It was a comeback year for the world’s wealthiest.

The combined net worth of the 500 richest people surged by $1.5 trillion in 2023, fully rebounding from the $1.4 trillion lost the year prior, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Once again, their fortunes were closely correlated to the performance of tech stocks, which rose to fresh records this year despite recession fears, lingering inflation, lofty interest rates and geopolitical turmoil. Tech billionaires saw their wealth grow by 48% or $658 billion, propelled by intense hype around artificial intelligence.

No one did better than Elon Musk, who recaptured the title of world’s richest person from French luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault. The Tesla Inc. chief executive officer netted an additional $95.4 billion through Thursday’s close, bolstered by the success of Tesla and SpaceX, after losing $138 billion in 2022. His net worth is now more than $50 billion above Arnault’s after a global slowdown in demand for luxury goods dented shares of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE. Inc. founder Jeff Bezos added more than $70 billion to his wallet this year and is now neck-and-neck with Arnault for second place, while Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune jumped by more than $80 billion.

The rising tide left some boats behind. Indian billionaire Gautam Adani lost $21 billion on Jan. 27 alone – and $37.3 billion across the whole year – after short-seller Hindenburg Research tanked the value of the Adani Group. Nevertheless, he still possesses an 11-figure fortune.

Looking Ahead
What does the world hold in store for the wealthiest people in 2024? While it’s impossible to know for sure — few would have foreseen such a large rebound this year — here are some of the names to watch:

Miriam Adelson
Adelson, 78, became the majority shareholder of casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. after her husband Sheldon’s death in 2021. After lying low for a time, Adelson this year reached a deal to buy a $3.5 billion majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks and courted Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley. Her net worth climbed to $34.3 billion.

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
As the heir to the L’Oréal fortune, Bettencourt Meyers, 70, is the richest woman on the planet and the first to possess a 12-figure net worth. Bettencourt Meyers’ success comes as a result of France’s thriving beauty and fashion industries, which have also thrust LVMH’s Arnault, Chanel’s Wertheimer brothers and the Hermès family into the realm of the ultrawealthy. Her fortune surged 40% this year as L’Oréal’s shares climbed to a record high.

Steve Cohen
The founder of Point72 Asset Management is all in on New York dynasties — old and new. Cohen, 67, owns the News York Mets and is attempting to revitalize the baseball franchise after years of lackluster performance. He’s also partnering with Hard Rock International in an attempt to secure one of the state’s limited new casino licenses, giving beleaguered Mets fans the chance to gamble their sorrows away. His wealth rose to $13.9 billion in 2023.

First « 1 2 » Next