The fortune of billionaires have always made interesting reading. The cumulative wealth of the worlds 10 richest is worth the value of world’s fifth largest economy. While on the one hand they are heavily into charity, on the other they splurge on buying islands and villages. The top ten billionaires this year (2013) include:

1)   Carlos Slim Helu  (Net Worth $69 B)

At a Glance

Honorary Chairman, América Móvil

Age: 72

Source of Wealth: telecom, self-made

Residence: Mexico City, Mexico

Country of Citizenship: Mexico

Education: Bachelor of Arts / Science, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Marital Status: Widowed

Children: 6

Forbes Lists

#11 Powerful People

#1 Forbes Billionaires

#1 in Mexico (Sources Forbes list of World Top Billionaires)

With total assets worth $73 billion, Carlos Slim Helu is slated to be the richest man in the world. Though he built his fortune in the telecom sector, he didn’t stay confined to it, and has huge stakes in mining and real estate companies. In 2012, he bought three important clubs: Spain’s Real Oviedo, Mexico’s Pachuca and Leon clubs.

Slim started off as a trader in Mexico. He soon started his brokerage firm — which diversified to construction and manufacturing.  In 1966, his company was worth US $40 million. By 1972 he acquired seven new businesses including one which rented construction equipment. In 1976 he bought 60% interest in a printing business. In 1980 he formed Grupo Galas which served as a parent company for the industry, mining, retail, construction, food, and tobacco wings.

Presently he is the chairman and chief executive of telecommunications companies Telmex and América Móvil.

2)   Bill Gates (Net worth $69 B)

At a Glance

Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Age: 57

Source of Wealth: Microsoft, self-made

Residence: Medina, WA

Country of Citizenship: United States

Education: Drop Out, Harvard University

Marital Status: Married

Children: 3

Forbes Lists

#4 Powerful People

#1 Forbes 400

#2 Forbes Billionaires

#1 in United States

Charity deprived him of the number one position. After giving away nearly $30 billion in charity, Gates worth now stands at $65 million. This makes him the second richest man in the world.

Gates’ foundation aims to fight infectious and deadly diseases the world over. According to estimates, the relentless efforts of his foundation would help save nearly 8 million lives by 2020. He has pledged to step up his philanthropy in several other areas too.

3)   William Buffet (Net worth $44 B)

At a Glance

CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

Age: 82

Source of Wealth: Berkshire Hathaway, self-made

Residence: Omaha, NE

Country of Citizenship: United States

Education: Master of Science, Columbia University; Bachelor of Arts / Science, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Marital Status: Widowed, Remarried

Children: 3

Forbes Lists

#15 Powerful People

#2 Forbes 400

#3 Forbes Billionaires

#2 in United States

Like Gates Buffet is heavily into philanthropy. In 2012, Buffet donated $1.5 billion to the Gates Foundation.. In August he pledged $3 billion in stock to his children’s foundations. Over the years he has donated more than $17 billion towards charity. He is vociferous in his campaign for higher taxes on the rich.

4)   Bernard Arnault (Net worth $41 B)

At a Glance

Chairman and CEO, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Age: 63

Source of Wealth: LVMH

Residence: Paris, France

Country of Citizenship: France

Education: Bachelor of Arts / Science, Ecole Polytechnique de Paris

Marital Status: Married

Children: 5

Forbes Lists

#56 Powerful People

#4 Forbes Billionaires

#1 in France

Arnault is the owner of Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Bulgari.- the world’s leading fashion companies.. In 2012 he bought a stake in Chinese casual-wear company Trendy International Group. Recently, he has applied for Belgian citizenship and most believe this move is to duck taxes that France soon plans to introduce on the wealthy.

Arnault joined his father’s company in 1971. In 1976, his father, at his insistence, sold the construction division of the company for 40 million French francs, and shifted attention to the real estate industry. In 1974 he became the director of their new company Ferinel, and in 1977 the CEO. In 1979, he took over as the president of Ferinel. In 1981, Bernard immigrated to the United States and created Ferinel Inc. which built condominiums in Florida.

5)   Amancio Ortega (Net worth$37.5 B)

At a Glance

Age: 76

Source of Wealth: Zara, self-made

Residence: La Coruna, Spain

Country of Citizenship: Spain

Marital Status: Married

Children: 3

Forbes Lists

#5 Forbes Billionaires

#1 in Spain

Ortega owns the well-known fashion firm, Inditex. The company hasn’t missed a beat. With the companies share rising by one-fourth in the past year, the worth of his assets have risen by $6.5 billion catapulting him to the fifth position. In December, the fashion baron bought a 43-story skyscraper in Madrid for $536 million. Besides, he owns the Epic Residences & Hotel, a luxury 54-story waterfront condo and hotel development in Miami. Like other billionaires he has a stake in soccer league and horse-jumping.

