The race is on to become the richest person in history – and the world's first billionaire.
The average full-time salary in the UK was £36,611 in 2019. The average part-time salary was just £12,495.
For people living on that kind of money, the lifestyle of a millionaire might seem just about imaginable, but a billionaire’s wealth – which would take the average worker over 27,000 years to earn – is almost impossible to visualise.
But some time in the 2030s, at least one person on the planet will be a trillionaire. That is to say, they will own assets worth $1,000,000,000,000. 27 million years of an average salary.
It’s hard to say exactly who that first trillionaire will be. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos – who became the first centi-billionaire in 2018 – is currently leading in the race to be the first to that incredible figure.
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In September 2018, Bezos was described in Forbes magazine as "far richer than anyone else on the planet.” He added a whopping $1.8 billion to his personal net worth when his company, Amazon, became the second company in history to be valued at a trillion dollars.
Just over 25 years ago, Bezos borrowed $300,000 [about £230,000] from his parents and founded Amazon as a no-frills online bookstore.
Today the company has expanded to become the biggest shop on the planet, selling almost every possible product from strawberry lip balm to yellow cake uranium.
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Amazon also supplies web services to dozens of other organisations – even the CIA keeps its data in the Amazon cloud.
This week, he bought the most expensive house in Los Angeles, the nine acre Warner Estate, for $165million.
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With his space-flight startup Blue Origins, Bezos is lining up to be not just the richest man on the planet, but the richest man off it too.
Since 2016, Bezos has spoken openly about his hopes to establish a colony in space, and has been selling $1 billion in Amazon stock each year to fund Blue Origin’s space colony research.
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And the riches on offer to the first person to corner the market in asteroid mining could make a mere trillion dollars look like loose change.
At his current rate of progress, Bezos should make his first trillion in September 2030. He’ll be 66.
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Bill Gates, despite having given away vast chunks of the colossal fortune he accrued before stepping down from day-to-day operations at software giant Microsoft in 2008, is still the second-richest man on the planet. As of November 9, 2019, he had an estimated net worth of a shade over $107billion.
While Gates has devoted much of his time – and money – to good works, his fortune continues to grow. As a report on wealth inequality from Oxfam stated: “The super-rich can achieve returns that are not available to the ordinary saver, helping the gap to grow between the wealthy and everyone else.”
“The bigger the initial investment, the higher returns one can make as the initial costs of sophisticated advice and high-risk investments can be justified with the potential for super-lucrative returns.”
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Gates would always make a bit by selling his house. The gigantic Xanadu Mansion has an indoor/outdoor pool, 24 bathrooms and eighteen kitchens. It has a 23-car garage as well as a trampoline room with a 20ft ceiling.
The seven-bedroom house took him seven years and $63 million to build, but it’s valued at $128 million.
Gates is predicted to hit a trillion in 2041, when he’ll be 86.
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Bezos and Gates have some serious competition through. While many of today’s hyper-rich are household names it’s quite possible that you won’t have heard of Yang Huiyan.
The richest woman in Asia, Yang inherited a major stake in Chinese property company Country Garden. As of June 2019, she had a net worth in the region of $21 billion, but her wealth is predicted to grow increasingly quickly in the coming decade.
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She made over $2billion in four days at the beginning of 2018, and is on track to reach the magic trillion in July 2036. At 54 she would be the youngest trillionaire, as well as the only woman in a very exclusive club.
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Elon Musk is the definition of an eccentric billionaire, with interests in spacecraft, submarines and super-fast tube trains alongside his money-earning car and solar power businesses.
He’s expected to become a trillionaire at 78, in November 2050.
Musk isn’t afraid of splashing the cash. In 2013, he paid $920,000 at an auction for James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me.
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Elon Musk also smoked the most expensive joint in history when, in 2018, he sparked up a blunt on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
In response Tesla’s share price sank by around 10%, making the cost of that reefer somewhere in the range of $3billion.
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The final American-based tech billionaire on our list. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg can expect to join the very exclusive Trillionaires' Club in December 2044, when he is 60.
He’s currently worth about $80billion, so he’s well on course.
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Among his boys’ toys are a $150million yacht that has its own helicopter hangar, a $10million home in San Francisco and of course a private jet that costs about $5million a year just in running costs.
When he’s not in his jet, his helicopter, or on his boat, the Facebook boss tools around in a rare Pagani Huayra. The 238mph Italian supercar is one of just 100 ever made.
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