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Bill Gates loses top spot on Forbes 400 rich list; Trump, Oprah ousted

·3-min read
Bill Gates is seen before speaking with Warren Buffett (not pictured), chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, at Columbia University in New York, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Bill Gates is not one among the three richest people in the US anymore, the Forbes 400 list reveals.

Nothing lasts forever and we all know wealth can change.

The Forbes 400, which annually ranks the richest people in the US has revealed a few shockers this year.

Most glaring among those are, Bill Gates not being ranked among the top 3 for the first time in 20 years; and Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey's ousted from the list altogether. Trump and Winfrey are among 49 other consistently featured billionaires who were dropped from the list.

This is the first time since 1991 Gates has not made it to the first, second or third position on the Forbes 400 ranking. He was the wealthiest person in America until 2017. Jeff Bezos overtook him for the first time in 2018.

Was it the divorce, was it the controversies surrounding the man, or is it simply because the Microsoft co-founder is just not as wealthy as Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Tesla's Elon Musk?

Even though Bill Gates' wealth rose by US$23 billion ($32 billion) to an estimated US$134 billion ($184 billion) since last year he was ranked No.4 because Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg's fortunes scaled new heights owing to the share prices of their companies.

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This is not to say that Bill's divorce with Melinda didn't have a huge impact on his fortunes. Melinda French Gates has inherited at least US$5.7 billion ($7.85 billion) worth of Bill Gates' shares in publicly traded companies since they announced the divorce in May this year. 

If their marriage remained together, Gates would've held on to the No.3 position instead of Facebook's Zuckerberg. 

Donals Trump kicked off list

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers an update on the so-called Operation Warp Speed program, the joint Defense Department and HHS initiative that has struck deals with several drugmakers in an effort to help speed up the search for effective treatments for the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in an address from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Donald Trump is not among the 400 richest Americans for the first time in over two decades.

Former US President and real estate Mogul Donald Trump is not on the Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people for the first time in 25 years. 

Trump is worth an estimated US$2.5 billion ($3.46), leaving him US$400 million ($553 million) shy of the cutoff to make this year’s Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people. Analysts are attributing his ouster to the effects of the pandemic on the value of real estate in big cities. 

It is being estimated that his net worth fell by about US$ 600 million ($826 million) during the pandemic leaving him with US$ 2.5 billion ($3.4 billion) although it's always been a challenge to accurately estimate his net worth as his tax returns are a matter of controversy and speculation. 

Nonetheless, his absence on the Forbes 400 list is a huge turning point for his image and fortunes even if he disagrees with the accuracy of the ranking as he has in the past.

Oprah also moves down

Oprah Winfrey arrives at the
Oprah Winfrey is not among the 400 richest Amnericans in 2021 for the first time in over 15 years.

Renowned American television host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey made her debut on the Forbes 400 list in 1995 with a net worth of US$340 million ($469 million). But this year, for the first time, the numero uno talk show host has dropped off the list by falling US$300 million ($415 million) short of the cutoff for this year’s Forbes 400.

But just because she's not made it to the list for the first time in 16 years doesn't mean she's lost any of the clout. Her talk with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in March 2021 attracted over 70 million viewers and earned her an Emmy nomination as well. 

So, not making it to the 400 richest list hardly puts a dent in Oprah Winfrey's impact in the media.

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