Bill Gates has an estimated net worth of around $95 billion.
Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

  • Bill and Melinda Gates released their 2019 annual letter, highlighting the biggest surprises of 2018.
  • Gates, the world's second-richest person, has an estimated net worth of R1 trillion, according to Forbes.
  • While he indulges in a few luxuries, they make up only a fraction of his fortune.
  • He mainly spends his billions on charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and plans to give away most of his fortune.

Bill and Melinda Gates released their 2019 annual letter, in which they highlighted the biggest surprises of 2018, from sexist data to the extinction of textbooks.

Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, is the world's second-richest person, sitting on an estimated net worth of R1 trillion, according to Forbes.

It's hard to imagine what to do with that amount of money, but Gates knows how to make the most of it. While he has some indulgences - like a Washington estate worth R1 billion, a private airplane, and a luxury-car collection - they make up only a fraction of his massive fortune.

He and wife, Melinda, previously said it's unfair they're so rich. Instead of spending billions on themselves, they often donate it to charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They've also pledged to give away most of their fortune through the Giving Pledge, which they launched in 2010.

See how Gates spends his billions.


Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of about $95 billion (R1 trillion), making him the world's second-richest person.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Source: Forbes


If he spent $1 million (R14 million) a day, it would take him more than 245 years to spend his fortune. Here's how he spends his money.

Source: Business Insider


Gates has invested in a variety of stocks and assets and launched a $1 billion (R14 billion) investment fund, Breakthrough Energy, with 20 others.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Source: Forbes


Despite his massive fortune, Gates previously told Ellen DeGeneres that when he became a billionaire at age 31 (history's youngest billionaire at the time), he didn't go on a spending spree.

NBC

Source: Business Insider


But he has indulged in things over time, he said, like a private plane.

Source: Business Insider


It's been reported that Gates owns a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express, which costs R552 million and can seat up to 19 people.

Source: Business Insider


Gates also spent a lot on his estate, Xanadu 2.0, in Medina, Washington. It took him seven years and R870 million to build. He purchased the lot for $2 million (R28 million) in 1988 .

Reuters

Source: Business Insider


At 66,000 square feet, his home is worth about R1 billion today.

Dan Callister / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


In 2017, he paid $1,041,292.55 (R14,712,162.12) in property taxes on it, according to public filings.

Source: Business Insider


The estate has a trampoline room, which Gates told DeGeneres his three kids love.

Source: Business Insider


There's roughly R1 million worth of computer screens sitting around the house.

Source: Business Insider


Devices worth R2 million can display different paintings or photographs on the screens at a single touch.

WorldEconomicForum/Wikimedia Commons, GoogleCulturalInstitute/Wikimedia Commons

Source: Business Insider


However, there are real paintings on the wall as well — like the Winslow Homer painting Gates purchased for $36 million (R508 million) in 1988.

Source: Business Insider


There's also a 18 metre pool — in its own separate, 3,900 square-foot building.

Source: Business Insider


That's not to mention the 195-square-metre library, home to a 16th-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that Gates bought at auction for $30 million (R424 million) in 1994.

Image Courtesy ©bgC3

Source: Business Insider


Gates reportedly pays to have sand imported from St. Lucia in the Caribbean to the shore surrounding his house.

Source: Business Insider


In addition to a home theater for 20 guests, six kitchens, and 24 bathrooms, Gates' house has various garages for 23 cars.

Google Maps

Source: Business Insider


It's perfect for Gates, an avid luxury-car collector. His first big splurge after founding Microsoft was a Porsche 911 supercar, he told DeGeneres. He later sold it, and it was auctioned for $80,000 (R1.1 million).

H&H Classics

Source: Business Insider


But that wasn't Gates' last Porsche. He also has a Porsche 959 in his car collection.

Wikimedia Commons

Source: Business Insider


Outside of his Washington pad, Gates also has a 1.82-hectare vacation ranch in Wellington, Florida, with a 1,195-square-metre mansion.

Source: Business Insider


He reportedly dropped $27 million (R381.7 million) to buy a whole string of properties in the area.

