Bill Gates is the richest person in the United States of America for the 22nd consecutive year. This is according to the information provided by the Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans for 2015. The Microsoft co-founder may not be as active in growing that empire as he was decades ago, but Gates has remained rather busy with other endeavors. The 59-year-old tech guru and businessman has already left significant impacts on the world, and he now dedicated much of this portion of his life to contributing even more to humanity.
The top 11 spots on the list of the richest people in America for 2015 are all filled by men. Familiar names such as Warren Buffett, Charles Koch, David Koch and Michael Bloomberg are all found in the top ten. You may, considering the successes that he has enjoyed over the years, be surprised to learn that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is, according to the data released by Forbes, making his debut in the top ten. Zuckerberg has billions upon billions of dollars to his name, but he does have a ways to go before he will be able to even flirt with catching up with Gates.
Multiple members of the famous Walton family are in the bottom half of the top 20 richest people in America for 2015. Phil Knight may no longer be serving as the head man at Nike, but he nevertheless still has billions of dollars. At the bottom of the list are three members of the same family who will never need to purchase another piece of candy in their lives, even though they could probably afford to buy all of the sweet treats that are on the planet. Some people have all the luck in that they happen to be born into the right family.
20 T18. John Mars - Net Worth: $23.4 Billion
John Mars is the first of three people who share the last name of the famous company. Mars, as explained by Forbes, makes products such as Uncle Ben's rice and also pet products. Odds are that you most know Mars, however, for the candy items that the company has produced over the years. John is one of the three Mars siblings who inherited the brand after their well-known father passed away in 1999. Talk about a nice parting gift from a dad who has a legacy that will live on for generations. None of the three siblings, according to Forbes, are involved with the day-to-day operations of Mars.
19 T18. Jacqueline Mars - Net Worth: $23.4 Billion
The first woman to crack into the list of the top 20 richest people in America is the sister of John and Forrest Jr., and all three are, per Forbes, listed as owners of the Mars company. That company has been in existence and has been churning out sweet and beloved treats for over a century. Frank Mars launched an entity that would one day be worth billions of dollars in his kitchen all the way back in 1911. Outside of having financial control of such a massive business, Jacqueline is listed as a trustee of the United States Equestrian Team.
18 T18. Forrest Mars, Jr. - Net Worth: $23.4 Billion
The company that is currently owned by Forrest Mars, Jr., Jacqueline Mars and John Mars could fill the Halloween bowls of children found all over the world with the products that it produces. Snickers. Milky Way. Twix. M&M's. 3 Musketeers. Those are just some of the sweet treats that Mars Incorporated is responsible for as of 2015. One factoid that some Americans may find interesting is that a majority of the candies and other treats that are manufactured by Mars are, according to Forbes, made in the United States. Forbes claims that Mars, the top candy maker in the world, has $33 billion in sales.
17 Phil Knight - Net Worth: $24.4 Billion
It is a new day at Nike. Phil Knight announced earlier this year that he was stepping down as chairman of the company, and Mark Parker, who has a long history working with the company, will be taking over for Knight. Nike continues to be a sports brand unlike any other in the industry, and some of the most high-profile athletes on the planet have endorsement deals with the company. LeBron James, Roger Federer, Rory McIlroy, Derek Jeter and Johnny Manziel are a handful of the athletes who have had relationships with Nike. It appears that the future will continue to be bright for the company.
16 George Soros - Net Worth: $24.5 Billion
The life and times of George Soros make for a fascinating read. Soros was a teenager when the Nazis invaded his home country of Hungary. He eventually made his way to England, where he began his education that ultimately helped him become a successful businessman who founded Soros Fund Management. Just as noteworthy as his wealth is the fact that Soros is a known supporter of the Democratic Party. Among his many interests, Soros has backed presidential candidate Hilary Clinton. This made him an enemy in the eyes of some who are against Clinton.
15 Sheldon Adelson - Net Worth: $26 Billion
While the previously mentioned George Soros has been a friend of liberal candidates, Sheldon Adelson had has relationships with right-wing individuals. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich are just three well-known Republicans that Forbes has linked with Adelson. The man who runs Las Vegas Sands has not been shy about using his money for political purposes, and there is no reason to believe that he will not continue to offer his services and cash leading up to and after the 2016 Presidential Election. While the casino business has not been kind to many in the industry, Adelson continues to have a net worth of over $25 billion.
14 Christy Walton & Family - Net Worth: $30.2 Billion
Christy Walton is the first name mentioned in this piece to be associated with the Walton family. It was her father-in-law, Sam, and Sam's brother James who founded superstore Wal-Mart over 50 years ago. As polarizing as that brand has been among many in the United States, nobody can deny that Wal-Mart has, for better or for worse, become a part of American society, similar to McDonald's, Nike and other companies. Unlike many of the people who are mentioned in the list of the richest people in America for 2015, Christy Walton is known for leading a private life. She can certainly afford to do so.
13 S. Robson Walton - Net Worth: $31.3 Billion
Rob Walton served as Wal-Mart Chairman, a post that he accepted after his father passed away, for roughly 23 years before he stepped down in June of 2015. Rob, unlike the previously mentioned Christy, will remain involved with the company, as he will sit on the board. Forbes reports that there are 11,000 Wal-Mart stores in existence, a reminder of the brand's dominance in the market. The concept has been simple enough: Stores offer bargain prices for goods that consumers use on a daily basis. It is almost difficult to believe that the idea was not berthed before the 1960s.
12 Alice Walton - Net Worth: $32 Billion
Finishing off the family trifecta is Alice Walton, the daughter of the man who founded Wal-Mart. She may not have a hand in the day-to-day operations of Wal-Mart, but Walton remains the richest woman in America. Walton has, in the past, been honored by Time magazine as being one of the most influential people in the world. The well-respected art collector was honored by being inducted into the Arkansas Women's Hall of Fame in 2015. Along with her involvements in business and personal projects, she has a role in the Walton Family Foundation.
