Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates are names that are synonymous with riches in the world. Almost halfway down in 2022, though, these men, along with many others on the world's richest person list, have lost billions of dollars, Business Insider reported.
Just over a year ago, when the world was coping with the waves of the epidemic, companies set up by Musk, Bezos, and Gates were riding the high waves of growth and the personal fortunes of these men were swelling. Musk's company Tesla grew through what was supposed to be a tough phase for the automotive sector, making him not only the world's richest person, but also the Time Person of the Year.
What goes up must come down
The turn of the new year was marked by yet another strain of the coronavirus, and it seemed like 2022 would be very much like 2021 with lockdowns in place and the economies throttled. However, as days rolled by, the threat from the virus decreased and life seemed to be heading back to the pre-pandemic normal.
Cryptocurrencies that were peaking during the uncertainties of last year have fallen to less than half of their peak values, and the bull runs the stocks of some companies had have surely come to an end. For instance, Amazon stock was flying above $3,000 in January this year and has dropped to as low as $2,000 this month.
The Tesla stock went as high as $1,200 on January 3, but has since shed tremendous value, dropping to $628 this month. The fall can also be attributed to Musk's decision to dip his toes in the social media game by offering to buy Twitter for a cash transaction. Apart from the fears that Musk's focus will move away from his electric vehicle company, investors are also worried that Musk will dump Tesla stock to finance his new interest.
Musk has seen his personal worth shrink by as much as $46 billion since the beginning of 2022, and while some of the blame lies on the Twitter buyout decision, Musk is also in the same boat as other billionaires are. Bezos has lost $53 billion of his personal worth, while Bernard Arnault, the world's third-richest person, has lost a whopping $44 billion this year. In comparison, at $15 billion, Bill Gates' losses are much slimmer, Business Insider reported.
Unlike Musk and Bezos, who remain heavily invested in the companies they have founded, Gates has diversified his investment portfolio and put his money with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathway holdings. Buffett is the only person in the top 5 richest people list to have seen his personal worth soar in 2022.
Is the global economy shrinking?
A quick glance at the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index shows that most names on the list have seen their fortunes shrink in 2022 and this might be a sign of the things to come.
Countries around the world are facing high energy prices and inflation of commodity values. Earlier in May, the U.S. Federal Reserve hiked interest rates to rein in the inflation, a move that saw investors dump risky assets like cryptocurrencies as well as technology stocks.
Financial experts warn that hiking interest rates could bring in a recession, something that Musk has welcomed. Musk believes that people are due for a "rude awakening", The Guardian reported.