Wealthy Woes: What Happened to Make Billionaires Lose Nearly $2.1 Trillion

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For the world’s wealthiest individuals, 2022 was a year they would rather forget.

Against the backdrop of resounding inflation and central bank tightening, this year has been a significant setback for billionaires whose collective wealth skyrocketed to previously inconceivable heights during the COVID-19 age of easy money.

The amount of lost money is incomprehensible, with nearly $US1.4 trillion ($2.1 trillion) erased from the riches of only 500 people, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.

It seems that much of the hurt was caused by our own doing: The supposed deception from once-promising crypto celebrity Sam Bankman-Fried, the damaging conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which resulted in punishing sanctions against its billionaires, plus Elon Musk’s notorious behaviour on Twitter – he is worth almost $138 billion less than what he held at the start of 2022.

“The pandemic-induced recession and its attendant volatility was a major factor in the loss of wealth for some members of the world’s wealthiest elite,” says John Dizard, an editor at Bloomberg News. 

Stock market losses were seen across many sectors, particularly in luxury goods companies, travel-related businesses, and tech start-ups.

Most notably, Musk, Jeff Bezos, Changpeng Zhao and Mark Zuckerberg lost an astounding $US392 billion from their combined net word—demonstrating that sometimes we must experience incredible highs before we can anticipate steep lows.

“The billionaires’ concentration of wealth is a ticking time bomb,” Dizard explains. “Their portfolios are highly vulnerable to sudden shifts in the market, which can be caused by anything from currency fluctuations to political events.”

Despite the hit taken by some of the world’s wealthiest, there was still good news for the billionaire class. India’s Gautam Adani surpassed billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett on the wealth index! The Koch family and Mars clan also added to their fortunes. At the same time, sports franchises became more expensive than ever—increasingly out of reach for anyone outside that incredibly small 0.0001 per cent elite group.

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