Is Bill Gates Doing More Good When He Keeps His Money Or When He Gives it Away?

Is Bill Gates Doing More Good When He Keeps His Money Or When He Gives it Away?

The question of whether Bill Gates is doing more good when he keeps his money or when he gives it away, is an interesting one. In which of these two scenarios does mankind benefit more? Before you dismiss this as a clearly ridiculous query, one not even worth considering, ponder this.

When you are worth tens of billions of dollars, where do you keep your stash? Do you hide it under your mattress? That would make for a very lumpy sleeping surface; as a billionaire, it’s not very likely you would put up with such discomfort.

How about burying your fortune in the backyard? With all that loot, you’re not going to be doing any digging. After all, you didn’t get rich digging holes in the ground, but rather by using your noodle, and you’re not about to start with the manual labor now. You could, however, get the gardner to plant the funds in the Azalea bed, but this might not be such a good idea, either. Not to cast aspersions on landscapers everywhere, but what’s to keep her (don’t want to be sexist here) from digging up the treasure when you are not around and heading for the South Sea Islands?

People with obscene (as some might think) amounts of money (the perspective many, who don’t understand capitalism, cling to) don’t hide it — they invest it. They reinvest it into their businesses so it can grow bigger, stronger and give their customers better value for their money. They also invest it in other peoples’ companies, resulting in these other entrepreneurs having money to expand their businesses; in the process, they take advantage of the miracle of compounding interest and as a result, make even more money.

What is the result of all this wealth in the hands of a single capitalist? In Bill Gates’ case:

  • His company, Microsoft, and the extensions thereof, have spawned an estimated 12,000 millionaires and four Billionaires
  • As of 2009, there were 93,000 employees receiving a very good income and excellent benefits for themselves and their families
  • Many other companies which do business with Microsoft, et al, flourish and are able to employ untold numbers, and many start-up and existing businesses have access to the capital they need
  • All these well-employed folks and their families have money to spend in their local communities, plus nationally and worldwide
  • As a result, there is plenty of money available to be given to any number of worthwhile causes and charities — if these people wish to do so
  • The Gates Foundation, as of 2009, has an endowment of 33.5 billion, from which it has given a minimum of 1.5 billion to worthwhile causes annually

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. What if, after making his first million or two, Bill Gates had decided that having a couple million dollars was as much as any one individual should have or needs to have and took his small fortune and closed up shop? What if he had decided to retire early and live off the interest on his first one or two-million-dollar earnings? Let’s say that he decided to take $500,000 of his money to start a foundation to give grants to those in need. Giving away the interest on the half-million dollars each year, at an average of 10{dc8f321d37baba791adf66cf81f163453760aaaccf35e9902d00ceb1d834317a} interest, he could give away about $50,000 per year. In 20 years he would have given about a million dollars to worthwhile causes — not bad. Of course, he wouldn’t have created 12,000 millionaires who, if they gave just a miserly $1,000 each to charity, would be donating 12 million PER YEAR — twelve times as much as Bill could give, under this early-retirement scenario, in 20 YEARS!

Of course, we all know that Bill Gates didn’t take his first piddly little two million and run. He did what many successful entrepreneurs do each year; he risked it all by reinvesting the money he had made back into the business with the hope and belief that he could make even more money and better serve his customers with ever better products and services that would make their lives better.

As a result of his keeping the vast bulk of his money through the early years, Bill Gates now has a foundation that can, with matching funds, give away billions of dollars here in the U.S. and around the world — improving the quality of life for countless people. And this doesn’t even include all the money given to charities by all the billionaires and millionaires resulting from his business acumen. Keep in mind that each little billion is a thousand million or a thousand times as much as Bill Gates could have given to those in need in 20 YEARS, if he had gone philanthropic too soon or too full bore.

We see that when a wealthy person such as Bill Gates keeps his money for himself, he is not really keeping it for himself, because this money is kept in circulation, growing the economy, creating countless jobs in innumerable businesses across the country and the world. Even when a rich person spends his money on food for parties, for a yacht or clothes, it helps to keep the party stores, yacht stores and clothing stores profitable so they can continue to employ their staffs. The truth is that the more rich people there are and the wealthier they are, the more there is for everyone else in that economy — unless the wealthy one “puts it under his mattress.”

Does this truth hold for one’s health and fitness as well as for financial matters? Here is my question for you: When it comes to your health and fitness, is it better to take care of yourself first or your loved ones? If we allow ourselves to become rundown and sick because we ignore our own well-being while helping our loved ones, how much help will we be to them then? Making our own well-being our top priority creates more energy, strength and vitality with which to care for those we love. When we have taken the time to make ourselves ultra-healthy and fit, we are also good role models and a positive example for all in our circle of influence — including strangers we pass on the street.

Bill Gates kept the bulk of his money (invested it) for decades and we are all the beneficiaries of this choice. As a result of his taking care of business (taking care of himself and his “family” FIRST), he and those he helped to become rich can now help many, many more. We can learn from this model, whether we’re talking about finances or health.