Jul 10, 2013

    Buffett to billionaires: Donate half your wealth

    MR WARREN Buffett gave a record US$2 billion (S$2.5 billion) to a foundation created by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, after telling billionaires to commit half their wealth to charity because US$500 million is plenty to live on.

    Mr Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, donated about 17.5 million Class B shares to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm said in a statement.

    The shares closed at US$115.01 on Monday in New York and have gained 28 per cent this year.

    Mr Buffett helped found the Giving Pledge initiative to encourage the world's wealthiest to donate to causes of their choice.

    He said last month that he gives away shares because they have more "utility in the hands of others" and reiterated his plea for other billionaires to follow suit.

    "If you have trouble living on US$500 million, I'm going to put out a book, How To Live On $500 Million," he said at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy.

    "Think about whether the other US$500 million might do more for humanity than for you and your family."

    The 82-year-old, a trustee of the Gates foundation, is the third-richest man in the world, with a net worth of about US$61 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the wealthiest people.