Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, September 14, 2018

World’s Richest People Just Can’t Give Away Their Money Fast Enough

BuffettWarren Buffett, who recently turned 88, has a current net worth of $87.1 billion, according to the most recent Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Even after giving away $30 billion worth of shares in his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc since 2010, Buffett's net worth has increased by 86% in that same time frame.

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have said their namesake private foundation will spend all of its resources within 20 years of their deaths. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan said in 2015 that they planned to give away 99 percent of their stock in the social network to advance philanthropic causes. Yet both of these billionaire couples are only worth more after giving away billions of their fortunes. Adding in Buffett's increased wealth, they have upped their wealth by a combined $139 billion.

A commitment by signatories to give away at least half their wealth called the Giving Pledge was formed by Warren Buffett in 2010, and have been signed by 184 wealthy families, including Tesla's Elon Musk and Airbnb's Stephen Ross. The goals Buffett set are encouraging more philanthropists to think about what they need to do to achieve them. “The good news is there are an increasing number of attractive places to invest in social-change causes,” Susan Wolf Ditkoff, partner and co-head of the Bridgespan Group’s philanthropy practice said.

See Tom Metcalf, World’s Richest People Just Can’t Give Away Their Money Fast Enough, Bloomberg, August 30, 2018.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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