Nearly half of America’s richest billionaires have fortunes in these two sectors


Billionaires get rich doing everything from selling roofing supplies to making energy drinks. But some industries are more likely than others to place someone in the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America. So Forbes Made this year’s list to rank the industries in which Forbes’ 400 members have built their fortunes.

The best road to wealth? Finances and investments. More than a quarter of America’s richest people made their money in this industry, which includes hedge funds, private equity, and fund management. In other words, making money for others tends to pay off well. The 103 finance and investment billionaires on the list include traditional stalwarts like Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn, as well as new billionaires like private equity CEO Ramzi Musallam and Susquehanna International Group founder Jeff Yass. And the latest group of financial giants: the crypto billionaires. As bitcoin has reached new highs and crypto has branched out into the mainstream, six new billionaires on the list have crypto to thank for their fortunes, including Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Sam Bankman-Fried, 29. .

Then there is the technology.

No industry has impacted the Forbes 400 ranking like technology has over the past decade. One-fifth of America’s richest people got richer in tech, up from less than 8.5% in 2009. Seven of the top ten on the list are tech-savvy, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and 11 new tech billionaires joined the ranks this year. George Kurtz has built a fortune of $ 4.1 billion helping track down hackers around the world with his cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike. Pinterest co-founders Ben Silbermann and Paul Sciarra landed on the list after the social network saw its shares jump 107% since its IPO in 2019 (Forbes used share prices from September 3, 2021 to compile the Forbes 400 list this year.)

Selling things we all need, like food and clothes, is also a great deal if you can do it on a large scale. Thirty-eight billionaires got richer in the food and beverage industry, the third most popular industry for Forbes 400 members. This includes Chick-fil-A heirs Dan Cathy, Bubba Cathy and Trudy Cathy White and Little Caesar’s Pizza co-founder Marian Ilitch. Next is fashion and retail, led by the Waltons, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, as well as newcomer Gary Friedman, CEO of Restoration Hardware.

Here are the industries with the most Forbes 400 members (net worth is as of September 3, 2021):

Finances and Investments

103 billionaires

25.75% of list

Collective net worth: $ 846.9 billion

Richest: Warren Buffett $ 102 billion


80 billionaires

20% of the list

Collective net worth: $ 1.6 trillion

Richest: Jeff Bezos $ 201 billion

Food and drink

38 billionaires

9.5% of the list

Collective net worth: $ 242.2 billion

Richest: Jaqueline Mars $ 31.8 billion and John Mars $ 31.8 billion

Fashion and retail

31 billionaires

7.75% of list

Collective net worth: $ 477.6 billion

Richest: Jim Walton $ 68.8 billion, Alice and Rob Walton

Media and entertainment

26 billionaires

6.5% of the list

Collective net worth: $ 254.6 billion

Richest: Michael Bloomberg $ 70 billion


24 billionaires

6% of the list

Collective net worth: $ 122.4 billion

Richest: Donald Bren $ 16.2 billion


17 billionaires

4.25% of list

Collective net worth: $ 97 billion

Richest: Harold Hamm $ 11.4 billion


16 billionaires

4% of the list

Collective net worth: $ 84.6 billion

Richest: Steven Rales $ 10.1 billion

Health care

15 billionaires

3.75% of list

Collective net worth: $ 109.2 billion

Richest: Thomas Frist $ 20.8 billion


13 billionaires

3.25% of the list

Collective net worth: $ 71.2 billion

Richest: Stanley Kroenke $ 10.7 billion

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