Jeff Bezos is one of the richest people in the world and he was the first person to pass the $200 billion benchmark. He is the founder of Amazon, reigning as executive chairman from the start of the company in 1994 until 2021 when he stepped down and became the executive chair. Although he has an annual salary of $1.6 million before income tax, he doesn’t get his wealth from that. Instead, Bezos’ wealth mostly comes from Amazon stock. How did Jeff Bezos become a billionaire, and how does he spend his money? Benzinga took a deep dive into these questions, and you can find the answers below.
What is Jeff Bezos’ Net Worth?
Jeff Bozos’ net worth is $148.1 billion in 2022, according to Bloomberg. He was recently knocked off of the number two spot on Bloomberg’s richest people in the world list and now sits at number three behind Elon Musk and Gautam Adani.
Bezos once held the title of the richest man in the world, but his net worth has gone up and down because of events in the past few years. But don’t feel too sorry for him; he never lost his title of billionaire once he achieved it.
Bezos got his start when his parents gave him almost $300,000 to start an online bookstore that he named Amazon. He had instant success, and three years after launching, he took the company public. Soon after the company went public, Bezos’ net worth skyrocketed to $120 billion, but when the dot-com bubble hit, his net worth shrank to $2 billion.
On the day he and his wife announced their divorce, Bezos was worth $136 billion. Then, the next year the pandemic hit, and everyone began shopping on Amazon because they were quarantined in their homes. Amazon stock rose 4.6% to $2,270 per share, and Bezos profited from it dramatically. In July 2021, Bezos tore through the $200 billion benchmark with a net worth of $211 billion.
Bezos transferred a large portion of Amazon stock to his wife during the divorce, which whittled away at his net worth. That, combined with a $20 billion loss in April 2022 when Amazon's share price crashed, meant that his net worth – while still in the billions – shrunk considerably.
Most of Bezos’ net worth comes from the stock he owns in Amazon. He is the single largest shareholder in the company and owns 11% of the stock. That means most of his wealth comes from the stock and his ability to sell it. Since 1997, he has sold $27 billion in Amazon stock.
But stocks aren’t the only way Bezos earns his money. He launched Amazon Web Services in 2002. The company offers a cloud computing platform for many entities, including a $600 million deal with the Central Intelligence Agency. He also launched Amazon Kindle.
Jeff Bezos’ Divorce Settlement
In January 2019, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos (now MacKenzie Scott), announced their decision to divorce in a joint statement on Twitter.
In April 2019, Bezos submitted a settlement offer to the judge where Jeff Bezos would give MacKenzie Bezos (now MacKenzie Scott) 4% of the outstanding Amazon stock, which amounted to 19.7 million shares. Despite fears from investors, MacKenzie agreed to give the sitting Jeff Bezos voting control of her shares.
After the divorce, Bezos’ net worth shrank to $114.8 billion, but he was still considered the richest man in the world at that time. The shares of Amazon stock he gave to MacKenzie reduced his net worth by $38.3 billion.
How Does Jeff Bezos Spend his Money?
As you would expect from anyone who has billions of dollars, Jeff Bezos spends his money on things most people would never consider. For instance, in 2013, Bezos purchased the Washington Post for $250 million. Since then, its readership has increased, and it expanded its digital offerings as an internet company.
Bezos also invested in extravagant homes and real estate, one of which sits on more than five acres and is near Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. He also purchased two houses in Beverly Hills that are right next door to each other. MacKenzie received both homes as part of the divorce settlement and donated them to a charity called the California Community Foundation. The couple originally paid a total of $37.4 million for the homes. Less than a year after the divorce, Bezos paid $165 million for a 10-acre home in Beverly Hills. In addition to even more homes, the billionaire owns more than 400,000 acres across the nation. On top of that, he owns a ranch in Van Horn, Texas, that he uses as the base for his space exploration company, Blue Origin.
Bezos is fascinated with space exploration, and he spends a lot of money on it. In 2000, the business development expert invested $7.5 billion in Blue Origin and has collected as much as $100 million in ticket sales for his tourist-to-space program. He recently sent four people, including William Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series, into space for a 10-minute ride where they experienced weightlessness for three minutes. Shatner, who was 90 at the time, walked away from the experience in awe. In an interview in 2018, Bezos said that he will continue to use the money he earns from Amazon to fund his interest in space travel.
And Bezos doesn’t only like space travel. He spent $65 million on a Gulfstream private jet. He also likes to spend money on cars. For instance, Bezos spent $4.8 million on a Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita that sparkles like diamonds when the sun hits it. His garages are filled with other expensive, exotic cars. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos ranks above Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Bernard Arnault and his now ex-wife Mackenzie Scott.
The billionaire also donates some of his money to charity, although not as much as some of his peers. When he does donate, his charities of choice tackle climate change, homelessness and cancer research. One of his most notable charitable contributions is the Bezos Earth Fund, to which he donated over $10 billion to combat climate change.
Bezos spends his money on some unusual projects. For example, he invests in the Long Now Foundation’s 10,000-year clock that is being built underground in West Texas. Bezos tweeted that the clock is a symbol of long-term thinking.
In line with his fascination with space travel, another one of Bezos’ expeditions took place on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean to recover one of the Apollo 12 rocket engines.
Jeff Bezos’ Net Worth in Perspective
Bezos, the founder of Amazon, boasts a net worth of $127 billion in 2023. Primarily derived from his significant ownership stake in Amazon stock, Bezos has used his immense wealth to explore various ventures, including space exploration and media acquisitions. He displays a philanthropic commitment through initiatives addressing climate change and substantial contributions to causes like homelessness and cancer research.
Bezos' financial success and diverse investments showcase his entrepreneurial spirit and impact on various industries, solidifying his position as one of the most influential and dynamic figures in the modern business landscape.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Jeff Bezos make most of his money?
The majority of Jeff Bezos’ money comes from Amazon stock. He owns 11% of the stock, which makes him the largest single shareholder in the company. Since 1997, Bezos has sold $27 billion worth of Amazon stock.
Does Jeff Bezos share his wealth?
Jeff Bezos does share his wealth, and he is known as a philanthropist for many charitable causes. But the billionaire doesn’t quite keep up with other wealthy philanthropists and has been on the receiving end of some critics for contributing to wealth inequality. As of 2021, he had given away $1.5 billion, which is only 0.7% of his wealth. He is also one of the world’s ultrarich who has so far refused to sign the Giving Pledge, which is a promise to give away half of his wealth, despite the fact that his ex-wife signed the pledge.
How much does Jeff Bezos have in cash?
It is difficult to determine exactly how much cash Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, has on hand. Bezos has a net worth of over $100 billion, but much of his wealth is tied up in Amazon stock and other investments. It is likely that Bezos keeps a significant amount of cash reserves for personal expenses and investments, but the exact amount is not publicly known.
About Suzanne Kearns
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