Bezos didn’t stay on top for long, however. Amazon shares closed down Thursday evening after an earnings miss, knocking Bezos back to number two.
Had Amazon’s stock closed high enough, Bezos would have officially replaced Gates atop the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a spot Gates first seized in 1995 when the then-39-year-old’s fortune hit $12.9 billion.
Bezos’ wealth has soared $24.5 billion so far this year, thanks primarily to his 17 percent ownership of Amazon, which is now valued at more than twice as much as Walmart.
Behind Bezos and Gates, Spanish businessman Amancio Ortega currently ranks as the third richest person in the world, with a net worth of $82.7 billion, followed by Warren Buffett ($74.5 billion) and Mark Zuckerberg ($70.5 billion).
What’s it like being super rich? According to Gates, it’s overrated.
“I can understand wanting to have millions of dollars. There’s a certain freedom, meaningful freedom, that comes with that,” he told students at the University of Washington in 2011. “But once you get much beyond that, I have to tell you, it’s the same hamburger.”
This story has been updated to reflect Amazon’s lower stock price and its impact on Bezos’ wealth.