Money is so hard to give away – Lessons from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet

Heard @ a dinner address tonight :

Bill Gates amassed such a fortune which at one time was valued at almost US$100billion.

When one such as Bill comes to such a level, you can only imagine that money starts to lose it’s meaning.

So what did Bill decide to do as the world’s richest man?

Bill Gates

Give it all away, and got his mum, dad, and rest of his entire family to help him do it.

And boy did he find out that it’s so hard to give money away properly! As in giving it to the right cause and making sure that it will be used rightly with minimal wastage. It’s definitely easier for Bill to make money instead of giving it away!

His best friend, bridge partner, and world 2nd richest man Warren Buffet decided that he did not want to take the same route as Bill did, too hard.

Warren Buffet

So what did Buffet decide to do? Give almost his entire fortune of US$30billion to Bill Gates and focus on the easy part – continue making more money! At the same time increasing Bill’s headache and burden of giving even more money away!

For these 2 friends who happen to be the richest men in the world, making money is easy but giving money away is so hard!

(The above is a summarized excerpt of Dr Yeo’s speech tonight at a private function.)

I just came back from hosting a formal dinner for distinguished guests and we had revered Dr Yeo Ning Hong (former Minister for Communications and Information and also former Minister for Defence for Singapore) to address us.

He opened his address with this impactful anecdote which I just shared with you – it was a private function and I know you won’t find this speech anywhere else on the internet thus I found it important enough to blog about.

The reason for this example comes back to my theme.

Both men reached a point in their journey on the highway of life.

They’ve got to their destination, which few rarely achieve in life.

And found out they don’t really know where to go next!

Bill decided to embark on the highway of philantrophy while Warren found this highway too hard to travel – passed all his monies to Bill and continued on the same highway which he has travelled on almost all his life.

What is your destination on the highway of life today?

Like Warren – to make money, give them all away, only to continue to make more money coz you dunno what else better to do?

Or like Bill – to make so much money only to realise that you really wanted to give it all away in the end?

If you knew you were gonna give it all away in the end, would you still be on the same journey in pursuit of the same destination that you are on now?

Actually, what highway are you on now? Do you have a clear destination?

Do you know where you are going on the highway of life?

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Filed under Family, Life, Stories, Technology, Thoughts, Work

18 responses to “Money is so hard to give away – Lessons from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet

  1. Ahh, so that is how Bill gates looks now…

    I don’t really understand the whole detailed story of Bill and Warren. But I’ll probably choose Bill’s decision. 🙂

  2. It’s those questions that your teacher used to make you write an essays about. “What would you do if u’ve made a billion dollars?”

    I know I’ll want a house. And perhaps a shiny yellow bus as well with lots of yellow ribbons tied all over it so that every one will know they’re welcome to stay.

  3. @Mykl – sorry my blogging must be bad that it’s not so clear!
    Basically you need to understand a bit of context, that Bill Gates is now focused on the Gates Foundation which gives the most money away for health related projects and research. Why did he make so much money all his life, being now the richest man in the world, only to wanna give it all away? And he found it’s so hard to give money away properly coz you have to research, study, and qualify these projects so that they will spend the money you give them properly and not waste them away. It’s tougher than making money, at least for Gates and Buffet.

    @clonic – thanks for your sharing.. my house has GEEK written all over it :p

  4. Ntando

    warren is very intelligent man to realise that there are some poeple who needs the money more than he does. Money does not create a man instead man create money

    agreed… and he is cleverer still to know that he is better off making money and give the headache of giving money away to someone else like Bill

  5. “where to go next?” lol

    Both these men may be extraordinarily wealthy, but do you think they have ever LIVED a day of their lives?

    I dunno… retire and play golf? wait a minute.. these men already play golf weekly.

  6. luke price

    well all i gota say iz dont spend it all at once guys can share it with charity


  7. atmore brimus

    yes, but they never give to the run of the mill joe like you or me.i”d like to meet them cause i”d ask em .for their money,and i would give it away to every one i meet ,in cash . so send them to me.

    LOL! I’ll get them to send to me first :p

  8. Why is it that poor people are more will to help outher then therich.We know how it feels to worry about our next meal.We aren’t bums homes,or jobless.Just American trying to make it from payday to payday.Rich people worry about who trying to take their money from them,sad.We just need help,not 10 thousands,or millions.Just a couple thousands not to stress,for a while would make us happy.

  9. grace

    The story of Bill and Warren is so hard to comprehend…Here I am on the opposite side of the track, on the second term as president of the alumni association of my high school and for the past three years has been nickel and diming on our fund raisers and solicitation to be able to build a covered court (though a gymnasium or auditorium be nicer but more expensive) still havent get to 30% of the money we need to get our dreams for the students to be a reality! I am a retired accountant and all I want is to be able to give back to my community!. Our first project was a library building for the school and then, it took us 3 years to completion and I was happy then when the students finally had a library! Now on this second project, it is like pulling teeth, with the kind benefactors on the library already retired and on a limited budget now. How can a small town citizen get close to the foundation and seek its help. Any response to this plea will be most appreciated! Thanks for listening!!!

  10. vinay bhaisare

    still there is a hope………….

  11. Rajesh

    Its funny that they dont know how and where to spend. Can they contact me. I would tell them that there is a world which needs more money than they have.

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