Warren Buffett and the Giving Pledge

Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest men in the world. At the time of writing, he was ranked second in the world with nearly $80 billion in net worth. Most of his wealth is actually in Berkshire Hathaway stock, which means that it is dependent upon the market. However, that doesn’t really mean that he’s not still incredibly wealthy.

However, despite his immense wealth, Warren Buffett lives a very frugal life. He still lives in the same house he purchased for $31,500 when he and his wife first married, and his total annual salary is around $100,000 a year—less than the current price of a single share of Berkshire’s Class A stocks. Regardless, the money doesn’t seem to be going to his head, as several years ago, Buffett started the Giving Pledge to donate most of his wealth to charity.

What is the Giving Pledge?

The Giving Pledge is an initiative for the world’s wealthiest people to try and use their wealth to help those less fortunate. It is designed for billionaires and was created with the hope that it would inspire philanthropic efforts to better the world.

Under the Giving Pledge, Warren Buffett has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth before or within 10 years of his estate being settled. There are handful of charities that he donates his shares to frequently, and at the time of writing, he has donated more than $28 billion to charity over the course of his life. However, the Giving Pledge isn’t just about Warren Buffett, although he was one of the driving forces behind it. There are currently more than 100 pledges with more growing each year.

Facts about the Giving Pledge

Here are a few quick facts about The Giving Pledge and how it works:

  • It first launched in 2010
  • It was created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
  • Pledgers must announce publicly that they are taking the pledge, and they must write a letter explaining why
  • Most pledge to give away a majority of their wealth over the lifetime or upon their death
  • Warren Buffett personally called most of the people on the Forbes list to ask them to pledge
  • There are, at the time of writing, more than 190 pledges
  • The Giving Pledge spans 5 continents
  • Pledgers are allowed to choose their own causes
  • A few causes include public health, disease research, education reform, environment, and child welfare
  • The average net worth of those pledging is just under $6 billion
  • Some notable people who have pledged include: Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, David Rockefeller, Sara Blakley, and Elon Musk.
  • The Giving Pledge is not a legal contract; but holds those pledgers to their word on moral grounds

To learn more, see the full list of participants, and read the inspiring pledge letters, check out The Giving Pledge website.

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