What do people really think about the billionaire class?

They are the masters of the (human) universe, the financial titans with enough power and wealth to tell Prime Ministers and Presidents what to do.

We're talking about the billionaires, that rare class of people who control more resources than some small countries.

And they are a rare breed.

The billionaire club is extremely exclusive. Only around 3,300 people can say they're a paid-up member, and the vast majority of those are men.

Together, billionaires account for just 0.00002484532% of the global population—however, this small, uber-rich clique controls or owns $11.8 trillion. And they're only getting richer. On average, the net worth of billionaires increased by 18% in 2021.

So what do average folk (i.e. the rest of us) think about this tiny group of the super-rich? Do they view them as benevolent overlords, shepherding the world to a brighter future? Or do they see them as a predator class exploiting the many for their own gain?

The researchers at BusinessFinancing wanted to find out. They looked at geotagged tweets mentioning prominent billionaires, then created several maps showing where they're loved and where they are loathed.

What does it take to become a billionaire?

Picking the right job helps. Most of the world's wealthiest people work in tech, real estate, or global finance.

And you need to put in the work. Billionaires don't spend all their time lazing around on luxury yachts puffing $100 cigars. They clock 60+hour work weeks, minimum. Some are confessed workaholics. Tesla boss Elon Musk revealed that he often works 120 hours per week, sleeping in a camp bed in his office to save time driving back and forth to his office.

Family money helps. But self-made billionaires are the rule, not the exception. According to a 2020 report by Statista, less than 10% of billionaires inherited their wealth.

And saving money is just as important as making money. It's a philosophy that's certainly helped Warren Buffet, who is worth a reported $95billion. Despite his colossal fortune, Buffet lives in the same house he bought for $32,000 in 1951 and has used a flip phone for the last two years. According to one legend, Buffet once bought Bill Gates a McDonald's lunch using coupons clipped out of the newspaper.

What can you do with a billion dollars?

A billion is a thousand million. In number terms, that's one followed by nine noughts, which looks like this: 1,000,000,000. That's a lot of zeros.

It's hard to wrap your head around such a gigantic sum. So here's what you could do if you woke up to find a billion dollars sitting in your bank account tomorrow:
  • Pay 1,000 of your friends to go to Disney World daily for 25 years.
  • Purchase 27,000 high-end sports cars. You could drive a different one every day for 74 years.
  • Put in an order for 167 million Big Mac meals, complete with french fries and a soda. Now that is supersize!
  • Play 1,739,000 rounds at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California, one of the world's most expensive golf resorts.

Billionaires: good or bad?

A study by Pew Research found that roughly 30% of people think billionaires are bad for the economy or a sign of an unfair economic system.

15% believe that billionaires are good for the economy, although this number is down from 19%.

The remainder said they don't know whether billionaires are good or bad. However, many still expressed concerns about seeing so much wealth concentrated in such few hands.

The world's most loved billionaires

Bill Gates is the most loved billionaire in the world, according to the last study from BusinessFinancing.co.uk. The former Microsoft boss turned philanthropist and public health expert received the highest percentage of positive Twitter mentions in 37 countries.

The real-life Tony Stark, aka Elon Musk, came next, followed by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.

Boo for the billionaires

Former US President Donald Trump is the most hated billionaire in the world. What a surprise!

Trump won this contest by a real distance. He had the largest percentage of bad tweet mentions in 84 countries, including the USA. Trump's nearest rivals, which include Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg, are 'bad guy number' one in no more than six countries each.

America's favorite billionaire

The USA has the most billionaires living within its borders (975)

Despite a long list of controversial statements - or maybe because of them - Elon Musk is the USA's best-loved billionaire. He gets the most Twitter love in 12 states, including Idaho and Iowa.

Musk may have claimed California too, which is where he launched several of his billion-dollar businesses. But then he started firing a series of his own tweets criticising over-regulation and over-taxation. "California used to be the state of opportunity," tweeted Musk. "Now doing business there is just a massive pain in the butt."

Trump is back

No prizes for guessing who the USA's most hated billionaire is. Yes, it's the orange man again.

Trump won this contest by an absolute landslide, claiming 43 out of the 50 US states.

And this guy is seriously thinking about running for President again? If so, he won't be able to use Twitter to promote himself this time. Trump was permanently suspended from the platform in January 2021 following the unsavory scenes at the Capitol Hill riot; this explains why 61% of Trump-related tweets coming out of Washington are less than complimentary.

Shark Tank star Mark Cuban is probably wondering what he did to offend the people of Delaware. Because they really don't seem to like him. A third of all Delaware-tagged tweets mentioning Cuban are negative.

Trump aside, do any of the uber-rich care about the opinions of Twitter plebs? Probably not. They've got billions of reasons not to.
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