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How Bill Gates spends his $153 billion fortune, from a luxury car collection to pledging most of his wealth to his charity foundation

Sarah Jackson,Avery Hartmans,Hillary Hoffower,Taylor Nicole Rogers   

How Bill Gates spends his $153 billion fortune, from a luxury car collection to pledging most of his wealth to his charity foundation
Bill Gates is one of a few centibillionaires in the world.Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images

Bill Gates may be the world's fifth-richest person, but he doesn't plan to stay that way forever.

The Microsoft cofounder said in 2022 that he "will move down and eventually off of the list of the world's richest people" as he plans to give "virtually" all of it to his philanthropic organization.

Gates is worth $153 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, and is one of only a handful of moguls to reach centibillionaire status.

Gates has made some lavish purchases over the years: He owns a Washington estate worth $183.5 million, a private airplane, and a luxury car collection. But these indulgences make up only a fraction of his massive fortune, and Gates isn't known to throw his money around.

Gates has also given money to charitable causes through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and vowed to give away most of his fortune through the Giving Pledge, which he and his ex-wife Melinda French Gates launched in 2010 along with Warren Buffett.

Here is a look at how Gates spends his billions.

Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of $153 billion.

Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft, has an estimated net worth of $153 billion.
Bill Gates cofounded Microsoft with Paul Allen.      Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Gates long held the title as the world's second-richest person until Elon Musk unseated him in November 2020.

Now, Gates is the world's fifth-richest person and part of an exclusive club of centibillionaires — people worth more than $100 billion.

Gates has invested in various stocks and assets and launched a $1 billion investment fund, Breakthrough Energy, with 20 others.

Despite his massive fortune, Gates previously told Ellen DeGeneres that when he became a billionaire at age 31 (which was history's youngest billionaire at the time), he didn't go on a spending spree.

But he has indulged in things over time, he said, like a private plane.

But he has indulged in things over time, he said, like a private plane.
A Bombardier private jet, though not the one Gates owns.      Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

It's been reported that Gates owns a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express, which can seat up to 19 people.

Gates also spent a lot on his estate, Xanadu 2.0, in Medina, Washington. It reportedly took him seven years and $63 million to build.

Gates also spent a lot on his estate, Xanadu 2.0, in Medina, Washington. It reportedly took him seven years and $63 million to build.
Gates' estate in Medina, Washington is called Xanadu 2.0.      Reuters

Gates owns at least 12 parcels of land spanning roughly 10.5 acres, purchased for approximately $34 million between 1988 and 2009. All told, the mansion and parcels have a combined assessed value of roughly $183.5 million.

In 2023, the property taxes on Gates' Medina properties added up to $1.3 million.

Gates' estate includes a 60-foot pool — in its own separate, 3,900-square-foot building — with an underwater sound system.

Gates reportedly has paid to import sand from St. Lucia in the Caribbean to the shore surrounding his house.

There's also a 2,100-square-foot library, home to a 16th-century Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that Gates bought at auction for $30 million in 1994.

It's been reported that Gate's house features some display screens on the walls that can show different paintings or photographs. However, there are real paintings on the wall as well — like the Winslow Homer painting Gates purchased for $36 million in 1988.

In addition to the six kitchens, 24 bathrooms, and a home theater for 20 guests, Gates' house has various garages for 23 cars.

Gates is an avid luxury-car collector.

Gates is an avid luxury-car collector.
A Porsche 911, though, not Gates' actual car.      Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

His first big splurge after founding Microsoft was a Porsche 911 supercar, he told DeGeneres. He purchased the car in 1979. He later sold it, and it was auctioned for $80,000.

But that wasn't Gates' last Porsche — he's also added a Porsche 959 to his car collection

Outside of his Washington pad, Gates also has a 20-acre estate in Wellington, Florida.

Outside of his Washington pad, Gates also has a 20-acre estate in Wellington, Florida.
Gates estate is in Wellington, Florida, which is in the west of West Palm Beach.      Crystal Bolin Photography/Getty Images

The estate includes at least two mansions, one 6,668 square feet, and the other 5,716 square feet, on the property. He bought the properties over three years for about $35 million.

His daughter, Jennifer Gates Nassar, is an accomplished equestrian, and he bought the property to support her passion. It serves as the home base of her horseback riding facilities, and the area is a hotspot for many other wealthy equestrians as well.

In California, Gates owns the 228-acre Rancho Paseana, which he purchased for $18 million.

In California, Gates owns the 228-acre Rancho Paseana, which he purchased for $18 million.
An aerial view of Rancho Paseana, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates' 220-plus acre property that is used as an equestrian center.      EarthExplorer

At the time he bought it, the property came with a racetrack, olive orchard, and five barns.

He added to his California real estate portfolio in 2020, dropping $43 million on an oceanfront home in Del Mar, California.