Starting as a gopher in various shirt stores in La Coruña, Galicia, in 1972 he founded his bathrobe company called Confecciones Goa. In 1975, he opened the first store called Zara. Zara soon became immensely popular. He owns 59.29% of the Inditex group which includes the brands Massimo Dutti, Zara,   Zara Home, Oysho, Kiddy’s Class, Stradivarius, Tempe, Pull and Bear/Often, and Bershka. The group today employs 92,000 employees. AN overall rise in retail stocks has pushed Ortega to the top 10 billionaire list. Demand for reasonably priced goods and cheap credit have driven shares of Inditex to records.

6)   Larry Ellison, (Net worth$36 B)

At a Glance

CEO, Oracle

Age: 68

Source of Wealth: Oracle, self-made

Residence: Woodside, CA

Country of Citizenship: United States

Education: Drop Out, University of Chicago; Drop Out, University of Illinois at Urbana

Marital Status: Divorced

Children: 2

Forbes Lists

#3 Forbes 400

#6 Forbes Billionaires

#3 in United States

America’s third richest man is the world’s sixth richest.  Today, he owns 98% of Hawaiian island of Lanai. In June 2012, he purchased the island from fellow billionaire David Murdock for more than $500 million. Since August 2011, his company’s stock has climbed 20% bringing $8 billion more to his net worth. Ellison put his signature on to the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge in 2010. He has already donated $445 million in total to the Ellison Medical Foundation, which conducts advanced research on age-related diseases. Last year he gifted the foundation shares worth 1.6 million.

7)   Eike Batista, (Net worth $30 B)

At a Glance

Age: 56

Source of Wealth: mining, oil, self-made

Residence: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Country of Citizenship: Brazil

Education: Drop Out, RWTH Aachen University

Marital Status: Divorced

Children: 2

Forbes Lists

#7 Forbes Billionaires

#1 in Brazil

The world’s seventh richest man is Brazil’s richest man. He has 61% stake in OGX Petroleo e Gas, worth $20 billion. This is almost two-thirds of his net worth.

Batista left Brazil when he was in his teenage. After his parents returned he remained abroad and began selling insurance policies door-to-door to make his living. In the 80s, he returned to Brazil and involved himself in gold and diamond trades. As a salesman, he got in touch with producers in the Amazon area and major buyers in Europe and Brazil. Soon he started a gold trading firm, called Autram Aurem. A year his company raked in US$ 6 million.

Soon he ventured into the first mechanized alluvial gold mining plant in the Amazon, thus setting up the EBX Group. From 1980 to 2000, he created US$ 20 billion by running eight gold mines in Brazil and Canada and silver mine in Chile. Between 1991 and 1996, his company’s worth tripled.

8)   Stefan Persson’s (Net worth $26 B)

At a Glance

Age: 65

Source of Wealth: H&M

Residence: Stockholm, Sweden

Country of Citizenship: Sweden

Education: Associate in Arts / Science, University of Stockholm

Marital Status: Married

Children: 3

Forbes Lists

#8 Forbes Billionaires

#1 in Sweden

Is the owner of the apparel chain H&M. Last year, the chain added Versace and Marni to its stable. For the first time the chain opened stores in Singapore, Croatia, and Romania. Today, H&M boasts of 2,500 shops in 43 countries.

Persson’s father, Erling, founded H&M in 1947. Stefan took over in 1982. He gave up the chief executive position in 1998. In 2009 he purchased the village of Linkenholt in Hampshire. The Mentor Foundation owes its set up to him. It is a nonprofit that fights substance abuse among youth.

9)   Li Ka Shing (Net worth $25.5 B)

At a Glance

Chairman, Hutchison Whampoa

Age: 84

Source of Wealth: diversified, self-made

Residence: Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Country of Citizenship: Hong Kong

Education: Drop Out, High School

Marital Status: Widowed

Children: 2

Forbes Lists

#1 Hong Kong’s 50 Richest

#31 Powerful People

#9 Forbes Billionaires

#1 in Hong Kong

Li Ka Shing is the richest man in Asia. His fortune is worth $27 billion. Like most billionaires he too is a noted philanthropist. To0date he has donated over $1.6 billion in grants health care, to education,  and cultural organizations.

10)                     Karl Albrecht’s (Net Worth $25.4 B)

At a Glance

Age: 92

Source of Wealth: Aldi, self-made

Residence: Mulheim an der Ruhr, Germany

Country of Citizenship: Germany

Marital Status: Married

Children: 2

Forbes Lists

#10 Forbes Billionaires

#1 in Germany

Karl Albrecht owns the discount supermarket giant, Aldi Sud. There are about 4,500 Aldi Sud stores, out of which 1,200 are strewn across 32 U.S. states.. He honed his retail reading skills in his mother’s grocery store after World War II. Soon he turned it into a large retail chain. He has managed this by selling commodities at low prices and in simple settings.