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The second-wealthiest person in the world – behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – was celebrated on Twitter Monday by his wife, Melinda, who posted a picture of Gates smiling and wearing a birthday cake-shaped hat.
"Every year, this birthday hat has come out for family birthdays and has traveled with us for nearly 20 years," she wrote. "Today, it's Bill's turn again – happy birthday, @Bill Gates!"
Gates, born in 1955, co-founded Microsoft Corporation (formerly Micro Soft) in 1975 with Paul Allen. The company went public on March 13, 1986 – opening at $21 per share, and increasing to $35.50 per share by the end of the day – and quickly grew into a multibillion-dollar tech and software behemoth.
He resigned from his post as CEO of Microsoft in Jan. 2000 and retired from his day-to-day obligations in 2008, but remained chairman of the board until he stepped down in 2014.
Today, he's worth approximately $105.8 billion – surpassing longtime confidante, Berkshire Hathaway magnate Warren Buffett, who has a net worth of $83.5 billion, as well as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who boasts a net worth of $69.7 billion, according to Forbes' real-time data.
Gates' shares in Microsoft account for approximately 20 percent of his holdings, according to an Investopedia.com report from June 2019.
The father of three – who starred in a recently released Netflix documentary about himself, "Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates" – has a collection of luxury cars and owns a corporate jet, a Bombardier BD 700 Global Express, which has an estimated cost of approximately $45 million, according to the report.
His home along the Seattle area's Lake Washington shorefront is allegedly worth $147.5 million, according to the report. He also owns an $8.7 million Wellington, Florida, home, and is reported to have bought an island off the coast of Belize for at least $25 million, Investopedia reported.
He has spent millions of dollars on collectible items, including a Leonardo da Vinci manuscript that he picked up in 1994 for $30.8 million. He also reportedly paid $36 million for Winslow Homer's painting "Lost on The Grand Banks," and $28 million for George Bellow's "Polo Crowd," according to Investopedia.
Gates has also diverted his billions into various projects, such as corporate investments and philanthropy.
His corporate investments, which make up the majority of his assets, are overseen by Cascade Investments, LLC, which is partially controlled by Gates, according to the report.
Cascade owns a nearly 50 percent stake in Four Seasons Hotels, Investopedia reported, as well as 7 percent of McDonalds franchise giant Arcos Dorados, more than 10 percent stake in Canadian National Railway and an unspecified stake in John Deere tractor company.
Investopedia provided some examples of his diverse investments:
- More than $680 million in national vehicle retailer AutoNation
- More than $2 billion in waste collection company Republic Services
- Nearly $2 billion in cleaning supply giant Ecolab
Perhaps most prominent of his philanthropic efforts is his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which reported total liabilities and net assets of just over $47.8 billion in 2018, according to its 2018 annual report.
Founded in 1997, the foundation strives to "reduce inequity across the globe," according to the annual report, and is the "largest charitable foundation in the world," Investopedia reported.
Gates often posts about the foundation to his Twitter following of more than 48 million people.