Super rich are $300 billion lighter

The financial crisis cut the net worth of the nation's 400 most wealthy individuals to $1.27 trillion this year, according to published list.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all RSS FEEDS (close)
By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

When will you know that an economic recovery is underway?
  • When the Dow tops 10,000
  • When GDP turns positive
  • When job growth resumes
  • It's already started
301 Moved Permanently

301 Moved Permanently


NEW YORK ( -- The recession has taken its toll on the nation's super rich, whose collective net worth fell for only the fifth time in 28 years, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The collective worth of the 400 richest people fell by $300 billion, or 19%, to $1.27 trillion, according to the survey released by Forbes magazine.

As a result, the price of admission to appear on the list this year dropped to $950 million from $1.3 billion in the 2008 list.

The losses were driven by turmoil in the capital markets and plunging real estate values, according to the magazine. but fraud and divorce also took a toll.

The number of members who experienced year-over-year declines was more than double the number in 2008, with 314 of this year's list members declining in wealth compared to 126 last year.

Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500)'s Bill Gates, with assets worth $50 billion, topped the list of richest Americans. That's despite a $7 billion hit. Investor Warren Buffett came in second, with assets totaling $40 billion, after a $10 billion loss this year.

Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500) founder Lawrence Ellison was the only top ten member to avoid major losses. Ellison, who was third overall, saw his net worth remain unchanged at $27 billion.

Among the 32 members who were booted off the list this year was disgraced financier R. Allen Stanford, who is accused of operating a Ponzi scheme.

Omid Kordestani, who made billions working for Google (GOOG, Fortune 500), was forced off the list because of his divorce, according to Forbes.

However, the lower threshold resulted in the addition of 19 new members.

Among the newbies is Jeffry Picower, who the magazine describes as "a longtime investor with Bernard Madoff who is alleged to have extracted billions of dollars from Madoff's fund before it collapsed."

This year only 28 members added to their wealth, including banker Andrew Beal, who tripled his net worth to $4.5 billion buying cheap loans and assets.  To top of page

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Yahoo: 20 years of hits and flops The company that once was Google turns 20. We look back at the many, many brands it has cycled through. Remember Geocities? More
10 big dot-com flops Remember The Nasdaq is roaring back towards its all-time high. Here are some of the biggest dot-com busts from the last time the Nasdaq topped 5,000. More
The hottest gadgets at Mobile World Congress 2015 Take a look at the devices creating a stir at the world's biggest mobile tech show. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play