the world are liberals that care about the poor but they don't mind ******* their blood to make more billions for themselves.

September 16 2013 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The poverty list is made up of those who expect the goverment to think and invest for them.

September 16 2013 at 11:53 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Now lets see the poverty list and who made it!

September 16 2013 at 11:32 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

The Waltons have split 1.4 billion im profits so far this year while a million employees live in poverty. LOL

September 16 2013 at 10:13 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply