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Who are the top five richest people in the world? Taylor Swift joins Forbes' billionaires list

Who are the top five richest people in the world? Taylor Swift joins Forbes' billionaires list

Taylor Swift has joined Elon Musk as one of the richest people in the world, according to a new rich list.

The American pop sensation has been named on Forbes World's Billionaires List with a fortune of $1.1 billion (£877 million).

Sam Altman, the inventor of the AI chatbot ChatGPT, is also on the list with a fortune of $1bn (£800m).

Swift’s arrival on the list comes after she achieved megastar status.

She stole the show at this year’s Grammy Awards, becoming the first musician to win album of the year four times.

There are a record 2,781 billionaires on Forbes’ 2024 list.

That is 26 more than the previous record set in 2021 and 141 more than the previous year.

With a combined wealth of $14.2 trillion (£11.3tn), Forbes noted that the privileged were wealthier than ever.

Frenchman Bernard Arnault, the luxury goods entrepreneur behind Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, and numerous other companies, has been the richest person in the world since February. This is thanks to the outstanding share performance of his LVMH company.

So, who are the other four richest people in the world, what is their net worth, and how did they make their fortune?

Here’s the world’s rich list, according to Forbes.

1. Bernard Arnault and family – $233bn (£185bn)

Frenchman Bernard Arnault has been the richest person in the world since February 2024 (Joel Saget / AFP via Getty Images)
Frenchman Bernard Arnault has been the richest person in the world since February 2024 (Joel Saget / AFP via Getty Images)

The billionaire, 75, oversees 70 of the world’s most famous fashion and beauty brands, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, and Sephora.

Like many billionaires, Arnault came from a wealthy family, which in his case owned a successful construction business. He broke into the fashion industry in 1985 after using $15m (£13.9m) from his father’s business to buy Christian Dior.

Based in Paris, Arnault is married to concert pianist Helene Mercier. The couple have five children, with four of them — Frédéric, Delphine, Antoine, and Alexandre — working in LVMH, of which Arnault is chairman and chief executive.

3. Elon Musk – $195.3bn (£154bn)

Musk's riches are down on his net worth in November 2021, when he became the first person to be worth $300bn (£239bn) (Ebrahim Noroozi)
Musk's riches are down on his net worth in November 2021, when he became the first person to be worth $300bn (£239bn) (Ebrahim Noroozi)

South-Africa-born Elon Musk grew up in Pretoria before moving to America to study at the University of Pennsylvania.

The BBC reported that his riches were up 8 per cent from last year but down on his net worth in November 2021, when he became the first person to be worth $300bn (£239bn)

His first software start-up, Zip2, was bought in 1999 for $307m (£243m). He co-founded PayPal, which he sold to eBay in 2002 for $2.5bn (£1.9bn).

Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 and runs electric vehicle maker Tesla. He is its largest shareholder, with a reported stake of about 14 per cent.

He completed a $44bn (£35bn) takeover of social network Twitter in October 2022 and renamed it X.

Musk, 52, has been married twice and allegedly has eight children, though some reportedly claim 10. His last public relationship was with singer Grimes, with whom he has two children, a son named X Æ A-12 and a daughter called Exa Dark Sideræl.

3. Jeff Bezos – $194bn (£154.4bn)

Jeff Bezos and his wife, Lauren Sanchez (PA)
Jeff Bezos and his wife, Lauren Sanchez (PA)

Close behind Musk on the rich list is Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder.

In 1994, Bezos founded Amazon.com in a garage in Seattle shortly after he resigned from the hedge fund D E Shaw. He had originally pitched the idea of an online bookstore to his former boss, David E Shaw, who wasn’t interested.

Amazon.com started selling books and expanded into a one-stop shop. It is now arguably the world’s largest retailer.

Amazon’s pattern of constant diversification is evident in some of its unexpected expansions, which include acquiring Whole Foods and entering the pharmacy business in 2017.

Bezos, 60, owned as much as 16 per cent of Amazon in 2019 before transferring four per cent to his former wife, MacKenzie Scott, as part of divorce proceedings.

In 2020, Amazon’s share price jumped 76 per cent due to the heightened demand for online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic. On July 5, 2021, Bezos stepped down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant, becoming its executive chair.

Bezos has been engaged to his partner Lauren Sanchez since May 2023.

4. Mark Zuckerberg - $177bn (£140bn)

Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook in 2004 (AP)
Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook in 2004 (AP)

In 2004, while attending Harvard University, Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook — now known as Meta Platforms. With more than three billion monthly users, it has developed into the largest social network in the world.

The business also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, which it bought and significantly grew.

Due to a spike in Meta's price, Zuckerberg, 39, re-entered the world's top 10 richest people in the summer of 2023 for the first time since January 2022.

His wealth decreased by $2bn (£1.6bn) in March due to a three per cent decline in the price of Meta stock.

5. Larry Ellison – $141bn (£111.5bn)

 (Kimberly White / Getty Images)
(Kimberly White / Getty Images)

Larry Ellison, 79, enjoys most of his wealth from owning Oracle, a computer technology company whose sales increased by 18 per cent to $12.3bn (£9.7bn) by November 30, Bloomberg data showed.

But he made an additional fortune from a bet on Musk three years ago, disclosing in late 2018 that he’d purchased a $1bn (£790m) stake in Tesla.

Ellison co-founded Oracle in 1977, serving as its CEO until 2014.

The American businessman is also known for his interest in yachting and lavish lifestyle.