After 27 years of marriage, amassing a planetary fortune and founding a namesake philanthropic enterprise with an endowment of nearly $50 billion, Bill and Melinda Gates announced this week that they’ve decided to split up in the most modern of ways, via Twitter. The split appears to be amicable, and the erstwhile couple says they will continue their roles as co-chairs and trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They will, however, need to divvy up their Brobdingnagian pile of assets, a no doubt Byzantine enterprise that has people around the world wondering who will get what.
It’s often said that the Microsoft founder doesn’t like to spend his money frivolously. Frivolous, however, is in the eye of the beholder and often depends on the size of one’s bank account. And, for Gates, currently ranked by the bean counters at Forbes as the fourth richest person on earth with a net worth of around $130 billion, not spending frivolously means maintaining a fleet of Porsches and other high-performance sports cars, traveling by private jet — reportedly a Bomabardier BD-700 Global Express that costs upwards of $40 million — and, though it’s worth but a tiny fraction of his overall wealth, presiding over a property portfolio easily valued in excess of a quarter billion bucks.
It’s not clear exactly how many homes the Gates actually own, and some of their estates comprise numerous parcels and several houses. There are, though, at least eight houses and compounds spread across the United States that, according to tax records, have a combined annual tax bill that tallies up to about $4 million. That might be enough to give an ordinary millionaire a million sleepless nights, but for Gates the yearly tax bills are nothing more than pecuniary child’s play, less, in fact, than he earns in a single day.
Based on how much wealth he added to his bottom line over the past year, according to Business Insider, he earned about $4,630 per second. That means at a spend rate of $1 million per day it would take him about 400 years to spend his fortune. Business Insider went on to determine that he’s 66% richer than the entirety of the British monarchy, has more money than the richest person in Asia and the richest person in China, combined, and could give every person in the world $15 and still have $28 billion to spare.