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When Wealth Minus Money Equals Happiness


Charitable giving can have a greater impact than you might think.


The London Telegraph reports that Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder is "giving away every penny of his £3 million fortune after realising his riches were making him unhappy."

Rabeder told the paper, "It was the biggest shock in my life, when I realised how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five-star lifestyle is. My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing. Money is counterproductive -- it prevents happiness to come."

Rabeder will be giving his money to charities he set up in Central and Latin America. He said he made his decision while on vacation in Hawaii.

Rabeder follows in the footsteps of other people of means who have come to the conclusion that, as readers of Minyanville have heard many times, net worth does not equal self-worth.

There seems to be a (non-scientific, admittedly) correlation between the amount of money given to charity by the country's most generous businesspeople and the success of their businesses.

1. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft (MSFT)
Total donated: $28 billion

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation backs coalition groups that attempt to solve seemingly unsolvable health issues, particularly HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis.

Here's how Microsoft has fared over the years:

2. George Soros
Total donated: $7.2 billion

Soros gives to a variety of causes, including needle-exchange clinics in California, he funds scientific research in Russia, and founded

As Soros does not head up a public company, no chart is available to track his financial success.

3. Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel (INTC)
Total donated: $6.8 billion

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation focuses on science, environmental issues, and takes a special interest in nursing education, as Betty Moore once received the wrong medication from a nurse while in the hospital.

Here's how Intel has fared over the years:

4. Warren Buffett
Total donated: $6.7 billion

In 2006, Buffett made a pledge to give more than $30 billion over 20 years to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- the largest single charitable donation in history.

Here's how Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) has fared over the years:

But in at least one case, the converse appears to hold true: Donald Trump.

Trump, who has chased the almighty dollar unlike any other -- lending his name to everything from clothing to vodka to bottled water to magazines to disposable cameras to steaks to golf courses to modeling agencies to an online travel website -- will even lend himself out for cash. If you're having a party, The Donald will appear for the jaw-dropping rate of $300,000 an hour.

Trump also happens to be one of the business world's least-generous figures.

The Smoking Gun calls Trump "an absolute cheapskate" and points out that the Donald J. Trump Foundation doled out $287,000 in 2002, down from 2001's $306,000. (These were the latest figures available at press time). They describe these figures as "remarkably paltry -- not to mention pathetic -- sum[s] for someone who's reportedly worth 10 figures."

Let's take a look at how Trump Entertainment Resorts (TRMP) has fared over the years:

Yes, you're reading that chart correctly. The stock is currently trading at $0.08 a share.

Which means, if you're an investor holding 3,750,000 shares of TRMP, you've got just enough to spend 60 minutes in the company of the great man himself.

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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