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Wealth and Philanthropy

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Wealthy people who like to flash their material possessions rub me the wrong way. But that's not Warren Buffett's style and I admire him for it. I'm not sure what kind of person I would have been if I had his kind of wealth, but if a person is destined to become filthy rich, then I can think of no better people than the likes of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates.

In a recent article in Fortune magazine Buffett states:

Too often, a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse, and long-standing friends.

Elaborating on his pledge of donating 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes, he closes by stating this about himself and his family:

Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course.

This is the noble side of capitalism. In a nutshell he's saying that he's been blessed with a good life but ultimate happiness and fulfillment in life is measured by how many lives one has positively impacted rather than how many homes or yachts one owns. If only we all had a bit of this attitude in us. What a world it would be.

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