Mexico’s Slim, pictured here in 2007, comes in first on Forbes’ list with a whopping $74 billion.
Well, it’s not Bill Gates, but the Microsoft mastermind did come in second place in this year’s countdown of Forbes’ top 10 wealthiest people in the world. So who was No. 1? That would be Mexico’s Carlos Slim, for the second year in a row. —KA
1. Carlos Slim (Mexico) - $74 billion, telecommunications
Slim, 71, first showed a business talent as a 10-year-old selling drinks and snacks to his family. After studying engineering, he founded a real estate company and worked as a trader on the Mexican stock exchange. Cigar-smoking Slim is known for a “Midas touch” in acquiring struggling firms and turning them into cash cows.
His enormous wealth contrasts starkly with his frugal lifestyle. He has lived in the same house for about 40 years and drives an aging Mercedes Benz, although it is armored and trailed by bodyguards.
He has become involved in combating poverty, illiteracy and poor healthcare in Latin America and promotes sports projects for the poor, but has never voiced plans to give away large chunks of his wealth to charity.