Well, at least last year was a good year for some people.
The world's richest people got even richer in 2012, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, adding more than $240 billion to their collective net worth.
The index, which ranks the world's 100 wealthiest individuals daily, showed the total net worth of the planet's top moguls at $1.9 trillion at market close on December 31. Gains among the billionaire's club were broad-based with only 16 of the 100 people in the final ranking of 2012 registering a net loss for the 12-month period.
"Last year was a great one for the world's billionaires," John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of Red Apple Group, told Bloomberg from his poolside perch in the Bahamas. "In 2013, they will continue looking for investments around the world—and not necessarily in U.S.—that will give them an advantage."
Carlos Slim, the telecom tycoon who heads Mexico's America Movil SAB, held onto his No. 1 spot as the richest person on Earth for the entire year, with the 74-year-old's net worth surging more than $13 billion—or almost 22 percent—last year.
But those kind of numbers only make Slim the second-biggest gainer in terms of dollars. That top honor goes to Amancio Ortega, founder of giant retailer Inditex SA—operator of clothing chain Zara—whose fortune swelled by more than $22 billion as shares of his company rose almost 67 percent. Ortega usurped the title of third-richest person in the world from investing maven Warren Buffett in August, who still added more than $5 billion to his fortunes in 2012.
Still, Ortega trailed Slim and the second-richest businessman in the world: software magnate Bill Gates. The Microsoft cofounder tacked on $7 billion to his net worth in 2012, thanks to an almost 3 percent bump in the company's share price, bringing his total net worth for 2012 to $62.7 billion. Interestingly, Microsoft stock accounts for less than 20 percent of Gates's fortune, according to Bloomberg.
Here's a look at the top 5 richest people in the world:
1. Carlos Slim. The world’s richest man has holdings in telecommunications, banking, construction, and mining. Net worth: $76.4 billion (+$13.4 billion in 2012)
2. Bill Gates. Gates is the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest software company. Net worth: $62.7 billion (+$7 billion)
3. Amancio Ortega. Europe’s richest man owns a 59 percent stake in Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer. Net worth: $57.5 billion (+$22.2 billion)
4. Warren Buffett. Buffett is chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which operates insurance, manufacturing, and energy services. Net worth: $47.9 billion (+$5.1 billion)
5. Ingvar Kamprad. Sweden’s richest man controls IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer. Net worth: $42.9 billion (+$6.1 billion)