He added to his California real estate portfolio in 2020, dropping $43 million on an oceanfront home in Del Mar, California.
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates' first San Diego property is on the grounds of the Del Mar Country Club.      EarthExplorer

It has a 10-person Jacuzzi and 120 feet of Pacific coastline.

Gates also owns a 6-bedroom home on the grounds of Indian Wells' famous Vintage Club.

Gates also owns a 6-bedroom home on the grounds of Indian Wells
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates purchased another San Diego county home in 2014 on the grounds of the Santaluz Club, pictured here.      Courtesy of Rees Jones, Inc.

There's also another home on the grounds of a country club, Santaluz Club, in San Diego, as well as a Del Mar Country Club home, which is likely now solely owned by either Bill or ex-wife Melinda French Gates following their divorce, though it isn't apparent which one.

Gates has also bought property at the Yellowstone Club in Montana.

Gates has also bought property at the Yellowstone Club in Montana.
The Yellowstone Club is an exclusive members-only resort in Montana.      Siemens Photography/Courtesy of Discovery Land Company

The main house is 6,993 square feet, with 8 full baths, 8 bedrooms, a sauna, and a home theater, according to property records. It's likely either he or French Gates owns the home following their divorce.

He also reportedly spent $9 million on a 492-acre Wyoming ranch in 2009 that Buffalo Bill named after his oldest daughter, though he is no longer affiliated with this property.

Gates is one of the largest private landowners in the country, with more than 250,000 acres, much of it farmland, according to The Land Report.

He's made numerous investments through his personal investment firm, Cascade, including partial ownership of Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He
A pool and fountain at the Four Seasons Maui, a hotel chain that Bill Gates purchased a controlling stake in through his investment firm, Cascade.      Getty/Smith Collection/Gado

A deal announced in 2021 brought his ownership stake in the Four Seasons hotel chain to roughly 71.25%.

In 2013, Gates and several unnamed buyers paid $161 million for the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.

Gates also takes luxurious vacations.

Gates also takes luxurious vacations.
The superyacht Serene is pictured at Auckland's Wynyard Wharf in Auckland, New Zealand.      Phil Walter/Getty Images

While Gates said in 2019 that he "didn't believe in" taking weekends or vacations during much of his time at Microsoft, he's been on some splashy trips.

In 2014, he treated his family to a Mediterranean vacation on board the 439-foot superyacht Serene, which he chartered for $5 million a week. It included a helicopter.

He's also traveled to Australia, Croatia, Belize, and the Amazon in Brazil.

He previously said that he likes to play tennis and go skiing. He's also been spotted spectating at tennis matches.

He previously said that he likes to play tennis and go skiing. He
Bill Gates watches a tennis match with Larry Ellison at the BNP Paribas Open 2024.      Getty/Clive Brunskill

But Gates' downtime isn't always so adventurous. He's an avid reader. He's also an "avid bridge player," as he told Reddit in a 2013 AMA.

But Gates' splurges are only a fraction of his massive fortune.

Gates is known for his philanthropy.

Gates is known for his philanthropy.
Gates and his ex-wife Melinda French Gates continue to work together on the Gates Foundation.      Handout/ Getty

"I have no use for money," Bill Gates told The Telegraph in 2013. But he often speaks of his philanthropic giving and healthcare investments.

A grant from Bill and Melinda led to the creation in 2003 of Amyris, a synthetic biology company that originally produced precursors to malaria drugs and hydrocarbon-based biofuel but also uses the technology for things like fragrances, skincare, and sweeteners. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2023.

In November 2017, Gates invested $50 million into Alzheimer's research.

He continued these efforts in 2018 by investing $30 million with a group of investors into the Diagnostics Accelerator, a "venture philanthropy" fund to diagnose Alzheimer's earlier.

Gates is frequently named among the most generous philanthropists in the US by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Gates has vowed to give away most of his fortune through the Giving Pledge, which he helped launch in 2010.

Gates and his former wife have pledged about $2 billion to defeat malaria, donated more than $50 million to fight Ebola, and pledged $38 million to a Japanese pharmaceutical company working to create a low-cost polio vaccine.

During the pandemic, their foundation announced a 5-year, $1.6 billion commitment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to deliver vaccines in the world's poorest countries.

The Gates Foundation also gives toward education through its $1.6 billion initiative the Gates Millennium Scholars Program.

The foundation has made $77.6 billion in grant payments from its inception through Q4 2023, and Bill and Melinda's total giving to the foundation during that time period totals $59.5 billion.

Its 2024 budget is $8.6 billion, and the foundation is targeting a $9 billion yearly budget by 2026.

When it comes to the future of his fortune, Gates has said he's leaving $10 million to each of his children, a fraction of his net worth.

When it comes to the future of his fortune, Gates has said he
Bill and his daughter Phoebe Gates attending the Time100 Gala in June 2022.      Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

He reiterated in July 2022 that he plans to give virtually all his wealth to his and French Gates' organization, stating that he'll eventually fall off the list of the world's richest figures.


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