FORBES @ 100: NINE ZEROES—OCT. 9, 2006
Eleven years ago it took an even billion to make The Forbes 400. Now it’s double that.
For the First time, everyone on The Forbes 400 was a billionaire.
In all, the 400 richest Americans controlled $1.25 trillion in wealth, up about 10% from a year earlier. The top of the list looked much as it does today: Bill Gates remains the richest man in the country; Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison are still in the top five. Missing in 2006: Mark Zuckerberg, now the nation’s fourth-richest person, who had launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room two years earlier.
The storm clouds that would soon drench America’s economy were a little way off yet, but we had a hunch the forecast was gloomy. As we put it in a piece about the country’s biggest property fortunes: “A real estate collapse may be on the horizon, but for now it’s clear skies for the land barons of The Forbes 400.” By 2009, 9 of the 32 real estate billionaires on the 2006 list (28% of them) had gone M.I.A. Only one of those dropouts, Miami condo king Jorge Perez, appears on this year’s Forbes 400.