How billionaire Michael Bloomberg made his fortune

Michael Bloomberg in a bowtieGetty ImagesBillionaire Michael Bloomberg is worth $US$US billion.

With a fortune of $US33.7 billion, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg recently landed on our list of the richest self-made billionaires.

Though his 12-year run as mayor ended in 2013, the billionaire remains as busy as ever, and is spending plenty of money as he goes. After all, he hopes to give away his entire fortune before he dies.

From his early days working on Wall Street to his generous philanthropic donations, here’s how Bloomberg made — and spends — his billions.

Born on Valentine's Day in 1942, Bloomberg grew up in Medford, Massachusetts, a small town near Boston.

Medford, Massachusetts, Bloomberg's hometown.

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After graduating from Johns Hopkins with a degree in electrical engineering and earning an MBA from Harvard, Bloomberg landed a job at Salomon Brothers in New York City, where he spent countless hours counting out stocks and bonds in the bank's vault. He eventually worked his way up the ranks and was named partner in 1972.

The New York Stock Exchange in 2015.

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In 1978, he was put in charge of running the firm's information technology division -- a clear demotion. But he stayed at Salomon for three more years until the company merged with commodity trading firm Phibro in 1981 and let Bloomberg go, along with a severance check to the tune of $10 million.

Bloomberg gives his last speech as mayor.

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After leaving Salomon, Bloomberg decided to take what he'd learned and start his own company, originally called Innovative Market Solutions. The company aimed to make it easier for traders to wade through data. They eventually debuted the Bloomberg terminal (first known as the MarketMaster terminal), and Merrill Lynch purchased 22 of them, investing $30 million in the company.

Traders work at Bloomberg terminals on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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The company, renamed Bloomberg LP, became widely successful throughout the '80s and was worth $2 billion by 1989. Eventually, Bloomberg began branching out into other forms of media, including Bloomberg News and Bloomberg TV.

On the set of Bloomberg TV.

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In 2011, Bloomberg decided to enter the world of politics and ran for mayor of New York City as a Republican. He won and took office in 2002, where he helped rebuild the city in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Bloomberg on the campaign trail in 2001.

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Already a billionaire, Bloomberg collected only $1 a year throughout his 12 years in the mayor's office. However, he still doled out $650 million of his own cash along the way.

When he wanted to run for a third term as mayor, Bloomberg campaigned to change the law that limited officials to only two terms in office -- and won.

His 12-year run as mayor might have ended in 2013, but Bloomberg isn't ready to retire. He immediately stepped back into his role as CEO of Bloomberg LP, where he remains incredibly hands-on, according to Politico.

He's also got a handful of expensive toys to keep him busy. Bloomberg earned his pilot's licence in 1976 and frequently flies his own helicopter -- a six-seat Agusta SPA A109s helicopter, worth $4.5 million -- around New York, from jaunts to Albany to trips out to the Hamptons.

Not Bloomberg's helicopter, but a similar Agusta A109 model.

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Bloomberg controls an impressive real estate portfolio as well. At one point in 2013, he owned a whopping 14 properties worldwide, with homes everywhere from New York to London to Bermuda.

Bloomberg frequently flies one of his private jets down to Bermuda, where he owns a house right on the water. The former mayor heads to the island to unwind, and does everything in his power to keep his life there separate from his days in New York.

King's Wharf in Bermuda, though not Bloomberg's house.

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When he's home in New York, Bloomberg relaxes in his five-story mansion on 79th Street. At the end of his last term as mayor, the billionaire started renovating the building, sinking at least $1.7 million into it.

Bloomberg's home on 79th Street, obscured by scaffolding for renovations.

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Bloomberg is also a well-known philanthropist, and has donated over $2.5 billion to various causes through his charitable organisation, Bloomberg Philanthropies.

His recent gifts include $100 to Cornell University for construction of a new tech-focused graduate school in New York City.

An early rendering of Cornell Tech.

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He's also dropping $42 million through Bloomberg Philanthropies to improve municipal governments across the country. The program will help midsize cities learn to analyse and use data in ways that better help their citizens.

Bloomberg's firmly in favour of gun control, and has pledged over $50 million toward a new campaign for stricter gun restrictions.

Bloomberg advocates for stricter gun laws.

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And though he's out of politics for the moment, the Wall Street crowd hopes he'll return to make a run for the White House. He hasn't budged on the idea yet, but there's still timeā€¦

Wall Street hopes Bloomberg will get back in the politics game.

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