Thursday, March 6, 2008

What's a few billion among friends?

Number What?

Bill Gates with 58 million dollars no longer leads the pack. After 13 years of being top dog, Bill Gates turns over the title of "World's Richest Man" to good friend Warren Buffet.

Each year when the Forbes Billionaire list comes out I don't have to look for my name. I know exactly where I fit in - (laughing) But it's fun to look through the names and study the demographics. This year, I was surprised to learn that Bill Gates was no longer at the top of the list. Apparently, increasing his stash by 2 billion dollars last year was not enough to keep him on top. And not even enough to keep him in second place. Good friend and fellow philanthropist, Warren Buffet, increased his fortune by 10 billion to edge out Gates.

And Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim HelĂș, doubled his numbers in just two years to $60 billion to secure the second place spot. What a year - Imagine a 30 billion dollar year! Spectacular numbers to say the least.

Another change - two years ago, half of the world's 20 richest were from the U.S. Now only four are. India claims victory for having four among the top 10, more than any other country listed.

I'll miss seeing Bill Gates' name at the top of the list but he'll be back. In the meantime, Congrats to the Oracle of Omaha - Warren Buffet!


Tamera Daun said...

Well. In his defense, and correct me if I'm wrong as I'm not sure how that list works, but did not Bill give much of his fortune away?

In addition...*fainting*. Can you even imagine having that much dough?

intrepidideas said...

You're absolutely right, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have been very generous with their money lately.... My hat is off to them for their generosity!

intrepidideas said...

And oh yeah, that's a staggering amount of money! What would you do with it all?

Tamera Daun said...

That is a good question, intrepid. I enjoy pondering things like that. Whenever someone asks people questions of that nature, people tend to mention everything they would buy.

When I wrote my book for women about happiness (or, well-being) in their relationships, I went in, and studied Utility Theory. I also did some pondering about what would give most "bang for the buck". In other words, what created well-being from a rational perspective. Short-term, and long-term.

So, when I think about those things, I try to see my own utility curve up in my mind. Think about my preferences, knowing that if a person had, say, 10 fancy cars, then 1 may not give the same effect of more satisfaction (how many units of cars even that out?). The same with money. If we were multi-billionaires, then earning one more million, would never feel as satisfying as the first million earned. People often feel that their curve will never stop its upward rise, which is not true at all.

So, I guess my answer is that I know that at some point my curve would naturally "even out", and begin to decline (where more money would not lead to more satisfaction or more well-being). Since I am a simple gal, I'm sure that would happen long before a billion (well. Think of the interest Many years ago I had the thought of opening schools for girls in Africa if I had that much money. And, I'll tell you. I had that wish long before Oprah did it..haha..

These types are generous, yes. Yet, actually it really is utility theory. The option being to begin to donate, and give away (b/c what else can be done with it? More investments or projects means working more, etc. This may not be their preference at the time). They also give away to those causes that create a sense of satisfaction for them. That well-being thing again. If those investments begin to cost immensely, then a new motivation to create and earn may begin its upward curve. One more charity, one more school, etc...

Sorry for the long answer!

Tamera Daun said...


about the cars. That 1 more what I meant.

intrepidideas said...

That is a long answer... (whew) Thanks! I get your message. You clearly have given this idea some thought. I like the goal of opening a school. Anywhere.... Africa is good for obvious reasons but there are certainly other needy areas. Intrepid says - "Education is a timeless gift!"