Rich Get Richer: Bill Gates Tops Forbes 400 List of Richest Americans

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The rich keep getting richer. Forbes on Monday released its annual list of the 400 richest people in America, and for the 21st straight year Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was No. 1. Gates’ net worth was pegged at $81 billion — up $9 billion from 2013, due in large part to a strong performance by Microsoft shares and the stock market in general. Gates’ friend, Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, was second (the spot he’s occupied since 2001) with a net worth of $67 billion. Larry Ellison, who announced earlier this month that he is stepping down as CEO of Oracle, was No. 3 with a net worth of $50 billion. The combined wealth of Forbes’ 2014 ranking is $2.29 trillion, up from $2.02 trillion in 2013 and the highest ever.

Forty-seven women are on the list, down one from last year. This year includes newcomer Elizabeth Holmes (No. 110 — net worth $4.5 billion), who dropped out of Stanford and went on to found Theranos, a privately held Palo Alto, California, company that developed a quick and cheap finger-prick blood test.

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— James Eng