In this article we are going to list the 25 highest earning billionaires in 2020. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 10 highest earning billionaires in 2020.
What is the definition of wealth? Let me start with the definitions of economists who research inequality. Wealth is the sum of everything you own (cash, house, car, furniture, art paintings, bank money, value of shares, bonds, etc.) plus the value of available payments based on life insurance and similar investments, minus all debts. In other words, it is the amount you would have at your disposal if you liquidated all your possessions today and settled all obligations. (That amount, of course, can be negative.)
The wealth of billionaires around the world reached record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many intensified risky investments in turbulent financial markets and profited from the technological boom, writes the Financial Times. Their collective wealth, according to the annual research of the Swiss bank UBS, reached 10.2 thousand billion dollars this summer, which exceeded the previous record from 2017, which also increased the number of billionaires to 2,189, compared to 2,158 in 2017. Although billionaires’ wealth has declined since statistics were collected in July, largely due to stock market declines, the data suggests it is still well above its 2020 lowest moment, when their combined wealth plummeted in April to eight thousand billion dollars due to the shock of the corona virus pandemic.
Billionaires increased philanthropic gifts in response to the pandemic. A UBS report states that between March and June, 709 people made donations of $ 7.2 billion. More than half, $4.6 billion, was given in the United States. Discreetly given donations were not taken into account in this calculation. When you enter the names of the richest people in the search engine, you will get articles through which you will find out how they built their empire, but also what they usually spend their billions on. Most of them, under that hobby section, instead of sports or some other activity, will have philanthropy inscribed, which they will often say is their main job. Some of them are generous hands and donate about one or two percent of their wealth for various purposes. And those greatest lovers of humans among them will give away half of all they have. Bill and Melinda Gates founded The Giving Pledge, which aims to convince the richest people in the world to donate half of everything to various philanthropic projects. Most famous among them are Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg.
However, you know there is something very wrong with the world when most people are struggling to fulfil their basic necessities while the wealth of billionaires is increasing by an obscene amount. It took the government of the United States months to approve payments of $600 to people who were out of work, while at the same time, just the top two richest people in the world, both in the US, saw their net worth increasing by $200 billion. While 40 million Americans lost their jobs, of which millions still are looking for one, the net worth of billionaires kept on growing not just fast, but more or less exponentially. After all, imagine 100 people making $124 billion in just one year. That seems insane right? Well, just the number entry in our list of highest earning billionaires made that figure all on his own? Who is it? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out.
This list also illustrates the difference between those who are successful in business and those who are successful in any other field. If you’re a successful musician or actor, even at the height of success, you’ll be worth a few hundred million dollars (and that is a best case scenario). The same is true for if you’re a highly successful athlete. Lionel Messi, the greatest football player in the history of the sport, recently had his confidential contract leaked, which was the biggest contract in the history of sport. The contract was worth more than $600 million over a 5 year period. For the people in our list, that is pocket change. And even if you’re working at the highest level for some of the biggest companies in the world, for example the biggest banks and you are the global CEO of the bank, even then your annual package will be in the tens of millions of dollars, and if you’re really incredible, maybe over a hundred million annually but that is quite rare. Again, that is peanuts compared to the billions the people in our list lose or gain every month.
The UBS report was published at a time of growing concern that the pandemic would deepen economic inequalities, CNN reports, noting that an earlier report revealed that in the last two decades, the growth of wealth of American billionaires was 200 times higher than the growth of media wealth. However, CNN points out, some billionaires are getting rich faster than others as the pandemic reportedly widened the wealth gap between innovators in technology, healthcare and industry and entrepreneurs in areas such as entertainment, financial services and real estate. Our rankings are based on the Bloomberg Index which shows the real time wealth of billionaires, and we have taken the list as at December 31, 2020 to accurately determine the biggest gainers in 2020. So let’s take a look at the people who earned more than most nations in just a single year, starting with number 25:
25. Len Blavatnik
Total earnings in 2020: $12.2 billion
His conglomerate company, Access Industries, is responsible for making diversified investments in several companies from different industries, which are the source for Blavatnik’s fortune, making him one of the richest Russians in the world.