Sometimes the daily news about our billionaires just doesn’t seem to make any sense.
Last year, for instance, ended with a torrent of news stories about how poorly the world’s billionaires fared in 2022. Bloomberg tagged the 12 months that had just gone past “a year to forget,” with almost $1.5 trillion “wiped from the fortunes of the richest 500 alone.”
All global billionaires taken together, Forbes chimed in, lost $1.9 trillion in 2022. Some 148 of the world’s 2,671 billionaires even lost their billionaire status.
The year’s biggest billionaire losers? Some of America’s deepest pockets. Larry Page saw his Google-driven fortune drop $40 billion, Mark Zuckerberg watched $78 billion evaporate off the wealth Facebook created for him, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had to swallow a minus $80 billion.
But honors for the biggest nosedive of all have to go to Elon Musk. The world’s richest man at the start of 2022, Musk ended the year losing both his top slot and some $115 billion off his personal fortune.
So did all these losses have our billionaires shaking in their boots? Did they start tightening their belts a bit in 2022? Spend less on the world’s most fabulously expensive luxury must-haves?
Not exactly. In fact, not all. The world’s most celebrated purveyors of pure extravagance actually registered record years in 2022. Rolls-Royce had its best-ever annual sales total, selling a record 6,021 “motor cars,” up 8 percent over 2021.
“Our clients,” Rolls-Royce’s CEO crowed on New Year’s Day, “are now happy to pay around half a million Euros for their unique motor car,” a sum equal to about $540,000 in the United States, the company’s single largest market.
“Our order book stretches far into 2023 for all models,” the Rolls-Royce chief added. “We haven’t seen any slowdown in orders.”