Spaceships and Newspapers: How Jeff Bezos Spends His Money
Jeff Bezos just became the richest man in the world, with a net worth of over $90 billion.
Most of Bezos’s money comes from his 17% ownership of Amazon — the higher Amazon’s shares climb, the more Bezos himself is worth. And Amazon’s stock has been on a tear lately, amplified by the company’s recently announced acquisition of grocery chain Whole Foods.
Bezos jumped from being the fourth-richest person in the world since just the start of the year. Bezos’ net worth is now $500 million more than Bill Gates, who he dethroned as the richest person Thursday morning.
Here’s how Bezos spends his fortune.
Bezos left a New York hedge fund job in 1994 with the goal of selling books online. But in 2000, with Amazon on its way to commerce dominance, Bezos founded private spacefaring company Blue Origin.
Initially shrouded in secrecy, Blue Origin has lately been much more willing to trumpet its accomplishments, including recent successful tests of its New Shepard spacecraft. Barring unforeseen delays, the company plans to launch its first crewed test flights in 2018. Bezos has described the company, which is initially focused on space tourism, as a chance to expand humanity’s reach in the cosmos. “We need a space-faring civilization,” Bezos said earlier this year.
The Washington Post
Bezos purchased the iconic newspaper for $250 million in 2013, at a time when the paper was losing money. The billionaire vowed at the time to continue the Post’s “long history of independent journalism,” the Post reported. Bezos added that he could serve as a “financial cushion” so that the Post could experiment and find its own workable business model.
The Post has since seen a resurgence in readership and has been branching out as a technology vendor.
Unlike fellow billionaires Gates and Warren Buffet, Bezos has yet to pledge at least half of his wealth to charity. However, the Amazon CEO isn’t a total stranger to philanthropy. In 2012, he donated $2.5 million to help pass a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington state. His parents also help fund the Bezos Family Foundation from their Amazon shares, according to Bloomberg.
And just last month, Bezos took to Twitter to ask for ideas on how to donate his money. “I’m thinking about a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I most spend my time — working on the long term. For philanthropy, I find I’m drawn to the other end of the spectrum: the right now,” Bezos tweeted.