14 billionaires giving fortunes away

If you were a billionaire, would you give it all away?

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Not all billionaires want to blow it all on super-mega-yachts, diamonds the size of their own head, or Premiership football clubs: some want to change the world for the better instead.

In fact 14 billionaires have just promised to give huge chunks of their fortunes away to charity.

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Back in 2010, 30 of the world's wealthiest people joined together to commit to giving away at least half their wealth during their lifetime. The group was lead by Bill and Melinda Gates, along with Warren Buffett.

They signed The Giving Pledge, which now has 168 signatories from 21 countries around the world - and has just welcomed another 14 billionaire members.

They will use their resources to support a range of causes, including education, local communities, climate change and environmental protection.

The new names include Lenard H Ainsworth from Australia; Dagmar Dolby, Robert Frederick Smith, Terry and Susan Ragon, Dean and Marianne Metropolis, and Nick and Leslie Hanauer from the US; Dong Fangjun and You Zhonghui from China; plus Anne Grete Eidsvig and Kjell Inge Rokke from Norway.

One of the most well-known additions to the list is Monaco and Cyprus national Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou - most famous as the man who set up easyJet. He was apparently convinced to join after receiving a phone call from Bill Gates.

The group has generated an astonishing amount of money for philanthropic causes. Bill and Melinda Gates alone have given away more than $28 billion.

Why?

Bill said that for him it was about doing something meaningful with the money. As an individual, once you reach a certain level of wealth, you have everything you need. By giving the money to needy causes, it suddenly has meaning again.

For those with children, it's arguably more of a wrench to consider giving that money to someone else - knowing you are taking it from your children.

However, for those who have signed the pledge, giving billions away offers a double-whammy for their family. It means they are not leaving everything to their children - and so encourage their offspring to do something with their lives. At the same time, they are establishing foundations that can become a focus for all the family - so they can be part of achieving something positive with the money.

But what do you think? If you had billions of pounds, would you be in a hurry to give more than half of it away? Let us know in the comments.

The 10 richest people on the planet

The 10 richest people on the planet


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