Thanks to a jump Tuesday in the value of shares of Canadian National Railway Company and Ecolab, Bill Gates's net worth has crossed the $90 billion threshold. The richest man in the world has holdings in the small companies that have paid off, big time.
While this is A LOT of money, Gates actually had more in 1999 (July 16, 1999 to be exact), when his net worth topped $140 billion. It was the height of the dotcom bubble and that morning rumors were flying that Microsoft might spin-off its internet assets into a separate company that would have its own crazy dotcom-bubble IPO. The rumor sent Microsoft shares skyrocketing close to a record high of $99.4375. As a 20% owner of the company, Gates's net worth momentarily stood at $100 billion – $140 billion by today's dollars if you adjust for inflation.
But his actual net worth of $90 billion today gives him a comfortable lead as the richest man in the world. The second-richest man in the world, the reclusive Spanish fashion executive and entrepreneur, Amancio Ortega, only has $70 billion. Think of how many shirts at Zara he'll need to sell to make up for that $20 billion difference.
Unfortunately, shares of the Canadian National Railway Company and Ecolab had dropped by $0.17 and $0.91 as of the time of this writing on Wednesday. While it's hard to say how much the drop affected Gates's net worth without knowing how many shares in each company he holds, it's likely he's still pretty close to the $90 billion mark. The two companies have seen a lot of stock market love over the past month and are still highly-valued.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Harold Hamm of shale oil producer Continental Resources, and Amazon's Jeff Bezos have all seen billion-dollar jumps in their net worths this year, too. Bezos is now virtually tied with Warren Buffett for third place on the ranking of world's richest men. It's obviously a good time to be a billionaire.