Four Indian Americans in annual Forbes 400 Richest Americans list


Four Indian Americans feature in the latest annual Forbes 400 Richest Americans list, the ranking of the wealthiest people in America. The four are Jay Chaudhry (ranked 79, $8.3 billion); Vinod Khosla (ranked 181, $5.4 billion); Romesh Wadhwani (ranked 196, $5.1 billion); and Rakesh Gangwal (ranked 261, $4.1 billion).

Chaudhry is CEO of Zscaler, a cybersecurity firm he founded in 2008. It went public in March 2018, while Khosla is a veteran Silicon Valley venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Wadhwani is chairman of Symphony AI, an enterprise AI firm with operations in retail, financial services and manufacturing that he founded in 2017. Gangwal is the co-founder of InterGlobe Aviation, the parent company of IndiGo, India’s largest airline by market share.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is at the top of the pile for the first time with an estimated net worth of $251 billion. His personal wealth in 2017 was $20.8 billion. He unseated Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is ranked second with $151 billion ($81.5 billion in 2017). Bill Gates is third with $106 billion ($89 billion in 2017).

According to Forbes magazine, “After a roaring 2021, the 400 richest people in the U.S.—along with many Americans—have been hit by rising inflation and falling markets. As a group, this year’s Forbes 400 is $500 billion poorer than they were a year ago. Their total net worth stands at $4 trillion, down 11% from last year.”

Forbes said that while its list has been published for many years, it has sought to improve its methodology to calculate estimated net worth of the billionaires.

“Uncovering their fortunes required us to pore over thousands of Securities and Exchange Commission documents, court filings, probate records and news articles. We took into account all types of assets: stakes in public and private companies, real estate, art, yachts, planes, ranches, vineyards, jewelry, car collections and more. We factored in debt and charitable giving,” Forbes said in an explanatory note.

The minimum fortune needed to make the list fell to $2.7 billion, down $200 million from last year’s record $2.9 billion. However, it remains the second-highest total after last year’s record breaking $4.5 trillion. The Forbes 400 Rich Americans list was launched in 1982. This year’s ranking includes 20 newcomers and 22 people who dropped off the list in the past and have rejoined.

Each year as part of The Forbes 400 package, Forbes scores billionaires based on their respective philanthropic contributions. The score ranks list members on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most philanthropic. The team estimated list members’ total lifetime giving based on public filings (including tax forms for private foundations, press releases and more) and the percentage of their fortune they have donated. Only nine members of The Forbes 400 have given away more than 20 percent of their net worth in their lifetime. More than a third of The Forbes 400 has given away less than 1 percent of their wealth.

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