Bill Gates Even Gave Away Richest-Guy Title

'Forbes' list wouldn't be a contest if he hadn't discovered philanthropy
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2011 7:33 AM CST
Bill Gates addresses the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) Forbes will unveil its 2011 billionaires list tomorrow, and Bill Gates will certainly make an appearance, reports Reuters. But it turns out the longtime richest guy in the world fell to No. 2 last year not because of Microsoft's waning fortunes, but because he literally gave away the title. "It wouldn't be a competition," says a wealth expert. "(Gates) would have a comfortable margin if he had never discovered philanthropy."

Gates is currently worth an estimated $49 billion, down from last year's $53 billion. But he and wife Melinda have given a whopping $28 billion to their charitable foundation; experts say Gates would be worth $88 billion had he not given anything away. The world's new richest guy, Carlos Slim, came in at $53.5 billion last year; not being quite so fond of charity, he looks to hit $60 billion this year.

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