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07.15.

Warren Buffett Makes a $2 Billion Donation to Bill Gates Foundation

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Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and chief executive officer, saw a surge in his fortune as his company shares (BRK/A) rose by 29 per cent to $115.42 this year.  This perhaps prompted him to revise his annual contribution to the Bill Gates Foundation as this time he has give a record $2 billion which is a donation that has surpassed his previous record of $1.8 billion that he had donated in 2008.  Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft Corp., the second richest man in the world and a close friend of Warren Buffett had inspired him to take up philanthropy through the foundation that was set up by him and his wife, Melinda Gates.

Buffett became a trustee of the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and is now the world’s third richest man whose net worth amounts to $61 billion, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which ranks the wealthiest people on a daily basis.  Buffett has taken a philanthropic pledge as he contributes to various charities such as the Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation as well as his own charities Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which has been named after Mr. Buffett’s late wife, and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which has been named after Mr. Buffett’s son.

Buffett has also donated around 1.75 million worth of Class B shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which supports the cause of education amongst other causes.  He also gave around 1.22 million shares to his other family charitable foundations- the Howard G. Buffett Foundation; the NoVo Foundation that is managed by his son Peter and his wife; and the Sherwood Foundation.   Buffett has pledged to donate to five charities that include the Bill Gates Foundation that is focused on alleviating poverty around the world.  Mr. Buffett had pledged to donate around $31 billion seven years ago to the Bill gates Foundation and had also pledged that a majority of his fortune would be dedicated to philanthropy and the wealth would go to the five charitable foundations that he supports.

Buffett has also campaigned considerably for promoting charity amongst the wealthy people through an initiative called ‘Giving Pledge’.  Buffett is known for his views on accumulating wealth and he states his view about philanthropy: “The truth is I have never given a penny away that had any utility to me.”  The billionaire goes on to say how difficult it is for the ‘not so rich’ to donate as they would perhaps be giving up on a movie, a dinner date or even a trip to Disneyland.   In fact, both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett had effectively managed to rope in wealthy contributors to give away a portion of their wealth by committing themselves to the ‘Giving Pledge’.

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07.09.

Howard Stern Buys Luxurious $52 Million Florida Mansion

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The news is now official. Judge on popular American show America’s Got talent, Howard Stern  has bought the $52 million beachfront mansion in Florida, USA. Textile tycoon Martin Trust had put the mansion up for sale and Howard Stern was lucky enough to buy the same, considering the impeccable views the mansion offers of the Florida’s coastline.

 

The property has over five bedrooms and has a covering area of around 19,000 square foot, thus making it luxurious in true sense. An outdoor pool adds to the ambiance of the property and Howard Stern can expect to spend some private moments with his family at the beach side mansion.

 

As per Palm Beach Daily News, this is one of the biggest property sale of the year in the region. Howard Stern who is also a radio broadcaster had been searching for a pristine location for his wife Beth Ostrosky and the Florida beachfront mansion has seemed to make this possible for Howard.

 

The custom build Palm was build in 1992 in an area measuring 3.25 acres and lies South of the Palm Beach Country Club in Florida.

The mansion offers exclusive views of Florida’s coastline and Howard can rejuvenate himself for his hectic schedule by spending some private moments at the property alongside his wife Beth Ostrosky for whom he has purchased the exclusive property.

 

 

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07.03.

How Walt Disney’s Housekeeper Secretly Died A Multi-Millionaire

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On June 10th 1994, a group of friends and family gathered at a lawyer’s office in Santa Monica, California to read the last will and testament of 79 year old Thelma Pearl Howard. Thelma had died quietly in a nursing home just a few weeks earlier just 16 days shy of her 80th birthday. From the outside, Thelma Howard had lived a very modest life. Her most notable achievement was working as Walt Disney’s personal housekeeper for more than thirty years. She cooked all of Walt’s meals and helped raise his two young daughters. For this service she was paid a modest annual salary, perhaps slightly more than the average housekeeper because her boss was so wealthy and famous. So, you can imagine the utter shock when Thelma’s lawyer announced that she had in fact controlled a multi-million dollar stock portfolio and was leaving the half of her impressive net worth to charity. How exactly did a lowly housekeeper end up dying with millions of dollars in the bank? The story is truly heartwarming and inspirational.

