Here’s how world’s 10 richest made $1.5 trillion from COVID-19

Do you want to know the secret to how you can make money while others lose? Read on.

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The world has suffered greatly this year with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, but the 10 richest people have somehow increased their wealth by $1.5 trillion.

The collective wealth of the exclusive club went up 56.8% since the pandemic started in 13 March up until 1 December, according to research from UK company Buy Shares.

With the staggering ascent of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares, it might not be surprising that its chief Elon Musk had the highest boost in fortunes.

Musk added US$128.6 billion to his worth, which was a mind-blowing 423% increase. Tesla stocks have gone up the same percentage during that period.

Rank Person Wealth USD on 13 March Wealth USD on 1 December Increase Associated with
1 Jeff Bezos $111bn $185bn 66.7% Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN)
2 Bernard Arnault $69.2bn $141.1bn 103.9% LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (EPA: MC)
3 Elon Musk $24.6bn $128.6bn 422.76% Tesla
4 Bill Gates $102bn $118.8bn 16.47% Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT)
5 Mark Zuckerberg $65.3bn $101.7bn 55.74% Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB)
6 Warren Buffett $75.9bn $86.5bn 13.96% Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE: BRK.A)
7 Larry Ellison $54.1bn $78.6bn 45.28% Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL)
8 Larry Page $58.9bn $77.4bn 31.4% Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL)
9 Amancio Ortega $52.2bn $76.7bn 46.93% Industria de Diseno Textil SA (BME: ITX)
10 Sergey Brin $57.1bn $75.2bn 31.69% Alphabet
Source: Buy Shares; Table created by author

The world’s wealthiest person, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, made a tidy US$74 billion, which was a 67% increase.

The least successful out of the 10 billionaires, Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett, added a “meagre” 14% – just US$10.6 billion.

All 10 top richest people either currently lead or have led publicly listed companies.

How did they make money while others lost?

So how did the ultra-rich boost their fortunes while the rest of the world struggled with a virus that had such a wide-ranging impact?

According to Buy Shares, the “secret” was simply following a very old investing axiom.

“Notably, most billionaires did not sell their shares while the pandemic saw the market hit historical lows,” the analysis read.

“The world’s wealthiest also remained resilient by buying more company stocks as the equity market around the world was crashing.”

By holding onto their portfolio and even buying more stocks during the March crash, they all added to their substantial fortunes during the market recovery.

“The pandemic accelerated technology and healthcare entrepreneurs,” said the Buy Shares study.

“With restrictions on movement and gatherings, most people relied on eCommerce platforms like Amazon to get essential goods and services. The reliance on technology sectors saw their stocks remain resilient and recovering quickly.”

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