Living the Lotto Dream

What Would You Do if You Won $20 Million?

There will be many a Valentine’s Day dinner disrupted this Saturday while people check on the results of the $20million Tattslotto Superdraw.

The prospect of becoming an instant multi-millionaire is a lure Australians find all too enticing. According to the Australian Productivity Commission we spend over $2 billion each year on lottery tickets. We love to talk about how we would spend our (fictitious) millions on fast cars, exotic holidays and luxurious houses. We may also discuss which friends or family members we would give money to, but rarely do we fantasise about how we would use the money to improve the lives of people we have never met.

Lucky there are a significant number of mega-wealthy individuals who love to indulge in charitable acts and share the benefit of their good fortune.  A smaller number are consciously restrained in their spending in order to maximise funds for their philanthropic endeavours. Here we profile three iconic benevolent billionaires.

  1. Of course topping the list is Bill Gates who also tops another list; ‘The Forbes Billionaire’ list. As the founder of Microsoft, Gates is revered by many, but it is his philanthropic work that demonstrates the extent of his character. Through The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, over US$30 billion has been given away in the past 15 years.
  2. Number two on our list is Warren Buffet has an estimated wealth of US$72 billion dollars, but despite this he still loves resides in the same home that he bought 50 years ago for US$31,500 in Nebraska. Together with Bill Gates, Buffet introduced ‘The Giving Pledge’ in 2010: a campaign to encourage the wealthiest people to make a commitment to donate most of their money to philanthropic causes. Since then over 100 wealthy individuals and families have committed to this pledge, including Mark Zuckerberg, Barron Hilton and Elon Musk.
  3. Lastly is Chuck Feeney. An Irish-American, Feeney is the epitome of rags to riches story, but you wouldn’t know it to see him on the street. Born during the Great Depression, he made his riches as a founder of the Duty Free Shoppers Group. Over the years he has donated over US$6 billion to charities whilst leading a modest life himself. Feeney flies economy class, does not own a car and wears a watch worth all of $15. Living a frugal lifestyle, Feeney has lived by his motto “set out to work hard, not get rich”.

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