Home Finance Warren Buffett just gave away nearly $5 billion of his wealth again—he could have been the world’s richest man if that’s what he actually wanted

Warren Buffett just gave away nearly $5 billion of his wealth again—he could have been the world’s richest man if that’s what he actually wanted

by CoinNews

Warren Buffet is a staunch supporter of many things: the McMuffin, Diet Coke, and philanthropy. The Berkshire Hathaway CEO donated $4.6 billion of his Berkshire Hathaway stock (consisting of about 13.7 million B shares) to five charities in his annual donation on Wednesday. While the number of shares Buffett gives away decreases by 5% each year, it’s his largest in value yet thanks to the company’s climbing stock prices.

“Nothing extraordinary has occurred at Berkshire; a very long runway, simple, and generally sound decisions, the American tailwind and compounding effects produced my current wealth,” Buffett explained in a press release.

At this point, the investor continued, he’s given away $50 billion in shares based on the value of when they were received—worth $132 billion at today’s stock price. The majority of Buffett’s $118 billion fortune is tied up in stock; his remaining shares are worth about $112 billion. As Business Insider points out, if Buffett had held on to all the shares he’s given away, his net worth would top $250 billion. That would make him the world’s richest man, above Elon Musk, instead of his current status as the world’s sixth-richest man.

Having given away 54% of his Berkshire Hathaway stock, the “Oracle of Omaha” is well on his way to getting rid of the majority of his wealth. “My will provides that more than 99% of my estate is destined for philanthropic usage,” he wrote in the press release. In 2006, Buffett pledged to give away 85% of his stock in the company to charity, designating the majority of it to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Four years later, he vowed to redistribute 99% of his wealth to philanthropy during or after his lifetime when signing the Giving Pledge with friend and fellow billionaire Bill Gates, calling upon their billionaire peers to give up a large portion of their wealth to charity.

The Gates Foundation continues to be the prime beneficiary of Buffett’s donations, alongside the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and NoVo Foundation, whose collective goals range from social justice initiatives in Nebraska to empowering women and girls.

Buffett has long been vocal about his desire to give away his billions, telling Fortune’s Carol Loomis back in 2006 that he never planned to leave his entire fortune to his children. “A very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing,” he said.

He’s often bemoaned generational wealth as one of the main drivers of growing income inequality in the U.S. “Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise,” he said in 2007. “Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy.”

Buffett, 92, reportedly wants his billions spent within 10 years of his death, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation from last year. While most will go to the five charities, namely the Gates Foundation, there are still unpledged shares left up in the air. He hasn’t yet disclosed the nitty-gritty of how that wealth will be split after his death; estate planning experts told the Journal his pledge letter was a bit ambiguous.

Gates Foundation staffers have been banking on receiving both the pledged and remaining unpledged shares, an employee told the Journal. One purported suggestion was to create a world children’s savings bank, they said, in which children would receive thousands of dollars that “sit on a shelf, like a battle plan” for baby beneficiaries.

For now, though, Buffett is still getting his McMuffin a day and chipping away at donating his amassed fortune to charity.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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