Thelma Pearl Howard was born in June of 1915 to a family of very poor farmers in Southwick, Idaho. Thelma was the second of five children. Her childhood was filled with pain starting at the age of six when her mother tragically died during child birth. Two more siblings died unexpectedly before she reached the age of 18. Thelma briefly moved to Spokane, Washington to attend college but was forced to drop out before completing a full year of classes because she couldn’t afford the tuition anymore. After Spokane, Thelma moved to Los Angeles where she held down three jobs to make ends meet. She poured drinks at a soda fountain, cleaned houses and worked part time as a secretary.

Throughout the thirty years that Thelma worked for the Disney family, she was paid a little more than the average housekeeper’s salary. She was also given free room and board which made her paycheck go a long way, but would never make her “rich”. On the other hand, working for Walt Disney presented Thelma with a very unique perk. Every Christmas and birthday, Walt gave Thelma shares of Disney stock as a bonus. As the Disney empire expanded, the number of shares she received grew. Because Thelma respected Walt so much, she never sold a single share in her entire lifetime and even used some of her own money to buy more on the side.

Over the years, Thelma’s stock portfolio slowly ballooned. A few shares became a hundred. A hundred became a thousand. A thousand became ten thousand and so on. When Thelma first began receiving the shares, owning Disney stock wasn’t particularly exciting. Then, between 1945 and 1965, the company exploded into the cultural phenomenon the world knows and loves today. Disneyland opened in July 1955 and was an immediate success. Then Disney studios went on a creative tear churning out a series of classic films like “Lady and the Tramp” (1955), “Sleeping Beauty” (1959), “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” (1961) and “Mary Poppins” (1964). Mary Poppins earned $30 million at the box office, more than any other movie in 1964, and with re-releases would go on to earn the inflation adjusted equivalent of $375 million. As the company grew, so did its stock price. Thanks to those annual gifts and a number of stock splits, by the time Thelma died in 1994 she had amassed an astonishing 193,000 shares of Disney which at the time were worth $9.5 million!

 

 

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07.01.

Alex Rodriguez Desperately Trying To Retire To Save $114 Million Contract

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Ever since Alex Rodriguez underwent surgery in January to repair torn cartilage in his left hip, the third baseman has been locked in a tense cold war with New York Yankees senior management over the future of his baseball career. This week, that cold war went nuclear in a very bitter and very public way. The 38 year old Rodriguez, who performed so atrociously last season that he was actually benched in the playoffs, is still technically owed $114 million on his contract regardless of injury or performance. For the most part, baseball contracts are 100% guaranteed, but that guarantee goes away in the case of drug related suspensions. And it just so happens that A-Rod is one of 20 players who Major League Baseball is imminently looking to suspend as part of an ongoing performance enhancing drug scandal. These circumstances have set up a race in which A-Rod is desperately trying to use a unique contract loophole to retire before the suspension comes down and collect his full $114 million. Meanwhile, The Yankees are desperately trying to keep him on the injured list so he can’t retire before the suspension takes place and voids his contract.

Thanks to a loophole in the MLB players association contract, if Rodriguez is cleared to play for even one game before the suspension, he can suit up and technically retire as soon as the game is over. If that happens, when the suspensions come down, A-Rod won’t be affected because he technically won’t be an active player anymore. You can’t suspend someone from something they no longer do. This is exactly why Alex is rushing to get approval from the Yankees doctors to suit up for a game. Even if he rides the bench, as long as he sits in the dugout wearing a uniform for one regular season game, he can immediately retire when the last strike is called. Under current union rules, if A-Rod claims he is physically unable to perform anymore, he can retire and retain 100% of that $114 million contract. In other words, he would be paid an average of $22 million per year for the next five years to sit on a beach. On the other hand, if The Yankees are able to keep A-Rod on the disabled list until the suspensions come down, the entire $114 million contract could be completely voided.

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