Partner Series
Who Is the World's Richest Man?
Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Hel
Credit: Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0 | José Cruz/ABr

There are a record 1,226 billionaires in the world this year worth a combined $4.6 trillion, according to the 2012 Forbes World's Billionaires list. Reigning as the wealthiest among them — the richest man in the world — for the third year in a row is Carlos Slim Helú, a Mexican telecom magnate with $69 billion to his name.

But Helú's fortune is falling and he may soon be surpassed as the world’s wealthiest person. The 72-year-old's net worth is down $5 billion this year compared to 2011, and the gap between him and the former world's richest man, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, has narrowed. Gates, 56, added $5 billion to his worth over the past year, bringing his total to $61 billion.

Warren Buffett, an octogenarian American investor nicknamed the "Oracle of Omaha," ranks at no. 3, with a net worth of $44 billion.

Here's the full top-10 list of the world’s richest people as of March 2012, as seen at

#1: Carlos Slim Helú & family (Mexico) – $69 billion net worth – Source of wealth: telecom industry

#2: Bill Gates (U.S.) – $61 B – Microsoft

#3: Warren Buffett (U.S.) –  $44 B– Berkshire Hathaway

#4: Bernard Arnault (France) – $41 B – LVMH

#5: Amancio Ortega (Spain) – $37.5 B – Zara

#6: Larry Ellison (U.S.) – $36 B – Oracle

#7: Eike Batista (Brazil) – $30 B – mining, oil

#8: Stefan Persson (Sweden) – $26 B – H&M

#9: Li Ka-shing (Hong Kong) – $25.5 B – diversified

#10 Karl Albrecht (Germany) – $25.4 B – Aldi

Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries. We're also on Facebook & Google+.