One of the ridiculous components of the annual “Forbes 100 List” that outlines the richest people in the world is that it is written with the frame of reference that every member of that list is actively trying to get richer over time. In the case of Carlos Slim, that is undoubtedly true. In the case of Bill Gates, that is undoubtedly false.
When Microsoft went public in 1986, Bill Gates owned 46.7% of the stock. Microsoft is now a company in the $350 billion range. Had Gates decided to let his ownership stake silently compound without any interference from him, he would be sitting on a $163 billion fortune (and that is before taking into account Microsoft’s dividends), permitting him to likely live out his days as the richest person in the world.