11 Sergey Brin - Net Worth: $32.6 Billion
Sergey Brin and the man who begins the top-ten portion of the list of the richest people in America for 2015 are mostly known for founding Google. Google has become so much more than a search engine and Internet company that it is now a verb that is commonly used in everyday language. We no longer merely look things up via computers, phones and other devices. We “Google” questions. Brin and others within the company have continued to find ways to keep Google hot and fresh. Perhaps you recall the Google Glass concept that was not a massive hit right out of the gates.
10 Larry Page - Net Worth: $33.3 Billion
Here is a piece of advice to any would-be landlords who are approached by young up-and-comers in the tech industry: When you are asked if you have space to rent out to students who are working on the next big thing, you happily accept. That is what Susan Wojcicki did back in 1998 when she was approached by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and that decision worked out well for all involved. Page and others within Google had a banner year in 2015, as the company's stock hit an all-time high this past July. One cannot help but wonder what Brin and Page will come up with next.
9 Jim Walton - Net Worth: $33.7 Billion
The youngest child of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton is, according to Forbes, the richest of the family members for 2015. The latest Forbes update claims that Jim holds a 12.8 percent stake in the company. Walton has been a target of criticism on multiple occasions for political donations made in support of supposed “extreme right-wing agendas.” Wal-Mart is routinely mentioned among certain labor advocates as it pertains to wages that the company pays employees. It is often suggested that Wal-Mart and other massive companies should be willing to pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour.
8 Michael Bloomberg - Net Worth: $38.6 Billion
The question has to be asked to those who call New York City home: Do you miss Michael Bloomberg these days? Bloomberg may not have been popular with all voters during his time as New York mayor, but replacement Bill de Blasio has had a rough go of things since winning the gig. It has become commonplace for De Blasio to get booed at events such as parades and sporting events. One might even feel sorry for De Blasio if he is asked to throw out a first pitch at a playoff game hosted by the New York Yankees or New York Mets. Maybe Bloomberg wasn't so bad, after all.
7 Mark Zuckerberg - Net Worth: $40.3 Billion
Those who have followed stories on social media use among pockets of the population have probably encountered claims that Facebook is not as “cool” as it was years ago. The website made history this past August when it had 1 billion users in one day, the first time that had ever happened. Widely regarded as one of the most powerful individuals in the tech world, Mark Zuckerberg is making his first appearance in the top ten of the richest people in America. Looking at all that he has accomplished since the first days of what became Facebook, Zuckerberg may only rise up such lists before the end of the current decade.
6 T5. David Koch - Net Worth: $41 Billion
Forbes lists David Koch as being “New York City's richest resident.” That may be just as impressive a feat as is Koch having a net worth of over $40 billion when you consider all of the famous individuals who live in NYC. What you personally think of David and brother Charles is likely skewed by where you fall in political conversations. Regardless of what you think about the candidates and issues that the Koch brothers have backed in the past, their philanthropic efforts should be applauded. David has, according to Forbes, given over $1 billion to such causes.
5 T5. Charles Koch - Net Worth: $41 Billion
There is an argument to be made that Charles Koch is the most powerful single entity in conservative American politics. Koch, the chairman of Koch Industries, routinely commands the respect the admiration of Republican political hopefuls who wish to gain the backing and support of the billionaire. Depending on all that happens, Koch could be one of the people responsible for Donald Trump not receiving the party's nomination for president. In a Forbes story that will officially be released in October of 2015, Koch offered his vision for how America could be “saved.”
4 Jeff Bezos - Net Worth: $47 Billion
Are we on the verge of seeing drones dropping off packages to consumers who shop online? We are if Jeff Bezos will see his vision become reality. Bezos is the CEO and Founder of Amazon, the online retailer that has become the king of that particular marketplace. The company has branched out and launched other endeavors, most notably a streaming service similar to Netflix. Amazon Prime has HBO properties and original shows that cannot be found on other services, and it also offered free shipping on purchases made through Amazon. For those who routinely shop online, the streaming programming offer by Prime is just an added bonus.
3 Larry Ellison - Net Worth: $47.5 Billion
The rise of Larry Ellison that saw him become one of the richest people in all of America has been referred to as a “rags-to-riches” story. Inc.com listed Ellison as the fifth-richest person in the world in a piece that was published in April of 2015. The founder of Oracle has been an extremely successful businessman in many endeavors, but even a man who supposedly has a net worth of over $47 billion cannot buy everything. Multiple attempts made by Ellison to purchase a professional sports team ended in failure. Major League Soccer would probably open its arms to Ellison if he was interested.
2 Warren Buffett - Net Worth: $62 Billion
Warren Buffett may very well be the smartest financial mind of his time. Even a smart investor who has made billions of dollars can have miscues in judgment every now and again, and that was the case in September of 2015 when Buffett curiously wore shoulder pads underneath a Miami Dolphins jersey. Along with being a corporate king and a sports fan, Buffett has financially supported multiple political causes and candidates. Both Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton have been publicly praised by Buffett, although Buffett has said that he does not believe Sanders can win the presidential election.
1 Bill Gates - Net Worth: $76 Billion
The co-founder of Microsoft now has goals beyond getting computers into as many American homes as possible. He and his wife have been praised for the efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one that has awarded grants to the following over the past year: Pan American Health Organization, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, University of Washington Foundation, Growth Philanthropy Network Incorporated, and other causes and institutions. Education, gun control and immigration reform are three policies that have been among Gates' interests. He may no longer be working to improve Microsoft, but Gates remains the richest person in America for at least another year.