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Measuring your portfolio's value with billionaires

By Dian Vujovich

Billionaires, they’re everywhere. Even in Palm Beach. But even for the big guns wealth building–or at the very least, keeping the wealth already accumulated— can be tricky. So when the market goes south it typically impacts the total worth of one’s portfolio even if you’re a billionaire. Then again, maybe not.

Bloomberg came out with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index last month. The list of the richest 40 billionaires is updated daily. Given the stock markets downturns since the end of the first quarter of 2012, I thought I’d take a look at how the billionaires are doing with respect to year-to-date performance figures. Surprisingly, not all of the 40 on the list have experienced returns equal to that of the markets.

Using figures from CNN Money, the year-to-date performance of the DJIA was about 6.3 percent and the S&P 500 roughly 8.8 percent as of March 23. As you can see, both indices have dropped substantially since the close of the first quarter when year-to-date figures were around 12 percent.

As for how the billionaires have fared, since the beginning of 2012 seven have seen their wealth dwindle–but certainly not leaving them penniless; 33 have seen gains—some by not so much; 14 of the 33 have enjoyed portfolio gains of over 10 percent; and five have seen their portfolios swell by more than 20 percent.

Lakshmi N. Mital’s portfolio took the biggest hit—down 16.2 percent. That translates to a dollar loss of about $721.5 million, according to Bloomberg. Of course, his total wealth is estimated at $17.6 billion, so what’s a few hundred million flying out the window?

Losing the least was America’s own Carl Icahn. Year-to-date, the values of his portfolio holdings were down 3.9 percent. His estimated wealth of only $15.6 billion places him in the 39th slot of this list of 40. (The guy with the most dough is Carlos Slim Helu worth over $70 billion. BTW, his portfolio has gained nearly 14 percent as of yesterday.)

Of the thirty-three people on the list who saw their wealth increase, the greatest increases were by 39 and 31.7 percent. Eike Fuhrken Batista of Brazil took top honors with the 39 percent gain; Sheldon Gary Adelson, of the U.S enjoyed the nearly 32 percent increase.

The puniest gains went to a couple of Walton ladies. Alice L. Walton’s portfolio increased by half of one percent and Christy R. Walton’s lagged a tad— up 0.4 percent.

And if you’re wondering just how many multi-billionaires there are in the United States, according to Forbes there are 31 Americans worth at least $10 billion.

So, how you doin?

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