For 400 Americans (and many, many onlookers), Wednesday was the big day. Forbes released its list of the 400 richest Americans. Don’t run to check if you’re there just yet—billionaire status was a requirement to even qualify.
Billionaires Suffer From The Recession
What did we learn about America’s best and brightest? (Okay, maybe more like wealthiest and… wealthiest). Well, Forbes is quick to reassure us that they haven’t escaped unscathed by the recession—over one third of the billionaires either failed to get richer or lost money! How much money to you have to subtract from $1 billion to feel the burn? Lest we get too worried about our billionaires’ fate, both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have increased their fortunes, as well as Mark Zuckerberg. Phew!
The Token Woman Is Present
Interestingly, the top five richest Americans are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Larry Ellison, Christy Walton, and Charles Koch. That’s one woman and four men, for those of you with skimming tendencies. Christy is a Wal-Mart heiress and worth $24 billion, and even more interestingly, the richest person in America not to take Buffett’s “Giving Pledge,” in which 39 of the country’s richest officially pledged at least half of their fortunes to charity. Ouch.
Tell us in the comments: Are billionaires to be admired or resented?
Don’t Covet Thy Neighbor’s…Fortune
We could go in the direction of “Get more women in the Forbes 400!” or “Pay attention to that retirement account and you’ll soon be on the list!” but we’re not delusional. Optimistic and overly enthusiastic when it comes to women and money, yes, but we’ve still got our heads on straight. When the news is packed full of stories documenting every vibration in the recession, every dip in joblessness, and every loan that gets denied, we’re a little reluctant to bask in the billionaire glow. You can choose for yourself—go through the list or don’t, but don’t let it get to you. Billionaires are all well and good, but so are we.
Image Credit: The Independent