Source: Business Insider


The area is hotspot for wealthy equestrians. His daughter Jennifer is an accomplished equestrian, and he bought the property to support her passion.

Source: Business Insider


In California, he owns the 8.9-hectare Rancho Paseana, which he purchased for $18 million (R254 million). It includes a racetrack, orchard, and five barns.

Source: Business Insider


He also reportedly purchased a 199-hectare Wyoming ranch, which listed for $8.9 million (R125.7 million) back in 2009.

Source: Business Insider


But Gates' real-estate portfolio doesn't end there.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

He's made numerous investments through his personal investment firm, Cascade, including partial ownership of Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Source: Business Insider


He reportedly owns nearly half of the Four Season Holding's hotel chain through Cascade, including hotels in Atlanta and Houston.

Source: Wall Street Journal


Gates shares 95% ownership with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.

Source: Wall Street Journal


In 2013, Gates and several unnamed buyers paid $161 million (R2.2 billion) for the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco. As of 2014, it was reportedly worth $200 million (R2.8 billion).

Source: Wall Street Journal


When he's not busy buying real estate or working, Gates needs a vacation or two to unwind.


He's traveled to Australia and Croatia....

Source: Travel + Leisure, Forbes


....and Belize and the Amazon in Brazil.

Source: Travel + Leisure, Forbes


He's also treated his family to a Mediterranean vacation on board the 133-metre superyacht Serene, which he chartered for $5 million (R70.6 million) a week. It included a helicopter.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Source: The Daily Mail


He previously said that he likes to play tennis and go skiing. He's also been spotted spectating at tennis matches.

Source: The Telegraph


But Gates' downtime isn't always so adventurous. He's an avid reader, having indulged in quite the book collection.

Source: Business Insider


He's also an "avid bridge player," as he once told Reddit.

Source: Business Insider


Gates hates to shop for himself, but did admit that he likes to "buy nice things" for his wife, Melinda.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: CNBC


However, he once told Reddit that he doesn't like overspending on clothes and jewelry.

Source: CNBC


But Gates' splurges are only a fraction of his massive fortune. He previously told The Telegraph, "I have no use for money." Instead, he often donates to or invests his money in good causes.

John Lamparski/Getty Images

Source: The Telegraph


Gates previously invested in Amyris, a synthetic-biology company that originally produced precursors to malaria drugs and hydrocarbon-based biofuel. Today, it focuses on health through fragrances, skincare, and sweetener.

Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


In November 2017, Gates invested $50 million (R706.4 million) into Alzheimer's research.

Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


He continued these efforts by recently investing $30 million (R424 million) with a group of investors into the Diagnostics Accelerator, a "venture philanthropy" fund to diagnose Alzheimer's earlier.

Source: Business Insider


Gates and Melinda are huge on philanthropy. They were recently named the most generous philanthropists in the US by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, having donated more than $36 billion (R508 billion) to charitable causes through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Source: Business Insider


Gates agreed to give away most of his fortune through the Giving Pledge, which he launched in 2010.

Source: Business Insider


The Gateses spent money traveling to Tanzania and other countries for charity work.

Source: Travel + Leisure


In 2017, they donated $4.78 billion (R76 billion), mostly to projects run by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Source: Business Insider


They donated more than $2 billion (R28 billion) in 2016 to causes related to global health and development and US education.

Source: Business Insider


They've pledged about $2 billion (R28 billion) to defeat malaria, donated more than $50 million (R705 million) to fight Ebola, and pledged $38 million (R536 million) to a Japanese pharmaceutical company working to create a low-cost polio vaccine.

Source: Business Insider


The Gates Foundation has also committed at least $2.5 billion (R35 billion) to the GAVI Alliance, which works to improve access to vaccines in poor countries.

Source: Business Insider


Bill and Melinda also prioritise education. The Gates Foundation established the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which has received $1.6 billion (R22.5 billion).

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


It also partnered with the Dangote Foundation in 2016 to spend $100 million (R1.4 billion) on eliminating malnutrition in Nigeria.

Source: Business Insider


When it comes to the future of his fortune, Gates is leaving $10 million (R141 million) to each of his children, a fraction of his net worth.

Source: Business Insider

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