Now that’s what I call a fat tail: have a look at the latest Forbes
400 list, which features 29 individuals worth more than $10 billion.
There are three whose net worth has a 10 handle; two on 11; one on 12; one
on 13; five on 14; two on 15; five on 16; three on 17; and three on eighteen.
Altogether, there are 25 people with a net worth between $10 billion and $20
billion, but within that range there’s no bunching at the bottom, as you would
expect with most wealth distributions.
Then it gets really crazy. There are two individuals with a net worth between
$20 billion and $30 billion: Sheldon Adelson and Larry Ellison. But there is
no one with a net worth between $30 billion and $40 billion. And there is also
no one with a net worth between $40 billion and $50 billion. Finally, towering
over everybody else, we find Bill Gates and Warren Buffett on $59 billion and
$52 billion, respectively.
One other factoid about the Forbes 400 list: By my reckoning, just 13 of the
64 New Yorkers on the list made their money the old-fashioned way, by inheriting
it – and that includes Si Newhouse and Donald Trump. By contrast, 11 of
the top 25 richest Amerians overall were born into their wealth.