10 wealthiest Americans of 2013

By on September 16, 2013
From left: Bill Gates (© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Warren Buffett © Kristoffer Tripplaar/SIPA/Rex; Michael Bloomberg © Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Life at the top

Bill Gates is the richest American for the 20th consecutive year and has reclaimed the title of world’s richest person from Carlos Slim of Mexico, according to Forbes’ closely watched list of the nation’s wealthiest individuals.

Facebook’s (FB) hot stock pumped up Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune by $9.6 billion and put him back into the top 20 after missing that cut last year.

This year’s biggest percentage gainer is Workday’s (WDAY) David Duffield, whose fortune more than tripled to $6.4 billion. Just behind him in terms of percentage jump was the entrepreneur Elon Musk, now worth $6.7 billion and ranked 61st.

The 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02 trillion in 2013, roughly equivalent to the gross domestic product of Russia. That is a gain of $300 billion from a year ago, and more than double the collective net worth of the wealthiest 400 Americans a decade ago.

It has taken only a decade for the collective net worth of the nation’s 400 richest individuals to double, to $2.02 trillion. The group members’  average net worth: $5 billion.

The average net worth of list members is a staggering $5 billion, $800 million more than a year ago. The minimum net worth needed to make the 400 list was $1.3 billion. The last time it was that high was in 2008, just before the financial crisis. Because the bar is so high, 61 American billionaires didn’t make the cut.

There are 20 newcomers to the list. Among the notables are Michael Rubin, whose online sports merchandise retailer Fanatics recently attracted venture capital investors at a sky-high valuation; Jeff Sutton, who owns a number of the priciest store fronts on New York’s Fifth Avenue and in Times Square; and 35-year-old Robert Pera, one of just nine under 40, whose wireless networking gear-maker Ubiquiti Networks (UBNT) surged after a strong earnings announcement in August. At the time he tweeted this lyric from a Jay-Z song: “And as for the critics/Tell me I don’t get it/Everybody can tell you how to do it/They never did it.”

Only 30 people from last year’s list are poorer than a year ago. Twenty-nine people dropped out of the ranks and four people died. Of those 29, only 15 saw their fortunes drop, including T. Boone Pickens, whose costly bets on wind energy lost him his billionaire status, and Manoj Bhargava, whose 5-Hour Energy drink firm has been hit by lawsuits and falling revenues. The rest simply couldn’t keep up with the rising tide. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is one of the billionaires who didn’t qualify this year despite a rise in his fortune.

Click through this slide show for a closer look at the top 10. (Each individual’s estimated wealth is as of Aug. 23.) Then check out the full list of the 400 richest people in America at Forbes.com.

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