Forbes’ 400 Billionaires List Is Probably All Wrong

November 9, 2017 in Daily Bulletin

Forbes has a list of the world’s 400 wealthiest people. You can’t trust it, wrote Preeti Varathan and Max de Haldevang:

  • Wilbur Ross, the US Secretary of Commerce was found to have successfully tricked Forbes into putting his name on the billionaires list – even though he was a hundred millionaire at best.
  • There is evidence that Donald Trump similarly never quite made it to the billionaire’s club. But he convinced Forbes that he was one…and that probably helped him become President of the United States.
  • One trick is to argue for an impossibly high valuation, thus convincing Forbes that when they come up with a valuation that’s just implausibly high, they’re being conservative.
  • Entrepreneurs try to boost estimates of their wealth because it lends them an air of credibility that makes business deals easier to negotiate.
  • Meanwhile those that inherit their wealth typically try to lower estimates of their net worth to prevent solicitation from charities, or friends and family.

Read more on Quartz.