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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos would need to spend $28 million a day to avoid getting richer

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 8/2/2018 Mark DeCambre

Jeff Bezos wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Jeff Bezos would have to spend millions not make any more dough.© Provided by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Jeff Bezos would have to spend millions not make any more dough.

Jeff Bezos is rich. That much is known. However, the scope of the Amazon.com chief’s filthy richness — with his net worth of $150 billion, by Bloomberg’s reckoning — against the backdrop of a yawning equality gap, is part of the theme of a recent article in the Atlantic. But perhaps one factoid most aggressively catches the eye in the piece:

‘[Bezos] needs to spend roughly $28 million a day just to keep from accumulating more wealth.’ — The Atlantic

Wow!

The 54-year-old’s net worth has ballooned by more than $50 billion this year, according to the Bloomberg article, published in mid-July. That gain came as Amazon’s stock (AMZN) has surged. As of Wednesday’s close, they were up 54% this year, and they have rallied by more than 80% over the past 12 months, according to FactSet data. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has gained a more muted 2.5% so far this year, and 15.3% over the past year, while the S&P 500 index(SPX)has advanced 5.2% to date in 2018 and has risen nearly 14% over a 12-month period. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) , a benchmark whose membership is laden with technology and internet-related names, has climbed almost 12% in the first seven months of the year and more than 21% in the past 12 months.

Founder Bezos is Amazon.com’s largest shareholder, with some 80 million shares, equivalent to a more than 16% stake in the consumer-discretionary giant, which boasts a total market value of about $880 billion. (An informal poll of MarketWatch readers and social-media followers last month found a clear majority of the mind that Amazon would best Apple in the market-cap race to $1 trillion. On Wednesday, it was Apple mounting a credible assault on that lofty level.)

It is hard to say how the Atlantic calculated its estimates of how much Bezos would need to spend to avoid getting any richer, which mostly focuses on a U.S. financial system that tends to foster a concentration of wealth among a tiny few. However, it is clear that Bezos can lose wealth just as fast as his net worth has skyrocketed, and since his fortune is integrally tied to his business — rightly or wrongly — the tide can turn rather swiftly.

That said, it might take quite a blow to knock the richest man on Earth since 1982, according to Bloomberg, off his perch.

So, how should Jeff Bezos spend $28 million each day?

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