Warren Buffett gave away $50 billion – but is much richer than when he started

Warren Buffett

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett revealed that he gave away $50 billion over the last 17 years but remained much wealthier than when he started giving his money away.

On 21 June, Buffett converted 9,129 A shares into 13,693,500 B shares to donate 13,693,432 shares of Berkshire Hathaway “B” stock to five foundations.

  • 10,453,008 to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust
  • 1,045,300 shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation
  • 731,708 shares to each of the Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation.

As part of the announcement, Buffett said the mathematics of the lifetime commitments to the five foundations are interesting.

The schedule for annual grants was made on 26 June 2006 and has since been supplemented by significant grants to four of the five recipients.

“When originally made, I owned 474,998 Berkshire A shares worth about $43 billion and those shares represented more than 98% of my net worth,” he said.

“During the following 17 years, I have neither bought nor sold any A or B shares nor do I intend to do so.”

The five foundations have received Berkshire shares valued at about $50 billion, substantially more than Buffett’s net worth in 2006.

He has no debts, and his remaining A shares are worth about $112 billion, well over 99% of his net worth.  

Buffett said nothing extraordinary has occurred at Berkshire to create this strong growth in the value of his shareholding.

“A very long runway, simple and generally sound decisions, the American tailwind and compounding effects produced my current wealth,” he said.

Buffett’s will provides that more than 99% of his estate is destined for philanthropic usage.


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