Gates told Fortune that he decided to sell 55 per cent shares and received $1.6 million out of it, which he spent thoughtfully on something that could have suffered him a loss even after owning so much money
It was 1986 when Microsoft, one of the few tech companies that were thriving in the US back then, went public. The co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen were starry-eyed largely because the IPO was expected to open profitable revenue streams for the company. The IPO garnered a huge return, so much so that it made Gates and Allen multi-millionaires overnight. Although Allen had quit Microsoft over health concerns, Gates continued holding the position of CEO and reaping the benefits that made him one of the wealthiest people in the US at that time.
In an interview in 1986, Gates told Fortune that he decided to sell 55 per cent shares and received $1.6 million out of it, which he spent thoughtfully on something that could have suffered him a loss even after owning so much money. Gates paid off his mortgage of $150,000, he told Fortune. Not only his own senses but financial experts including Kevin O’Leary, who is one of the ‘Sharks’ in the popular reality show Shark Tank, resonate with the decision Gates took. It doesn’t matter how much money a person earns, the debt is always dauntingly looming on such fortunes. Gates got rid of the mortgage but one thing that he dearly desired was buying a ski boat that cost $5,000 of the money he received. Meanwhile, the remaining 45 per cent stake he still owned accrued a market valuation of $350 million.
While paying off any debts such as a mortgage of as high as $150,000 sounds genuinely sensible, Gates wasn’t that much level-headed earlier. In 1979, Gates did something that most nouveau riche would do – splurging on expensive items such as a luxury car. Gates bought a Porsche 911 right after he made substantially good money off Microsoft. “I bought one thing that was a tiny bit of a splurge,” Gates told Bloomberg in an interview in 2016. But that is something that gives personal satisfaction to anyone who is a new rich, isn’t it? However, Gates did not just buy the car to put on display. He utilised every bit of the Porsche 911 engines by speeding the car in the vicinity of the Microsoft headquarters in New Mexico.
The fortune that Gates was being conferred on with did not take a pause. At the age of 31 in 1987, Gates became a billionaire that mushroomed to an astronomical figure of $12.9 billion by the year 1995. This is when the world saw a co-founder and CEO of a tech company become the world’s richest man. Bill Gates retained the title of the world’s wealthiest man for many years, however, with a little sway on and off. In 2017, Bill Gates was officially taken over by Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world. Currently, Bill Gates is the world’s second richest person, while Bezos is right at the apex. Gates has been involved in charitable causes via the organisation called Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that he runs along with his wife. The organisation has carried out several initiatives directed towards the facelift of the society and environment, including some ground-level work in villages in India.